Blue Zone Waters

Alayna Nathe is on a mission to spread the word about Ionized Water!

By Neal Kearney
June 19, 2024
Cool clean water

Water. It’s importance to the presence of life on Earth is inescapable and it’s necessity for the functioning of our human bodies cannot be ignored. It permeates our bodies, carrying nutrients, oxygen, and wastes to and from our cells and organs. It cools our bodies, cushions our joints, and protects our tissues and organs from shock and damage, and that’s just scratching the surface. 

Considering its massive role in facilitating the health of our bodies, why do we seem to be so blasé about where we source the water we put in our bodies from? Sure, using Brita filters and drinking bottled water may be superior to sticking a straw in the San Lorenzo River, but why do the bare minimum? Especially considering the lengths will humans go to, and the fortunes they will spend, to source something as biologically inessential as premium coffee beans? 

Alayna Nathe, owner of Blue Zone Waters, located on Portola Avenue in the heart of Pleasure Point, sees our society’s inability to understand and value the quality of our drinking water as a higher calling, and is on a mission to do something about it.

Nathe, a mother of two, has called Santa Cruz her home since 1989, has long been passionate about health and wellness. She’s spent the past 35 years as an avid surfer, competes in the occasional Spartan race, and spends most of her free time at the gym or hiking with her dog and wife, Kim. She got her first taste of running a brick-and-mortar business when she teamed up with a few other local Santa Cruz women to open Paradise Surf Shop, which broke barriers as one of the first women-centric surf shops in the world. 

Now with Blue Zone Waters, she’s gone all in on ionized water, and wants not only to educate the public on it’s virtues, but to provide them with the tools and resources to bring it into their lives. Vibes recently sat down with Nathe to get the lowdown on her crusade for quality drinking water. Drink up!

VIBES- What led you to get into the water slanging business? Had you always been a proponent of ionized water? 

NATHE– I was introduced to ionized water about 13 years ago when one of my dear friends and owner of Village Yoga purchased a water ionizer for their yoga studio. It wasn’t until 2018, when I got my own system, that I fully started to understand the benefits and long-term effects of drinking ionized water. Since that time I have been working and partnership with the world’s leading water ionization company, Enagic, and sharing this water with people around the world.

VIBES- What steps did you have to take to open Blue Zone? What were the biggest hurdles to getting your business off the ground?

NATHE- The last time I opened a brick and mortar business was back in 1997 when a few local Santa Cruz women and I teamed up to open Paradise surf shop. Opening a brick and mortar business is no small feat & take a big leap of faith.

This time around, I knew I needed to get my ducks in a row beforehand to truly make this venture a success. I studied other successful Free Water Store business models, created a detailed business plan, worked with the SBDC, and felt completely confident that with the support of our community, this project would be successful.

I had a very clear vision for Blue Zone Waters:  how I wanted the store to look and feel, and the experience I wanted my customers to have inside the store. The biggest hurdle I faced was getting other people on board & join me in my vision for a “Free water Store”. It’s a unique business model and I get that people have a LOT of curiosity about it!

I am a big believer in manifestation and I put daily intention into finding the right location. Our location in pleasure point at the El Rancho shopping center couldn’t be a more perfect spot to welcome the local community each day!

VIBES- How long have you been working in this space?

NATHE- I had been working with the same water ionization company since 2018, working as a full-time entrepreneur in sales for that company, using social media and websites to support my business. After 5+ years of building my business in the online space, I felt it was high time to open a brick and mortar in order to help share this water and its benefits with the people of my community vs strangers on the Internet.

Transitioning from online based business to my own brick and mortar business last year has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling things I’ve ever done!

VIBES- What services do you provide? How has the reception been so far? 

NATHE- At Blue Zone Waters , we offer a layered experience that starts and ends with education.

We realize there is a lot of misinformation in the world around our choices for daily drinking water and we want our customers to be the most educated & empowered consumers they can be!

At our core: we are a water ionization Store. This means we sell the full product line of the world’s leading water ionization systems that are designed to install easily in any home. Our water ionization systems are built to last 25 to 40 years and provide daily on-demand ionized water for the entire family.

For our customers who would rather fill up fresh water vs install a system, Blue Zone Waters provides daily FREE ionized water refills to our customers. We sell a range of water containers that you can purchase from the store and fill for free (unlimited amounts) or you can choose to bring your own bottles as long as they align with our “outside bottle policy” and pay a one-time fee to become a part of our Free Water membership.

On any given day we fill up unlimited fresh living ionized water for 40-100 people. The store is a busy, fun, community-centered space that is always bursting with good vibes and personal connections.

We also provide a multitude of water filtration options (in addition to ionization ) with chlorine & contaminant filters for the whole home, under the kitchen sink, shower and bathtub, and even bathroom sink face wash filters!

