IF you've brought a board from Ireland, you'll know what to do when you hit Santa Cruz. If not, then hire is your only option. Steamer Lane (above) is where you'll want to go. It doesn't need much of a swell to get going. But this is California, so you're never too far from a spot. In the water you'll find that surfers here are more territorial than in Donegal or Clare - but an Irish accent seemed to be a good ice-breaker. Remember, local knowledge is all important - so if you're hiring, make sure you have that ten-minute chat about local hazards, seals and sharks.