January 23, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

A Taste of Polynesia at The Santa Monica Pier

Adjacent to the Paddleboard Races Saturday was the annual Ocean Festival – a full day of activities with swim races, a volleyball tournament and more.

Kicking off the day’s events was a Hawaiian blessing at 7:45 a.m. In true Polynesian theme the morning included Hawaiian musical performers and hula dancers. A number of swimming events hit the water followed by paddleboard and SUP (stand up paddleboard) races. Beach races for kids, non-competitive paddleboarding for fun, a cliff paddle race were all part of the day.

Participants in the races ranged from skilled competitors to complete newcomers. For Eric Chu, who was participating in one of the paddle board races, this was his first race of any kind. Previously, he had only been paddle boarding about ten times.

“It was great. A lot of fun,” said Chu. “It was a good workout and a great vibe. I couldn’t ask for more.”

A volleyball tournament held on the courts adjacent to the pier allowed competitors to accumulate points for the national AAU volleyball tournament, and its winners a chance to qualify for the Junior Olympics.

“We have one of the biggest swim fields we’ve ever had today, and a great showing of elite athletes,” said Brennan Lindner, the festival’s Event Director.

At the end of the day, the top three male and top three female competitors were each awarded a hand-carved Koa bowl trophy, and each competitor to enter into a competition was given their own commemorative t-shirt.

For more information about the Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival, visit pierpaddle.com.

The pier was full of event participant.
Photos by Sam Skopp
Hula dancers performing onstage.
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