Last month I had the opportunity to get involved in one of the greatest beach festivals in Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race and Ocean Festival!  I am such a big fan of stand up paddle that I decided to register for their annual paddle race, which took place June 11th.

One of the ancient forms of surfing, stand-up paddling is a great way to work out your core, and is gaining widespread popularity. You typically do not hear of many stand-up paddle races, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to participate. It seemed like everyone at the festival came together for their shared love of this water sport, which made it all the more enjoyable. There were paddle board and dory boat races, live music, Heal the Bay Beach Clean Up, a Paddle Board Museum with unique set of antique surf and paddle boards and vintage surf photos, all in the name of fun. On top of everything, the event contributed to a great cause. A portion of the proceeds went to Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization that strives to keep the Santa Monica Bay clean.

Pier Paddle Race Video 6/2011

(The video link above is of the racers entering the Santa Monica ocean at the start of the race. I am the one with the Yellow/Blue striped SUP board.)

(I am anxiously waiting for the race to start!)

This stand-up paddle race was the first competition I have ever participated in. I raced in the two mile paddle and was pleasantly surprised when I came in 4th place in the “40 years old and up” division! I have been paddling for fun for only two years so you can imagine how great it felt to get out there and challenge myself. If you love to stand-up paddle, I highly recommend getting involved next year and join me! The most important thing to remember though, is to wear a wet suit. Even with summer finally here, the water is chillier than it looks (58 degrees)!