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.
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Rosie McCann's specializes in twists on traditional Irish fare, tweaking classic Celtic dishes and drinks in a traditional pub setting. The menu showcases plates of irish nachos, sliced spuds slathered in jack and cheddar cheeses, olives, fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and jalapeños. The Americanized version of shepherd's pie simmers grass-fed Humboldt beef and vegetables in a rich irish stock before adding a helmet of mashed potatoes au gratin. Heftier appetites can get satisfaction with bangers & mash, a Celtic take on the English classic, that douses irish sausages and garlic mashed potatoes in Guinness gravy. 10 premium imports or 4 microbrews stand ready on tap, and malt mixologists also pour specialty beer drinks such as the Black Velvet, a whistle-whetting blend of Blackthorn hard apple cider and Guinness.
The dining room echoes the colors of the Irish flag, with burnt-red walls and bright-green stained-glass windows. Guests can cozy up in plush booth seats bedecked in plaid and gaze at glass chandeliers that hang from the ceilings as they sip on mimosas or savor lunch and brunch fare.
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.
Winner of the Santa Cruz Weekly 2013 Gold Award for Best Dance Club and Best Fancy Cocktails, Motiv expertly slings tapas-style eats and a wide selection of drinks in a lively lounge space. Tucked along Pacific Avenue and Pearl Alley in a stucco building with a corrugated-tin roof and flowering window boxes, Motiv’s serene Old World–exterior belies its energetic dance floor, sleek wooden bar downstairs, and intimate restaurant-lounge upstairs. Half pound grass-fed burgers, skirt steak dinners and Jorge's famous tacos populate the shareable menu, and top-shelf liquors are mixed into specialty cocktails. Nightly live music delivered by a stable of DJs encourages diners to extend evenings by shaking a leg or showing off neon puffy-paint monograms under the colorful disco lights.