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Surf City Summaries
Copyright & Trademark Law


"Surf City" References
to Santa Cruz, CA

The "Original Surf City"
(This page is not intended for small screens.)
by Vaughn Aubuchon

20th Century References to Santa Cruz as "Surf City" (except 2)

Early References with Graphic Proof

Incorporation Dates of the "Surf Cities"


20th Century References from the
Google Newspaper Archive


Publication - "quotation"



128 References to Santa Cruz



33 References to Santa Cruz

Jun. 3, 1982

Earliest Reference to "Surf City USA"
(link gone)
Los Angeles Times - "the place is Manhattan Beach"


Mar. 28, 1974

Valley News (Van Nuys) - "visited the Surf City club"

Sep. 13, 1970

Earliest Reference to Huntington Beach as "Surf City" (link gone)
Los Angeles Times - "to talk about Surf City"


Jun. 28, 1960

San Mateo Times - "surround the Surf City setting"



Apr. 17, 1959

Fresno Bee Republican - "Surf City Realty"

Feb. 20, 1959

Fresno Bee Republican - "Surf City Realty"

Jan. 5, 1958

Tri-City Herald (Pasco) - "the Surf City is winning fame"

May 20, 1956

Oakland Tribune - "surround the Surf City setting"



June 2, 1940

Fresno Bee Republican - "recognition of this Surf City"




Henry Mayo - Santa Cruz Surf Pioneer - S.C. Public Library


History of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club - S.C. Public Library

Jun. 27, 1936

San Mateo Times - "the trip to the Surf City"

Jun. 23, 1930

Oakland Tribune - "250 from the Surf City"

Jan. 18, 1930

Oakland Tribune - "tangles in the Surf City"



Mar. 24, 1929

Oakland Tribune - "the Surf City ever boasted"

Nov. 13, 1927

1927 - from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

July 20, 1926

1926 - from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Jun. 12, 1926

San Mateo Times - "Surf City stars line up"

Oct. 23, 1923

1923 - from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Aug. 28, 1921

Oakland Tribune - "into Santa Cruz, the Surf City"

Jul. 14, 1921

Oakland Tribune - "reaching the Surf City by"

Jul. 8, 1921

Oakland Tribune - "northeast of the Surf City"

Apr. 9, 1921

Oakland Tribune - "...?..." (I don't have access)


Jun. 13, 1920

Oakland Tribune - "The Surf City lads"

Apr. 18, 1920

Oakland Tribune - "good road to the Surf City"



Jun. 16, 1918

Oakland Tribune - "from the Surf City last Sunday"

Sept, 16, 1916

Modesto Evening News - "the Surf City authorities"

Jun. 5, 1915

Oakland Tribune - "Surf City now is to go"

Jan. 24, 1915

Oakland Tribune - "...?..." (I don't have access)

Apr. 5, 1914

Oakland Tribune - "Kissel to the Surf City"

Apr. 4, 1914

Oakland Tribune - "of the Surf City is doomed"

Oct. 10, 1913

Oakland Tribune - "greetings of the surf city"

Apr. 3, 1913

Oakland Tribune - "Surf City Wheelmen"

Jul. 27, 1912

Oakland Tribune - "...?..." (I don't have access)


Jul. 17, 1912

Oakland Tribune - "...?..." (I don't have access)

Jul. 13, 1912

Oakland Tribune - "associated with the Surf City"

Jul. 10, 1912

Oakland Tribune - "...?..." (I don't have access)

Jul. 6, 1912

Oakland Tribune - "associated with the Surf City"

Jun. 15, 1912

Modesto News - "low rates to the Surf City"

Jun. 13, 1912

Oakland Tribune - "associated with the Surf City"

Jul. 19, 1910

Oakland Tribune - "their way to the Surf City"


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Publication - "quotation"



Aug. 30, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "Surf City Paper Says Tenor"

Jul. 14, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "to the Surf City to the"

Jul. 12, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "withdraw the Surf City club"

Jul. 9, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "the latter winning the Surf City"


Jul. 7, 1909

Oakland Tribune - " the first half, the Surf City"

Jun. 28, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "...???..."

