The first part of the Soul Tour I set out on late last year was to conquer the Californian coastline. Numerous friends who had made the trip up Hwy 1 before me had not only boasted how beautiful it was but emphasised the growing number of creatively conscience people carving their own lives in any one of the many stunning small surf towns.
Santa Cruz is one of these places. Other than knowing that the coastal town has some awesome surf breaks all I knew was that it was the birthplace of those "Santa Cruz' tee shirts every hipster has in their wardrobe and it was also the location where one of my favourite childhood movies, The Lost Boys, was filmed. So I was pretty excited to explore and see what else Santa Cruz had to offer.
It wasn't long before I found myself down on Ingalls Streett, the old industrial part of town that is enjoying a breath of fresh air from locals opening up trendy new stores, cafes and creative spaces.
One such place is Sawyer Land & Sea Supply, an outdoor lifestyle/surf boutique that stocks quality local goods. Upon entering I was greeted by Stacey who I came to soon realise was the owner. I took the opportunity to pepper her with questions about all the wonderful products in her store of which she was more than happy to answer, until she said. "Well if you come back at 7pm tonight you can meet most of the creators of these products because I'm having a little party and all of them will be coming."
To save the rambling, I had a wonderful night and met some remarkable people, however there was one person who I was especially fortunate to meet and that was Brian Himlan. Brain makes beautiful wooden handplanes and other wave-riding vessels using old-world techniques, hence the name Long Ship Designs. He is a true gentleman who invited me to his workshop the next day to gain an insight into his world and love of wood and the sea.