Cover Stories

Best Of Santa Cruz County 2016 Health & Recreation

Health & Recreation

Best Bike Shop

Epicenter Cycling

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1 Epicenter lets customers test-ride bikes as they look for the right fit.

2 The shop also offers professional fitting and unlimited lifetime tune-ups. “We’re the only shop in the immediate area that does that, and the reason we do is that we don’t want the bike to sit in that garage and be sad,” says Candice Covello, marketing director for Epicenter.

3 Shawn Wilson, the owner, grew up riding in Nisene Marks doing dirt jumps with Cam McCaul and others who have gone on to be famous.

4 Epicenter helped build the since-demolished pump track in Aptos, where Aptos Village will soon be. Wilson hopes to rebuild it soon in a new location.

5 If you google “cutest bike shop Santa Cruz,” Epicenter is the top result. Covello suggests it’s because there are house dogs and one house cat who sometimes hang out around the shop. JP

Best Gym

Toadal Fitness

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1 Owners Christophe and Cecile Bellito proudly offer five facilities for the enrichment of life through better fitness.

2 Founded in downtown Santa Cruz in 1996, the first club was named Frog Fitness after a French tradition, and later changed to Toadal Fitness.

3 All five clubs—in downtown Santa Cruz, Westside, Scotts Valley, Live Oak, and Aptos (where it is called Cabrillo Fitness)—offer the Silver Sneakers program for seniors, as well as Zumba classes.

4 Cabrillo Fitness was opened in 1978 by a group of racquetball enthusiasts. To offer a more complete exercise program, the owner joined forces with Toadal Fitness.

5 New to Toadal Fitness members is a free screening offer from Precision Physical Therapy, which seeks to improve performance with movement-based evaluations and treatment techniques. JS

Best Martial Arts

Sanford’s Martial Arts

1 Opened in 1980, Sanford’s Martial Arts teaches traditional Japanese martial arts to students from age 4 and beyond.

2 Sean Sanford, now head instructor, joined his dad Ron at the studio at age 4.

3 With kids, emphasis is placed on character development, respect, self-discipline, and confidence.

4 Adults gain knowledge of  balance and coordination, awareness skills and ways to relieve stress.

5 Three one-week summer camps in June, July and August are themed “Ninja,” “Samurai” and “Train like a Black Belt.” JS

Best Skate Shop

Bill’s Wheels



1 The first Bill’s Wheels location was on East Lake Avenue in Watsonville in 1977. The rent was $125 a month.

2 When Bill’s Wheels was in Watsonville, owner Bill Ackerman got so much business from Salinas that he decided to open up a second location there in the 1980s. He moved twice before closing his Salinas shop in 2013, after 26 years.

3 Bill’s Wheels used to have events in its Watsonville parking lot called Skate Jams, which sometimes drew up to 400 kids. They would set up ramps and have bands perform on the back of a flatbed truck. The store has events these days at its Soquel Avenue shop, on a smaller scale.

4 Ackerman, now 58, was an established local skater in the ’70s, and he got into skating drained swimming pools “when that became a thing,” he says. Ackerman’s skills shone on the high jump, where a skater rides up to a high jump bar, leaps off their board and lands back on it on the other side.

5 Ackerman has the walls outside his business dedicated to a rotating list of graffiti artists. “That’s another thing we’ve stood behind for years, is getting behind the artistic side of graffiti,” Ackerman says. JP


Acupuncture Clinic

Five Branches University

200 7th Ave., #115, Santa Cruz


RUNNERS-UP Flux Acupuncture Lounge, Nihal Kaur Acupuncture


Bike Shop

Epicenter Cycling   

1730 Mission St., Santa Cruz,


8035 Soquel Dr., Aptos, 662-8100

RUNNERS-UP Another Bike Shop, Bicycle Trip



Dr. Katie Griffin   

543 Frederick St., Santa Cruz, 458-1940

RUNNERS-UP Dr. Marie Royer, McCollum Family Chiropractic



A. Gavin McClure

525 Center St., Santa Cruz


RUNNERS-UP Dientes, Kevin Ippisch


Doctor (MD)

Rachel Abrams, MD

740 Front St., Suite 130, Santa Cruz


RUNNERS-UP Amy Solomon, MD, Mary Patz, MD  



Peggy Humphries at Butterfly Esthetics

1045 Water St., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Cheladee Bianchini at Cheladee’s Holistic Skincare Studio, Jennalee Dahlen at Santa Cruz Skin Solutions


Golf Course


401 Upper Park Road, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Pasatiempo, Seascape



Toadal Fitness

113 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz, 423-3764

1200 17th Ave., #108, Santa Cruz, 464-3764

6200 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 475-5979

2929 Mission St. Extension, Santa Cruz, 466-3764

269 Mount Hermon Road, Scotts Valley, 430-9200

RUNNERS-UP Capitola Fitness, In-Shape



Furlong Vision

Bayshore Plaza, 2107 N 1st St., #101, San Jose,



Martial Arts

Sanford’s Martial Arts   

4626 Soquel Drive, Soquel,


RUNNERS-UP Kaijin Mixed Martial Arts, LightSpeed Martial Arts Academy


Medical Marijuana Club

KindPeoples Collective

3600 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP CannaCruz, C.H.A.I.


Massage Therapist

Tomek Walas   

250 Blossom Hill Road #101, Los Gatos,


RUNNERS-UP Dawn Grey, Melanie Sargent


Naturopath Doctor

Juli Mazi, ND

2840 Park Ave., Ste. A, Soquel, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Aimée Gould Shunney, ND; Tonya Fleck, ND



Jocelyn Dubin at Nourish  

130 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Healthy Way, Jaimi Ellison, Ramona Richard   



Mark Joiner

1773 Dominican Way, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP John A. Hedrick, North Coast Orthodontics


Outdoor Store

Outdoor World

1440 41st Ave., Capitola, 479-1501

136 River St., Santa Cruz, 423-9555

RUNNERS-UP Down Works, Patagonia  


Personal Trainer

Rocky Snyder

RUNNERS-UP Dio Santiago, Trenise Pot



Way of Life

1220 41st Ave., Capitola,


RUNNERS-UP New Leaf Community Markets, Staff of Life



Agile Monkey  

121 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Body in Motion, Pleasure Point Pilates


Running Store

Fleet Feet

26 Rancho Del Mar, Aptos,


RUNNER-UP Santa Cruz Running Company  


Skate Park

Scotts Valley Skypark

361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley

RUNNERS-UP Derby, Mike Fox


Skate Shop

Bill’s Wheels

1240 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Boardroom, Skateworks



Play It Again Sports

4770 Soquel Drive, Soquel,


RUNNER-UP Helm of Sun Valley


Spa (pampering)

Chaminade Resort & Spa

1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Caress Day Spa, Well Within  


Spa (soaking)

Well Within Spa

417 Cedar St., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Kiva Retreat House, Tea House Spa


Sporting Goods

Play It Again Sports

4770 Soquel Drive, Soquel,


RUNNER-UP Outdoor World


Stand-up paddleboard

SUP Shack

2214 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Covewater, Kayak Connection


Surf School

Richard Schmidt Surf School    

236 San Jose Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Club Ed, Surf School Santa Cruz


Surf Shop


Multiple Locations

RUNNERS-UP Freeline, Pearson Arrow Surf Shop


Surf Spot

Steamer Lane

RUNNERS-UP Cowells, Pleasure Point


Swim School

Adventure Sports

303 Potrero St. #15, Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Seahorse Swim School, Simpkins Family Swim Center  



Farrah Dalal  

736 Chestnut St. Suite E, Santa Cruz,

111 Errett Circle, Santa Cruz


RUNNERS-UP Daniel Blumrosen, Lucie Hemmen


Yoga Instructor

Victor Dubin at Nourish

130 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Daniela Kosmalski, Hannah Muse   


Yoga Studio

DiviniTree Yoga

1043 Water St., Santa Cruz, 421-0518

2805 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 458-8212,

RUNNERS-UP Luma Yoga, Nourish  


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