Just so everyone is clear, what I am about to say is not an opinion; it is a fact. It is one of the indisputable truths in life, just like the fact that the Earth is round, the sky is blue, and you are going to check your Facebook today. This truth that I speak of is that people from Santa Cruz are straight up weird.

This may raise some red flags with some of you, and you may think that I am making gross generalizations. I ask you then, do you know anyone from Santa Cruz that doesn’t seem like they would be more at home living in a tree picking ants out of the sap and eating them? I’m not a hater, but rather an explorer of socio-cultural deviation in the surfing world. Like Columbus, I have sailed the uncharted seas and visited this famed surf and hippie haven. Before beginning my end here at UCSB, I found myself pondering the possibility of attending UC Santa Cruz.

I knew that there were a few inherent truths about the place. Of course the surf there is absolutely phenomenal, and consistently so, but exiting the water with the ability to feel any of your extremities is not likely. This is because they will certainly be either frozen solid or bitten off by one of the surf city’s big, friendly, yet violently curious great whites. People tend to give the sharks credit by saying that they think that we are seals, but more likely they are just bothered by bros who wear the bills of their hats bent up in a bro-tacular fashion.

These Santa Cruz dwellers are a rare breed indeed. I have a close friend who is from this place, but rest assured he is an example of the rule and not an exception. He’s a good surfer, a good friend, and a complete freak of nature. He has a three-word vocabulary after his first beer, with the most versatile word being “smash.” Like so many drunken words, this can have any number of meanings depending on the situation. If said to a friend while looking at a girl, then it means that the girl is somewhat attractive. If said as an answer to a question, then it usually indicates agreement. If heard by a passer-by, it is assumed that the speaker is severely mentally handicapped and the people standing around him are very compassionate for taking him out to a party where he can use his three words in an exciting new environment.

I’m not sure what it is about Santa Cruz that has led to the creation of such individuals, but something is happening in those woods. I asked my friend about the Santa Cruz phenomenon, why people there have such a strange perspective, and what it is about the town that works like a magnet on the inhabitants (most people from Santa Cruz never leave Santa Cruz). He looked at me with what looked like a concerned and thoughtful gaze, and then he responded with “smash” and took another sip of his beer.

It could be the hypnotizing force of the perfect grinding waves, or it could be some kind of subconscious bond with the forest-dwelling creatures like the deer that roam the campus of UCSC freely. Whatever it is, the effect has led to a cultural oddity that is the Santa Cruz mentality. It is an amazing place, but if the people weren’t raised by wolves or banana slugs, then I am at a loss for explanations.

I would just recommend that anyone thinking of taking a surf trip to Santa Cruz beware. Spending extended periods of time there can lead to some subtle changes in oneself, and although exposure to Birkenstocks and dreadlocks won’t kill you, they could cripple your vocabulary.