Mowing foam at the Ward Coffey shaping bay.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: A Westside surfboard craftsman, a goofy-sock empire and post-Roe conversation

Good morning, friends! It’s Tuesday, July 5, and the forecast calls for clouds giving way to sunshine for Santa Cruz County, with highs in the 60s and 70s.

I hope you all had a safe, relaxing long weekend, because Lookout is going full speed ahead into the short workweek. First up is Mark Conley, who catches up surfboard craftsman Ward Coffey, one of the very last true hand shapers in the business. “When I walk in here (to my shaping room), to shape a board, it’s like, OK, I know my way around this a bit, I’m pretty good at this,” Coffey tells Mark. “And I’m stoked to do it.”

Wallace Baine, meanwhile, has a look at a local business that’s a big player in its industry: Socksmith, the brainchild of Eric and Ellen Gil and a company that delivers on its slogan, “No Boring Socks.”

And in our Community Voices opinion section, former county clerk and current State Assembly candidate Gail Pellerin and her daughter, Emily Chaffin, talk about their mother-daughter bond, their fury over the end of Roe and the fight that lies ahead to secure abortion rights for women.

All that and inside Wallace’s “is this a dream?” experience at the Esalen Institute is among today’s headlines, so let’s get to ‘em.

Soul shaper: Why does surfboard craftsman Ward Coffey do it all by hand? It’s the only way he knows

Ward Coffey talks shop at his Westside shaping outpost.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

There are no machine politics to be played out in this Westside Santa Cruz shaping bay, one of the last of its kind in this surf-mad town or, in fact, any others like it around the world. As technological progress — or disruption — has defined the modern surfboard-shaping experience, Ward Coffey’s business has managed to keep it delightfully old-school and down to earth. Mark Conley takes us inside.

MORE FROM MARK: ‘We love you, Bucky’: Surf community mourns iconic board shaper swallowed up by addiction at 41

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An empire built on goofy socks: The Santa Cruz saga of Socksmith

Eric and Ellen Gil survey their corner of Pacific Avenue.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“A sock shop? How long do you think they’ll be in business?” That was the greeting Eric and Ellen Gil got when they opened in downtown Santa Cruz in 1988, but with their company, Socksmith, now an industry giant, the sock is on the other foot. Wallace Baine traces the Gils’ path.

MORE LOCAL SCENE: ‘Don’t expect any oldies’: Bob Dylan comes to Santa Cruz (Lookout)

A mother-daughter moment: Gail Pellerin and daughter Emily lament the surreal post-Roe world they share

Emily Chaffin and Gail Pellerin are trying to comprehend this complex moment together.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Gail Pellerin — who is running for California State Assembly District 28 — had an abortion when she was 26. She told her daughter, Emily, her story just before Emily left for college. It was hard for the then-Santa Cruz County Clerk to make herself that vulnerable. But her openness changed their relationship and made Emily more willing to talk to Gail about her sexual assault a few years later. In a Community Voices opinion piece, they talk about their mother-daughter bond, their fury over the end of Roe and the fight that lies ahead to secure abortion rights for women. Read their Community Voices conversation here.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: How to contribute to Community Voices

There was no shortage of smiling faces at ‘World’s Shortest Parade’ in Aptos

(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Lookout’s Kevin Painchaud was on hand Monday for Aptos’ favorite Fourth of July tradition. Here’s what he saw at “The World’s Shortest Parade.”

FROM 2021: ‘World’s Shortest Parade’ ready to get its groove back (Lookout)


My Esalen experience: Big Sur’s ‘one-of-a-kind, you-gotta-be-kidding-me, is-this-a-dream?’ kinda day

Esalen Institute in Big Sur
(Wallace Baine / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Turns out the universe has a lottery, and today I’m holding the winning ticket, both soaking in the hot springs and washing dishes, at this Nirvana on a hot edge of the Pacific. This is a peak experience for those with aging, worn-down bodies, and I’m thinking of all those who may have trod these paths and seen these sights. Live vicariously through Wallace.

READ MORE FROM WALLACE: Find all of his columns in one place

An OB-GYN talks life post-Roe and why Santa Cruz could soon see more late-term abortions

Laetitia Oderman is one of two Santa Cruz doctors who provide second-trimester abortions. In this first “Conversations with Jody,” feature, she talks to Community Voices editor Jody K. Biehl about the end of Roe and what bans on abortions in dozens of states will mean for California, Santa Cruz and for her personally. Read it here.

MORE ON ABORTION RIGHTS: From the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade to Santa Cruz’s reaction, find all of Lookout’s coverage in one place


Around the county ...

The “Spirit of Watsonville” alive and well on Independence Day (KION-TV)
Pajaro Valley Arts to host art and history conference (The Pajaronian)
Afghan family celebrates freedom on the Fourth of July (KAZU-FM)

That’s what I know this Tuesday morning (sorry, mostly repeating that for myself ... it’s Tuesday, not Monday). And Tuesday means Lily Belli on Food, one of the many newsletters you can sign up for by clicking over to our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center. You can also keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To ensure you’re staying informed about all the goings-on in Santa Cruz, please consider becoming a Lookout member if you’re not already. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Have a good Tuesday — you’ve got this!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz