Claude Horan: the godfather of Steamer Lane | Photo: Francis Haar

Claude "Duke" Horan, the man who named Steamer Lane, has passed away at 96.

Steamer Lane is one of the most popular surf spots in the world. The iconic peak located in Santa Cruz, Northern California, was accidentally baptized by Claude Horan, in 1936.

"My God, look outside, they're breaking clean out in the steamer lane." The phrase came out of "Duke" Horan's mouth when a big swell hit the Californian coast in the late 1930s, and steamboats entered Santa Cruz Wharf.

Steamer Lane. Nice nick, we'll take that. Claude not just another surfer. He was a "foreign pioneer" in the local waves, although he was not allowed to join the Santa Cruz Surf Club.

Up above, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum reveals the full story of the spot, with all the richful details. The history of Steamer Lane is made of classic swells, endless rides, and cliff crashes.

Claude "Duke" Horan was considered a good-humoured surfer by his peers. In 1946, he earns the degree of Master of Arts, from Ohio State University, and relocates to Hawaii.

In 30 years, Steamer Lane's godfather leaves an impressive legacy in contemporary ceramics. His works are spread all over the Hawaiian islands.

Santa Cruz is considered to be the birthplace of surfing in mainland America. Steamer Lane is the best-known surf break in the region, although the region is blessed by dozens of quality peaks. The Santa Cruz Surf Club was founded in 1938.

The first professional surfing contest was held in 1967. The Santa Cruz Pro-Am delivered 300 dollars to Corky Carrol, the event's grand winner.