Today’s Groupon replaces your normal hands and feet with highly skilled climber appendages. For $35, you get five day-passes to Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, including climbing equipment rental and use of the facility's fitness equipment and sauna (a $93 value), plus a two-hour beginner or technique climbing class (a $31.50 value) and one yoga class (a $12 value), a $136.50 total value. Pacific Edge is co-owned and run by a staff of instructors with years of climbing and yoga experience, and was the Best Outdoor Sports School winner in 2009.2000 Feet: The nagging feeling that you’ve left your oven on is misguided. You haven’t. 5000 Feet: Breathing becomes labored; earthly memories fade. 10,000 Feet: Why does it smell like Christmas? 20,000 Feet: Weight of the treasured Elf Stones lifted only by inspiring visions of the Gates of Shamagor. 30,000 Feet: Break for lunch.
Departing from Venture Quest's dock on the Santa Cruz Wharf, boaters explore the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from a new, watery perspective while encountering marine flora and fauna. Even without prior experience, kayaking duos can easily navigate the two-person ($50) or a pair of single ($30 each) open-topped boats. A quick ocean-top jaunt to the lush kelp forest near Lighthouse Point may reveal views of harbor seals and frolicking sea otters dancing the cancan in their natural habitat. Sea lions are also known to lounge on nearby Seal Rock, batting their big brown eyes at the occasional passing dolphin or whale.
As the autumn air turns crisp, red and green fuji and gala apples grow plump and shiny on the tree branches at Clearview Orchards. These tempting fruits aren’t just pretty; they’re also free of pesticides. Just 10 years ago, owners Mel and Carol LaRussa took over the hilly orchard and replanted all its trees to grow CCOF-certified organic fruit. Now, in addition to packing up its organic apples to send off to wicked stepmothers across the country, the orchard invites visitors to drop by for seasonal picking trips. While there, they might run into the owners’ children and grandchildren, who help out on weekends. Visitors can also pick up pumpkins, turnovers, lavender, or organic honey, before they head home.
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.
Seasoned ace Bob Swinnerton established Santa Cruz Golf Academy 18 years ago to streamline his desire to spread golf wisdom to eager pupils. A professional instructor for more than 25 years, the passionate pedagogue's technical advice has been showcased in Golf Tips magazine, and his competitive resume includes playing on the Canadian PGA Tour, a collegiate career with a nationally ranked Fresno State University team, and time spent as Jack Nicklaus's dog-walker. Bob conducts lessons in his indoor golf studio, where club-toting cadets crush orbs under the surveillance of a video and computer-swing-analysis program, which helps to pinpoint swing deficiencies and introduce pupils to a digital doppelganger soon to be their inferior. Along with in-session advice, Bob outlines a multitude of golf drills that his players can take with them to maintain their pin-hunting prowess.
Local coach Bob Kittle is both a fixture and good omen in Santa Cruz baseball. He nabbed the position of head coach at Cabrillo College after a 13-year stint at Santa Cruz High School, where he passed 47 players—12 of whom carried Division I scholarships—on to four-year schools. After seven Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title wins and a community effort that saw Bill Dodge Field built, he now guides college players toward burgeoning baseball careers. He prefers to focus on the willpower behind the sport, telling the Santa Cruz Sentinel that "winning and success will take care of itself" when his students are devoted.
Bob runs the Santa Cruz Baseball School as a year-round venue for players to hone their on-the-field skills. Through the nonprofit organization, he coaches kids with private lessons, high-school leagues, and recruiting tips to impress colleges, such as how to tell the difference between a diamond and a parallelogram. The school's summer camps engage 7- to 14-year-olds with game-play drills and speed-boosting techniques. Past instructors include Neil Walton of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Lauren Gagnier of the Detroit Tigers.