Paddleboarders will celebrate a past tradition at the Santa Monica Pier with the third annual Santa Monica Paddle Race and Ocean Festival Saturday, June 9.
First launched as a stand-up and prone paddleboard race event in 2010, the festival has grown each year to include new events and activities.
In addition to paddleboard races, the event will feature ocean swim events, hula dancing troupes, live music and a unique surfing and paddling history museum, organizers said.
The family-friendly, all day event is a benefit for Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay and its public marine education facility, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.
The waterman’s history museum and exhibition space, which attracted thousands of visitors last year, has more than doubled in size. The paddling and swim races are also expected to have a significant increase in participants, event organizers said.
In honor of World Oceans Day, Heal the Bay will present awards to local school children who entered their “My Perfect Ocean” art and writing contest. Heal the Bay will receive a portion of net proceeds from the event.
The centerpiece of the competition continues to be the 1.5-mile “fun paddle” and the 5.5-mile long course race. Participants will compete for awards in both age divisions and board-class categories.
The top three in each age group for the stand-up paddle and swim events will receive unique Koa Bowls. New this year will be the Pacifico Waterman Paddle Award, which will be awarded to the top male and female who place highest in three out of four events. The winners will receive a full-size wood paddle with the event logo on the paddle blade.
Other new features this year are the one-mile open ocean swim, and the aquathon, which consists of three components: a 400-meter sand run, followed by a 400-meter ocean swim and then another 400-meter sand run.
Historic exhibits at the museum will feature antique surfboards, paddleboards, lifeguard equipment and vintage automobiles tied to local beach culture. Paddleboard racing was a popular Santa Monica sport in the 1930s and 40s with two paddleboard clubs headquartered on the pier, including a women-only club.
On the pier deck, manufacturers will show off the latest in paddleboards and equipment, including demonstrations by former Olympian Jim Terrell from Quickblade Paddles. Hula dancers will also perform throughout the day.
Participants aged 21 and over will be treated to an ice cold Pacifico beer following their event. Live music and an awards ceremony will follow the completion of the races for the top finishers in each of the divisions.