Jun. 21, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "this week in the Surf City"

Jun. 18, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "teammates at the Surf City"

Jun. 9, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "left for the Surf City"

May 22, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "heavy slickers from the Surf City"

May 17, 1909

Oakland Tribune - "from the Surf City bear"



Mar. 18, 1908

Oakland Tribune - "in the Surf City this summer"

Feb. 24, 1908

Oakland Tribune - "has settled with Surf City"

Feb. 20, 1908

Oakland Tribune - "witnessed in the Surf City"

Feb. 8, 1908

Oakland Tribune - "venture at the Surf City"




Dec. 26, 1907

Oakland Tribune - "secured at Surf City hotels"

Dec. 8, 1907

Oakland Tribune - "...?..."

Sept. 8, 1907

Oakland Tribune - "celebration in the surf city"

Aug. 8, 1907

Oakland Tribune - "an advantage to the Surf City"

Jun. 3, 1907

Oakland Tribune - "summer months at the Surf City"

Apr. 8, 1907

Oakland Tribune - "Surf City and is the son"



Nov. 12, 1906

Oakland Tribune - "the Surf City, where they will"

Oct. 7, 1906

Oakland Tribune - "...?..."

Apr. 19, 1906

1906 - from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Feb. 12, 1906

Oakland Tribune - "stated that the Surf City had blind"

Jan. 13, 1906

Nevada State Journal - "two weeks at the Surf City"



Oct. 28, 1905

Oakland Tribune - "received from Surf City that"


Jul. 4, 1904

Oakland Tribune - "19 by the Surf City players"

1903 - 1904

Ross Eric Gibson: SC's 'Surf City' tag fits
Santa Cruz Sentinel - Dec 26, 2004
"There are two versions of how "Surf City" was first applied to Santa Cruz. In 1883, the weekly "Courier-Item" newspaper came out with a promotional summer ... " . . . and? . . . and? . . . and?

What a teaser line! The Sentinel has removed the article, and cast us adrift. Where is respected, prolific Historian Gibson today? I can't find this "Courier-Item" reference anywhere else. Anyone?
I went to the central library twice, and
printed out the article (easy read - 216k)

printed out the article (file with date - 256k)
from the microfilm archive. It is great stuff and should STILL be online. I will take it down if so instructed. However, there is no reference to any 1883 publication using the words "Surf City". So, 1904 remains the earliest PRINTED reference, that I can find.

Here is one sentence from the article:
"To improve the waterfront, Swanton built the 1903 Cottage City and 1904 boardwalk, and promoted them with statewide train and caravan tours, inviting people to visit "the Surf City."
Can YOU find anything earlier?

In the article, Ross also notes -
"The 1948 'Surfing in the Santa Cruz Way' is the FIRST known mainland surf song." And the last sentence - "Santa Cruz could really bug them by trademarking the nickname "The Original Surf City." Amen.

Jul. 3, 1896

Legendary Surfers presents this insight - "The boys who go in swimming in the surf at Seabright beach use surfboard to ride the breakers like the Hawaiians." - The Daily Surf and also
Here (see #21).

Jul. 20, 1885

1885 - from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

There are 50 references to Santa Cruz as Surf City in the Oakland Tribune alone.
Bear in mind that the references above are only from ARCHIVED newspapers.

Many other references exist that have NOT been archived for retrieval.
Examples of 5 of these are shown below.



300 - 450

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A Few Original Surf City References
Graphic Proof




Hoover Company Convention - San Jose Mercury Herald


Dog Show at the Casa Del Rey - San Jose Mercury Herald


Poultry Congress Prize Winners - SJ Mercury Herald


Earthquake Damage Report - San Jose Mercury and Herald

San Jose is much closer to Santa Cruz than Oakland. I therefore guess that there were FAR MORE references to Surf City in the San Jose Mercury and Herald, than ever occurred in the Oakland Tribune, from which I have documented 50. They just aren't archived for public consumption.

There is NO INDEX to the early San Jose Mercury and Herald. The 4 references above were found "by accident" by Diana Stickler, News Research, for the San Jose Mercury News, while she was looking for other information. Thank you Diana, and thank you Brigid.


