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Santa Monica Pier and Paddleboard History


Traditional paddleboard racing in all its glory in Southern California, with groms lined up and vying for the top finish.


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Santa Monica Pier Paddle Event



Saturday, Jun 11 2011



Santa Monica Pier, CA



Kick off summer with the Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race, bringing back a decades-old tradition, including dory and outrigger competitions and a paddle gear exhibition. Saturday, June 11, 2011 at the world famous Santa Monica Pier.



Read more about it on the event's site.

SANTA MONICA, California – Presented by Honolua Surf Co., the Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race and Ocean Festival is creating a two thousand square foot “museum” offering a large exhibition of historic surfboards, paddleboards, lifeguard equipment and skateboards.

“Santa Monica is paddleboarding’s birthplace,” said Craig Lockwood, Co-Chair of the Oral History Committee of the Surfing Heritage Foundation. “It was here, in the late 1920s, that Tom Blake ... first came up with a surfboard designed on an airplane wing’s spar-construction principles.” That design effectively cut in half the weight of a surfboard. “Blake’s designs paddled and surfed better than anything available,” Lockwood added.  

And it was on the Santa Monica Pier itself, that another legendary waterman, Preston “Pete” Peterson refined Blake’s design in a workshop on the west end of the pier. "This is a great chance to celebrate these early watermen and to honor their legacy," said Pat Fraley, Brand Director for Honolua Surf Co.,which is presenting the event. The popularity of the sport grew in Santa Monica and by the 1940's two paddleboard clubs had offices and board storage on the Santa Monica Pier itself - the Santa Monica Paddleboard Club and the Manoa Paddleboard Club.

“If it isn’t amazing enough that the pier hosted a full-on clubhouse for a paddleboard club, it actually housed two and one of them, Manoa was actually, an all-women club – in the 1940s,” said event organizer Joel Brand. Both clubs held regular races in front of large crowds watching from the wooden pier deck. Even the local newspaper regularly printed paddleboard race results.

Some of the sport’s living history will turn out for this year’s festival and races, including Esther Lorenz Maire, who won women’s division at the 1947 Pacific Coast paddleboard championships at the Santa Monica Pier. Additionally, several surfing legends will also attend including Mickey Munoz, Zephyr’s Jeff Ho, featured in the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, and Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman, the original “Gidget.” A number of authors of surfing histories will be on hand to sign books.

The Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race and Ocean Festival is a benefit for Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay and its public marine education facility, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Heal the Bay will receive a portion of net proceeds from the event. As a way of celebrating paddleboarding’s pioneers, the event will be honoring any who attend and is offering free pre-registration to any paddlers who are 65 and over. Those interested are asked to email [email protected] to make arrangements.


Helpful and Related Links to the Santa Monica Pier Paddle Event:

Events' website: www.pierpaddle.com

Joel Brand: befriend the event organizer

Supconnect event's page: see who else is attending


Are you planning to attend? What was your experience from last year?


Last modified onThursday, 26 May 2011 22:43

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