Bring on the paddle-battles. On Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, more than 350 athletes will storm the sands of the Santa Monica Pier for the Pier 360 Ocean Sports & Beach Festival. This two-day festival, going from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, will offer a complete 360° of California beach culture and a $15,000 prize pool to its elite roster of paddle-boarders, swimmers and ocean sports athletes. In addition to a full slate of marquee ocean races and beachside tournaments, a spin around the festival grounds presents art, music, surf history and activities for all ages. Presented by CLIF and in keeping with the Santa Monica Pier Corporation’s (SMPC) commitment to producing the best and most distinctive “cannot believe they are free events,” there is no cost to attend.
The two-day festival begins with a 7 a.m. Hawaiian blessing on the sand before diving into the first of 13 competitions. Thousands of spectators will line the sand and the deck as lifeguards compete in dory races and elite stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) racers compete in a challenging course around the Pier. If that is not enough, spectators can catch skaters on the pop-up skate ramp or help construct a sand sculpture with the art collective.
On the Pier deck, live music will take center stage, anchored by music festival mainstay Brownies and Lemonade. Pier 360-goers can listen to the music with drinks in hand at the Beer and Spirits Garden, which will be pouring beer and cocktails from 10 a.m. to sunset on both days. For an educational surf safari, cruise the Museum of Beach Life and its collection of antique surfboards, paddleboards and lifeguard equipment celebrating the history of beach life at the Pier that dates back to the 1940s.
The Pier 360 event will showcase several award-winning athletes. San Clemente native and surfing champion Candice Appleby will be there alongside fellow surfers like Jade Howson, the 2018 winner of the Santa Cruz’s Paddlefest who hails from Laguna Beach. In addition to them, first overall Pier Paddle winner Slater Trout of Redondo Beach, 4-time Santa Monica Pier Paddle Champion Carter Graves of Coronado Beach, two-time overall winner of Pier 360 Shae Foudy of Dana Point and ISA World SUP gold medalist Jack Bark of Palos Verdes will also be in attendance.
The event will be taking place on both surf and turf, and a full event schedule will be available online at: www.SMPier360.com. On the pier deck, people will have live entertainment and dining at their disposal. Music from Brownies & Lemonade as well as a Polynesian Band and Hula Dancing will be located on the deck. The Beer & Spirits Garden will be serving beverages and The Albright and Seaside on the Pier will have food available to festival-goers. Think Tank Gallery Art Installations and skate ramps presented by Red Bull will also be open on the pier.
On the sand, spectators can watch a Beach Volleyball AAU & 4-Man competition, they can take part in playing Beach Volleyball Doubles or participate in various Kids Activities.
In the water, the paddle battles will commence. The aquatic competitions offered will be the Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Surf Competition, a Paddle Cross Race, a Dory Sprint and 3-Lap Dory, a one Mile Ocean Swim, a Long Course Paddle Race, a Splash n’ Dash and a Junior SUP Race.
What began in 2010 as the single-day Paddleboard Race at the Santa Monica Pier has evolved into one of California’s largest ocean festivals, drawing thousands of spectators each year. With Pier 360, the SMPC is doubling down on summer’s kickoff celebration by curating a weekend’s worth of events and adding races, installations and historic activations.
“Pier 360 combines all of the beautiful things about beach life and rolls it into one epic happening,” SMPC Executive Director Negin Singhs said.
The festival benefits The Surfrider Foundation and The Bay Foundation, two non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving coastal access, protecting the environment and improving the health of the ocean environment. The event is presented by CLIF, The Albright, Seaside on the Pier, Boxed Water, Kona Brewing Co., Nekter Juice Bar, Pro SUP Shop, Red Bull, White Claw, ZICO Coconut Water, Aperol, Patron and Mezu.