Cricket Team Defeated - Oakland tribune (The race is on - who can find an earlier reference than this to "Surf City" Santa Cruz?)
And 13 Others from the Museum of Art and History Forum - From 1904 to 1974 - From Steve Williams, Santa Cruz History Researcher and Software Guru


Hawaiian Princes' Exhibition (earliest California surfing)
(not a Surf City reference - Kawananakoa brothers)



360 - 450

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 Surf City Santa Cruz - Reference #1
Hoover Company Convention At Surf City - San Jose Mercury Herald - Nov. 13, 1927
"Salesmen Praise Santa Cruz"
"Managers of Pacific Coast Hoover Company who adjourned yesterday after a five-day convention at Surf City, where they came to attend school of instruction." Say, isn't that your grandpa there in the back row?

Surf City Santa Cruz - Reference #2

"Surf City Dog Show A Success, Declare Experts" - San Jose Mercury Herald - July 20, 1926
"The biggest collection of famous canines ever assembled at a Santa Cruz dog show in the bench exhibition just closed on the Casa Del Rey tennis courts." Woof, woof.

Surf City Santa Cruz - Reference #3

"Prize Winners At Surf City" - San Jose Mercury Herald - Oct. 23, 1923
"Miss Yetta Tabor, better known as "Miss Santa Cruz", is seen holding the new R. L. Williams sanitary baby chick crate which won first honors at the recent poultry congress at Santa Cruz. Williams, the inventor, received a blue ribbon from the state farm bureau for his device." I like Yetta. It looks like she is trying out some big, new kind of accordian.

Surf City Santa Cruz - Reference #4

"Many Buildings Are In Ruins at The Surf City" - San Jose Mercury and Herald - April 19, 1906
"Court House and Other Large Structures Are Almost Completely Wrecked."

Surf City Santa Cruz - Reference #5

"Alameda Wins At Cricket." - Oakland Tribune - July 4, 1904
"Santa Cruz Team Fares Badly At Hands of the Visitors."
"The cricket team at Santa Cruz yesterday, between the eleven from that place and the representatives of the Alameda Cricket Club resulted in a total of 180 runs by the Alameda team to 19 by the Surf City players." Yikes, what a shellacking! Thank you again
Steve Williams.

From the 19th Century, a reference to "surf-board swimming" in Santa Cruz -
Surf City Santa Cruz - Reference #5
Hawaiian Princes' Surf-swimming Exhibition in Santa Cruz - The Daily Surf - July 20, 1885
"The young Hawaiian princes were in the water, enjoying it hugely and giving interesting exhibitions of surf-board swimming as practiced in their native islands." (above is a reprint copy - I have an original copy - Thank you Brigid.)

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi ("Cupid") - 1871-1922
Prince David Laamea Kawananakoa Kahalepouli Piikoi ("Koa") - 1868-1908
Prince Edward Abnel Keliiahonui Piikoi - 1869-1897


Many thanks to Brigid Fuller, Publicist for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, for the above 5 graphics files which she provided. In each case, the references above are reduced-size JPEGs. The original JPEGs are multi-megabyte files, which are too large to be referenced here. For instance, reference #4 is an excerpt from the entire front page of the "San Jose Mercury and Herald" on April 19, 1906.

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Incorporation Dates of the "Big 4" of USA Mainland "Surf Cities" -

1866 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Original Surf City predates Huntington Beach by 43 years.
1894 - Surf City, NJ
1909 -
Huntington Beach, CA
1949 - Surf City, NC

Multiple Santa Cruz Surf City references predate the existence of the city of Huntington Beach.
1904, 1905, 1906 (4), 1907 (6), 1908 (4), etc.

Author's Opinion: The Huntington Beach Convention and Visitor's Bureau cannot produce any references as early as these, which refer to Huntington Beach as "Surf City". They cannot produce any "Surf City" references from the 1910's, or the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's or 1950's, when Huntington Beach was known as "
Oil City". Here is an old view of the Huntington Beach Pier. Count the oil wells. Count the surfers.


Here is some background for this page -

The Beginning -
Trademark Bullies

The End -
Huntington Beach Wipeout

Youtube -
Surfer Mag votes Santa Cruz #1,
              (Huntington Beach did NOT even make the Top 10)

July 2009 -
The REAL Surf City USA

Nov. 25, 2009 -
Hawaiians honor Santa Cruz as Surf City

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Vaughn Aubuchon Author Bio

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This Original Surf City Santa Cruz References
web page was last updated on 2019-03-30.