The folks at Kayak Connection outfit visitors with sea kayaks and standup paddleboards before leading them on guided tours or sending them out to explore Santa Cruz Harbor and Elkhorn Slough on their own. Tours vary from romantic sunset paddles to trips designed for families and include one tailored to getting glimpses of local birds. Intermediate and advanced paddlers can head out onto open waters to paddle past the Golden Gate Bridge, Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, and Monterey Bay Crossing.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Groupon is celebrating an inspiring group of women: business leaders whose companies and brands enrich their communities. Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of these leaders, local communities across the country are stronger and more diverse.
Shop the Women in Business collection.
Whenever she strolled down a sandy beach or marveled at the redwoods of a lush forest, LeTa Jussila would be reminded that Santa Cruz was the most beautiful place in the world. It seemed a shame to her that most people spent so much of their days inside houses and offices rather than taking advantage of the diverse landscapes of their surroundings. Inspired, she spearheaded the foundation of Optimal Health and Fitness—a multidimensional outdoor-fitness program.
Today, LeTa and her staff of trainers conduct energetic boot-camp classes at local beaches, forests, and mountain trails. They use the tools of their surroundings as exercise equipment, such as running up park stairs for a cardio workout. Encouraging well-rounded, healthy lifestyles, the instructors also conduct seminars on holistic topics such as stress management and meditation. Nutrition specialists, meanwhile, provide students with balanced meal plans and supervise detoxifying cleanses. The staff also offers various treatments popularized in the East, including traditional Chinese acupuncture treatments and rejuvenating qi gong stretching classes.
Since Rocky Snyder founded his self-named fitness studio 18 years ago, Good Times Magazine has bestowed the facility with its Best Personal Trainer award six times, a testament to Rocky's Fitness Center's commitment to one-on-one training and promoting healthy form and movement.
Group training sessions maintain a manageable 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio in classes whose daily-changing moves blasts through workout plateaus with the gusto of a military tank. Sessions are small enough for instructors to ensure the proper execution of exercises and give each client some individual attention. Amid the gym's green and yellow color-blocked confines, exercisers take part in Rocky's scientifically savvy program, which is designed to ignite metabolism and bulk up muscular strength. The qualified trainers help individuals as well as small groups build strong, powerful forms with one-on-one instruction, while sports training conditions recreational and performance athletes alike.
Every week, The Palomar Ballroom's 80-year-old space reverberates with a DJ's Latin beats and synchronized salsa shimmies. Beneath a baroque chandelier, couples twirl passionately enough for the New York Times to deem this salsa party the "spiciest spot downtown." Owner and award-winning ballroom dancer Jeremy Pilling prizes the supportive atmosphere that allows his students to commingle at these parties, whose themes can also cover Argentine tango and swing.
To lead up to its festivities, The Palomar Ballroom hosts drop-in classes, weekly series, rehearsals for routines, and private lessons for dancers that range from beginner to expert. During these sessions, seasoned instructors stress the social aspects of dance while teaching the techniques, rotating partners often so that they can learn different ways to twirl, dip, and ceremoniously lacerate a rug. Visiting dance champions also lead workshops on their specialties, showcasing advanced steps in cha cha, samba, swing, rumba, and other styles.
Trudie Ransom knows just how addictive the sensation of standing above the waves can be. After just a few trips out on her board, she not only began training with the standup-paddleboarding master Andy Whitman from Angulo boards, but also opened up SUP Shack. From her experience shadowing Whitman, she decided the best way to introduce people to the sport was with Angulo’s soft, 10-foot boards, which serve as an easy surface to learn on while spending a day on the waves or taking one of the shop’s classes or tours. Classes never contain more than six students, allowing each student to have the one-on-one attention needed to master the art of balancing and maneuvering the board. Once pupils are sure of their strokes, the shop’s instructors lead guided tours that slip out across the rippling blue mirror and past the sights of the harbor or tackle the more advanced paths past sea-lion habitats. Late-evening tours pause as the sun sets over the ocean, filling the sky with color like somebody inciting peacocks to riot.
Gymnastics Learning Center's experienced instructors engage energized tots with an array of challenging athletic activities that aid children in motor- and social-skill development. KinderGym, JuniorGym, and parent-assisted MiniGym courses teach tots younger than age 6 the fundamentals of muscular movement and how to finally earn their cat's respect. Sixty-minute beginning gymnastics or trampoline classes imbue older pupils with stretching and bouncing basics, and 90-minute intermediate gymnastics or trampoline courses explore more advanced balancing and bounding techniques. Small class sizes ensure that enthusiastic staff can safely escort whippersnappers as they navigate beams, spring from vaults, dangle from rings, or employ the silent treatment on disobedient pommel horses. Customers should check Gymnastics Learning Center's schedule to determine the most appropriate class time and fit.