From day one, the response from the local community has been overwhelmingly positive! We understand that we are presenting a very different business model and at first we felt a lot of resistance to the “free water” concept. But very quickly, our customers learn to simply “receive & enjoy” the free water, and they can truly start to notice a difference in the way they feel and the way their body reacts to our drinking water. Water that is actually giving back to their bodies and providing them with health benefits on a daily basis.

Our only requirement for ongoing unlimited free water access is that our customers attend a water education class once a calendar quarter to learn more about the health benefits and 100+ uses of ionized water. 


VIBES- Can you share some of the benefits that ionized water offers consumers? Are there any studies/other resources that readers can investigate to learn more?

NATHE- Ionized water, especially when produced by a high-quality certified medical grade ionization system such as ours, can provide a multitude of health benefits.

One of the primary components of ionized water, also known as ERW or electrolyzed reduced water is that it contains molecular hydrogen (H2)

Molecular hydrogen has been shown in over 1100 published medical studies to help improve over 170 illnesses and diseases.

Molecular hydrogen is a gas that is in a temporary state with massive antioxidant benefits, targeting very specific free radicals and offering a multitude of cellular health benefits, including reduction in Neurodegenerative damage, increased immune function, increased mitochondrial function (energy) Reduction in cellular damage, which can lead to a multitude of diseases and even cancers to name a few,

H2 can only last, at maximum, 48 hours. Which is why you cannot bottle and sell ionized water and another reason we offer our “living” water for free. H2 as Anti inflammatory H2 as Neuroregenerative

Our Ionized water is made alkaline through electrolysis. This mild buffer alkaline water increases the absorption rate as does the reduced molecular structure. Ionized water has been shown to be 6 to 10 times more absorbent and hydrating than “regular water”.

Electrolyzed reduced (ionized) water has been studied many times over for its health benefits for athletes in terms of improved performance and recovery. ERW for Athletic Recovery

Many well-known physicians, podcasters, and bio hackers have recently been talking about the many benefits of molecular hydrogen the multiple studies that can be found in the PubMed (Published Medical Studies) database are making waves around the health community. Our company,  based in Okinawa Japan, one of the five “Blue Zones” as studied by Dan Butner, has been producing molecular hydrogen with our home based ionization systems for 30+ years.

We have truly been the pioneer of this technology and are thrilled that it’s making its way into the public eye!

VIBES- Speaking of other resources, I know you offer classes to educate the public about ionized water, in exchange for free water. Can you tell me a little more about that? What can participants expect to learn? Why do you offer this?

NATHE- Our water education classes are one of the most unique parts of our business model! Our customers quickly learn that there is a lot more to know and understand about the water they are drinking and most are excited to come learn more at our twice monthly classes.

In addition to educating our customers about the benefits of drinking ionized, hydrogen-rich water, there’s a lot more to understand these unique water systems.

Our water ionization systems produce 5 types of water that range from drinking waters (8.5-9.5pH) to antibacterial waters that are stronger than bleach at killing bacteria, virus, fungus and more (2.5ph Strong Acidic water). We also have a skin care water (6.0ph) and a powerful emulsifying water (11.5pH) that can be used as a degreaser or to remove all pesticides, waxes, and oils from your produce.

The water class is an incredible opportunity for our customers to learn about the 100+ uses of the different waters that are available at our store. When you become a free water member, you get access to the entire array of different pH waters and will never be charged for any of your refills once you have purchased your initial bottle!

One of our primary goals at Blue Zone Waters is to help reduce the need for toxic cleaning, disinfecting and degreasing products in the home. We are also very passionate about reducing single use plastics. The education really helps people understand how powerful these different waters are to improve their health, but also reduce toxins in their home.

The water education classes are required for our long-term free water members to maintain their membership, but we find that many people come long after they have purchased their own ionization system and even bring friends and family to the classes so they can learn as well!

VIBES- What are some of the biggest challenges in running the business so far?

NATHE- Like most small business owners, I struggle to find work/life/balance. I am so passionate about my customers, our vision, and the growth of the store, I find it hard to take time away. I’m grateful for the team of employees and friend/family support I have!

VIBES- Are there any ways you’d like to expand your business? Any shout outs?

NATHE- I do have BIG plans to expand in the works! Our vision is to provide Free Water to all of Santa Cruz (East and West sides!) and then see where we are most needed beyond that.

I’m grateful for the team of employees and friend/family support I could NOT function without! My Wife Kim, My Pops, & my Team: Amie, Olivia, Aubrey, Kirra and Amy.

For more resources, articles, and links, as well as Nathe’s blog, ‘In the Zone’, check out