We had the good fortune of connecting with David Dennis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi David, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
We started Ventana Surfboards & Supplies with the goal of creating the most environmentally responsible surf company in the world. We donate 5% of profits to ocean conservation organizations in California, and we have an incredibly high bar for environmental stewardship with our products. We’re a very small company, but we’ve inspired many other businesses to take the approach we do…turning other people’s trash into high quality products.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Ventana has the highest bars for artisanship and environmental responsibility. We create hollow-framed, reclaimed wooden surfboards; bodysurfing handplanes; eco surf apparel, and sustainable surf supplies that are loved by adventurers everywhere. We live and work in Santa Cruz, California where we test our products on some of the most challenging waves on the planet. And we donate at least 5% of profits to ocean conservation.

It’s always a challenge to stay relevant and grow a business in the crowded surf industry, but we’ve stayed true to our values and that continues to set us apart. Our values guide everything we create, every decision we make, and every partner company with which we work. These values are:

ARTISANSHIP: Every detail matters. Our hollow wooden surfboards are hand-crafted, surfable works of art that set the quality bar for every product we make and sell.

RESPONSIBILITY: Every Ventana product speaks to environmental and social responsibility, and we donate at least 5% of profits to ocean conservation.

ADVENTURE: Ventana Surfboards & Supplies are made to be put to the test by ocean adventurers everywhere.

Even with a very clear mission and focus, it’s a constant effort to innovate and grow. We’ve been able to do that for that last 9 years., but it takes tremendous passion and dedication.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

Santa Cruz is an incredible beach town. We have many of the things that are great about a big city but with a more causal, small town vibe. Our art, food, shopping, concerts, non-profit organizations, businesses, and outdoor activities are among the best in the world.

Santa Cruz is small enough geographically that you can fit in many activities in a single day. A few must-dos are:

1. Walk West Cliff Drive from the Dream Inn Hotel (a great place to stay and eat: https://www.dreaminnsantacruz.com) to Natural Bridges State Beach. Visit the monarch butterfly grove between October and November. Watch the surfers at the lighthouse/Steamer Lane. If you’re going to surf there, have good etiquette, and the locals will treat you well. The lighthouse also houses a small surfing museum. Look out into the ocean often to scan for otters, sea lions, whales, harbor seals, and dolphins!

2. Take a day trip over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium https://www.montereybayaquarium.org) about an hour away. Buy tickets in advance.

3. Hike or mountain bike at Wilder Ranch State Park (https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=549). Head up the mountain or along the ocean bluffs, both are beautiful.

4. Visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (http://beachboardwalk.com) and ride the historic, 100+ year old Giant Dipper wooden rollercoaster.

5. Do some strolling and shopping on Pacific Avenue in Downtown Santa Cruz. Don’t miss Bookshop Santa Cruz (https://www.bookshopsantacruz.com), Berdels (https://berdels.com), the Patagonia Outlet store (https://www.patagonia.com/patagonia-outlet-santa-cruz-415-river-street-c-santa-cruz-ca-95060/store_924602000.html), and Fybr Bamboo https://www.shopfybr.com).

6. Catch a concert at the Catalyst: https://catalystclub.com

7. Recommended eating and drinking establishments:
– Humble Sea Brewing Co.: https://humblesea.com)
– Barceloneta: https://www.eatbarceloneta.com)
– Zoccoli’s Deli: http://www.zoccolis.com)
– Poke House: https://www.poke.house)
– Achilles Mediterranean: https://achillesrestaurant.com)
– Lillian’s Italian Kitchen: https://www.lilliansitaliankitchen.com)
– Venus Spirits Cocktails and Kitchen: https://www.venusspirits.com
– Abbot Square at the Museum of Art and History: https://abbottsquaremarket.com
– Pizza My Heart: https://www.pizzamyheart.com
– Alderwood: https://www.alderwoodsantacruz.com

8. Recommended locally-owned surf shops
– Midtown Surf Shop: https://midtownsurfshop.com
– Freeline Surf Shop: https://www.freelinesurf.com
– Arrow Surf Shop: https://www.arrowsurfshop.com
– O’Neill Surf Shop: https://downtownsantacruz.com/go/oneill-surf-shop

9. Take a whale watching trip with Discovery Whale Watch (https://discoverywhalewatch.com) or Sanctuary Cruises (https://www.sanctuarycruises.com)

10. Hit us up at craftspeople@ventanasurfboards.com for a tour of our workshop in Aptos!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We have many partners who have supported us with donations of wood and materials so that we can build our surfboards and other products. There are too many to list, but most are showcased here: http://ventanasurfboards.com/partners.

Website: http://ventanasurfboards.com

Instagram: @ventanasurfboards

Linkedin: Ventana Surfboards & Supplies

Twitter: @ventanasurf

Facebook: @ventanasurfboards

Youtube: http://youtube.com/ventanasurfboards

Other: https://www.reddit.com/user/ventanasurfboards/ TikTok: @ventanasurfboards

Image Credits
– Ventana Surfboards & Supplies – Salty Breeze Surf Art and Photography (sunset surfing pic only)

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