Studio 831's graffiti-clad interior greets guests with an impressive line-up of functional fitness equipment that includes climbing ropes, medicine balls, barbells, and weight machines. The studio's trainers eagerly customize their instructions during the studio's three offered classes. During CrossFit Workouts of the Day, they'll combine Olympic weightlifting with gymnastics and cardio to build routines whose movements are relevant to daily living, and run through staggered stretches, plyometrics, and strength work during X-Train circuit-style programs. For an aerobic workout and a way to condition muscles with low impact, they lead aerobics routines on trampolines in fun and effective Urban Rebound courses. During one-on-one sessions, they'll design entire fitness plans to help clients achieve their goals of looking slimmer or beating incumbent state politicians in gubernatorial body building contests.
Jump on a treadmill, tune out, go home. Repeat. This is exactly the type of workout rut the founders of Crossfit West were hoping to break free of when they opened this results-focused gym. Here, intensity is the key to a successful workout, and the encouraging trainers motivate guests to push past their personal limits each day, whether that means lifting five pounds or carrying five tired classmates to the water fountain. Using a workout system originally developed for military training drills, the trainers lead ever-changing routines that are scalable to any fitness level and can include tasks such as burpees, push-ups, squats, and sled pulls. Best of all, the gym offers more than 25 classes per week so members can drop by for a plateau-blasting workout whenever their schedule allows.
Divinitree Yoga and Art Studio's instructors seek to share their passion with the community, creating a welcoming atmosphere for students of virtually any skill level or yogic persuasion. The classes encompass a range of styles, although flowing Vinyasa and Hatha sessions appear prominently throughout. The more advanced sections of these energetic practices encourage students to push themselves physically while still keeping a mindful awareness of their breathing and posture throughout.
Beyond the yoga mat, the instructors also keep themselves busy by hosting art classes for students' children and caring for their onsite garden, which grows organic produce and spare chakras.
In 1975, Ken Burnap established Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard with one goal in mind: to produce one of the best pinot noirs in California. Four years later he hired his protégé, Jeff Emery, who now runs the vineyard and ensures that it continues to produce award-winning pinots along with complex cabernet sauvignons petite sirahs. The staff makes the rounds of seven vineyards, where it cultivates traditional Californian grapes as well as varieties that originated in Spain and Portugal for its Quinta Cruz label.
At Minorsan Self-Defense & Fitness, the team of instructors share their wealth of knowledge to equip students with real-world self-defense skills, but their classes also focus on fitness. They also branch out into dance-based Zumba, kickboxing, and BodyPump––a class that mingles weightlifting with upbeat music. Kids are welcome, too, with martial arts programs that instill them with leadership skills.
Odonata's winemaker, Denis Hoey, combines old-world methods with modern ideas and techniques to create subtly complex wines in the traditional French style. A focus on sustainably grown, organic local grapes helps to create the food-friendly wines, which can be enjoyed immediately but also age well.
Sand N Sea Fitness offers personal training and online fitness training. Group fitness classes include: Boot Camp, Core Blast!, Baby Boomer Fitness and Abs, Butt, Thighs. With over 20 years in the fitness industry, certified personal trainer, Jennifer Adams, is passionate about helping people achieve their goals.
National Geographic named the Sierra High Route through the Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides one of the best American adventures and the company itself one of the best outfitters.
Frommer's and USA Today recommend the company for tours of Yosemite National Park, as do many others.
More than 600 Facebookers are fans of Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides.
Almost all of the foodstuffs at Santa Cruz Local Foods hail from farms within a hundred-mile radius, making a weekly shopping trip as eco-friendly as it is convenient. After ordering online, you’ll have a box ready for either pickup or delivery the following Tuesday, packed with eight selections of the season's ripest produce, such as sweet potatoes, apples, avocados, pod-people pods, and lettuce. Bread, cheese, and olive oil might round out your pic-a-nic basketload of fresh, healthy vittles. Besides filling your body with fruit that doesn't have the waxy aftertaste of wax fruit, a box of goodies from Santa Cruz Local Foods fits your carbon footprint into the daintiest sandal and supports family farms in the community.