Surfer statue on the cliff above Indicators surf break, Santa Cruz, California. Prominent classical sculptor Thomas Marsh created this 18-foot tall monument in 1992, dedicating it “to all surfers, past, present and future.” Since that time, it has become a cherished part of the local surf culture.
And the setting is significant, too. The first recorded surfing session in the continental United States took place just over the statue’s shoulder. On July 19, 1885, three nephews of Hawaiian king Kalakaua rode redwood longboards at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. And just thirty years later, Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku came to town and hit the waves at the same place. The result was the popularization of surfing in the United States. And the cementing of Santa Cruz as one of the best places to do it.