See elite Stand Up Paddle Boarders race around the Santa Monica Pier at the long-running Santa Monica Paddle Board Race.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding is one of the many ocean sports with history in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Paddle Board Race has been around the Pier for over 10 years. The event has gone by many names (Santa Monica Pier Paddle, Clif Santa Monica Pier 360, Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Race at the Santa Monica Pier) and continues to be a summertime mainstay of the Pier’s annual programming to celebrate the vibrant beach culture of Southern California.
The Stand Up Paddle Board Race in Santa Monica offers a unique opportunity for racers to paddle the 5.5 miles around the length of the 100 year old wooden pier. Spectators can cheer for the athletes from the main festival area on the Pier deck, or from any point on the Pier including the far western viewing platform out over the Pacific.
Around the Paddle Board Race is a weekend-long ocean sports festival featuring music, live entertainment, and other ocean sports and athletic opportunities including swimming, volleyball, and skateboarding. Over the years, beach music legends such as Dick Dale have played the festival stage on the deck of the Santa Monica Pier. The event is family friendly and offers opportunities for anyone to sign up and participate in the competitions and activities. Pier 360, as it is called today, celebrates all aspects of beach culture including Polynesian dancers, Life Guard competitions, a skate park, 4-on-4 volleyball, and cars on display including Woody’s, the quintessential surfers’ car. The event takes place every June and programming runs all day Saturday and Sunday with races beginning at 8 AM. Visit www.smpier360.com for the most updated race information.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding, often just called “SUP”, is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. The sport has been identified as the outdoor sporting activity with the most first-time participants in the United States. SUP can be enjoyed in the ocean or on flat water like lakes, rivers and canals. Paddle boards have been used for fitness, sightseeing, fishing, and even yoga.
A related, traditional sport, paddleboarding, is done kneeling on a board and paddling with the hands, similar to a butterfly swimming stroke. The term “kooks” is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to stand up paddle surfing.
Pier 360 and the Ocean Sports festival is produced by the Santa Monica Pier Corporation, a nonprofit organization charter by the Santa Monica City Council to enhance visitors experience at the Santa Monica Pier. In addition to Pier 360, The Santa Monica Pier Corporation produces much-loved events on the Santa Monica Pier including Ocean Front Cinema, ROGA and Twilight on the Pier.