Two minutes? Three minutes? Might as well be an hour, because a full-blown, outside-to-inside Middle Peak wave at Steamer Lane is one of the fastest, longest, and bitchinest surf rides on the West Coast. Once you make that drop and shoot out front, it's a matter of nursing your speed, waiting for when that wave hits the inside reef and stands up into a wall, and when it does you're riding a screaming-fast watery racetrack that lets you soar and climb and fall and soar again and again, right on through the pack of intermediates at Indicators break, through the beginners at Cowells, and finally onto a beach dotted with glistening coeds. To find Middle Peak, park at the lighthouse north of the Santa Cruz pier, then paddle due south.