Surf, sand, and sun will take center stage at a free beach extravaganza called Pier 360 debuting June 23 and 24 at the Santa Monica Pier. The two-day event will include 13 ocean sports competitions, a pop-up skate ramp, sand sculptures, a beer garden and live music.
“There’s so much for people to do that if you showed up at 8 a.m. and stayed 7 p.m., you would still have more stuff to do,” said the Santa Monica Pier Corporation’s Executive Director Negin Singh. This will be Singh’s first major event since landing her new role earlier this year.
The summer kick-off event is part of a newly reimagined programming schedule that pushes the annual Twilight Concert Series into the fall. TCS will begin September 5 and feature a new band every Wednesday night for five weeks. The final TCS concert will be on Sunday, October 7th, the same day as COAST, Santa Monica’s relatively new open streets festival.
Singh says locals should think of Pier 360 and TCS as bookends to the summer season. The Pier Corporation hired Singh to reimagine a concert series that had overwhelmed it’s public safety budget, polluted the beach and snarled traffic.
“I was brought on because we were looking at moving TCS to the fall and our board felt it was really important to create something to kick off summer and give families an opportunity to visit The Pier with their kids and their friends, something that embodies everything The Pier is supposed to be about,” Singh said.
When she was hired, the young artist was best known for creating Brokechella (now Broke LA), a grassroots music festival featuring emerging artists. Singh says an ocean sports event like Pier 360 felt like a natural fit for The Pier.
“We really do want it to feel like, if you’re standing in the middle of The Pier, in every direction there’s an event that represents beach life and pier life,” Singh said.
After months of brainstorming with city leaders, Singh decided to expand the annual Pier Paddle, a beloved event that’s drawn about 5,000 spectators a year since it launched in 2010. The event has local roots – the Santa Monica Pier hosted some of the first paddleboard races in the world in the 1930’s. Pier 360 will honor the sport’s Hawaiian origins with a blessing on the sand and Polynesian dancers at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 23.
Over the weekend, more than 500 athletes will compete for cash prizes and points toward national competitions. Athletes can register now for paddleboard races, a 1.2-mile ocean swim, skate competitions, volleyball, lifeguard drills and more.
The event will also include a beer and rum garden, seafood from The Albright and live performances by Aloha Spirit and Brownies and Lemonade.
Singh is working with a game designer to develop a scavenger hunt on The Pier for families to explore the local landmark
“I always like tricking people into learning while having a good time,” Singh said.
The event will also feature The Museum of Beach Life, an attraction featuring surf and paddle memorabilia curated by local collectors Rich Wilken, Jeff Ho, Cary Weiss and Mike Young.
The event is free. Those interested in attending can learn more by visiting santamonicapier.org/pier360