Pier 360 celebrates culture and athletics at the beach

Pier 360 celebrates the watersports and beach culture that make SoCal one-of-a-kind

There’s something to love for water lovers and landlubbers alike at the Santa Monica Pier’s Pier 360 Ocean Sports and Beach Festival this weekend.

The athletic types can sign up for an Elite SUP paddleboard race, a short course paddle, a long course paddle or ocean swimming events, such as 1.2-mile swim “Splash ‘N Dash,” or a 250-meter swim for juniors, which happen at various times over the course of the two-day festival.

Those who prefer to enjoy the beach on dry land can watch volleyball tournaments or skaters spin in the air after they lift off from a pop-up skate ramp. On the pier deck, music event producers Brownies and Lemonade hold down the fort spinning beats from deejays you haven’t heard of yet, but will. Polynesian dancing and the Museum of Beach Life — featuring surf and paddle memorabilia from SoCal’s surf and skate history — round out the entertainment. Plus DTLA’s Think Tank Gallery previews its upcoming summer residency on the pier with “an immersive art experience.” Expect some combination of pool noodles, weathered wood and street art.

If that’s a little too trippy for you, you can help the art collective build a sand castle or listen to tunes from B&L with a drink in hand at the beer-and-spirits garden. Pours flow from 10 a.m. to close on Saturday and Sunday. A portion of the days’ proceeds benefits Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation.

— Christina Campodonico

Pier 360 Ocean Sports and Beach Festival happens from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (June 23) and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday (June 24) at the Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. $10 to $55 to race; free to watch. To learn more or register, visit smpier360.com.