The Santa Monica Pier: A Photographic Journey Through Time

Santa Monica Pier, sup examiner, paddleboard and ocean festival
Photo: Jennifer Gregory

The Santa Monica Pier

The original Santa Monica Pier opened on September 9, 1909 and was heralded as the first concrete pier on the West Coast of the United States. The pier was originally conceived to fulfill the municipal function of discharging treated sewage into the ocean – a process which was discontinued in the 1920s. According to historical records, thousands of visitors attended the Santa Monica Pier’s opening ceremony, which included a number of sporting events and a visit by U.S. Navy cruiser, the USS Albany.

Although they were considered to be a state of the art building method at the time it of construction, the concrete pylons began to deteriorate from rust within a decade and were subsequently replaced creosote-treated wooden pylons.

The section of the pier upon which the Pacific Park is strictly speaking a second pier and was added in 1916 with the expressed purpose of being used as a pleasure pier with amusement park rides and leisure activities.

The first “official” Santa Monica Paddleboard race was held 1934 next to the pier in what was then the Santa Monica Yacht Harbor. Competitive paddleboard racing at the pier continued for several years in various forms, but its popularity was gradually overtaken in the 1950s by surfing. The inception of modern stand up paddling in the past decade breathed new life into the Santa Monica Pier’s rich water sports heritage and the first Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival of the modern era was held on June 12, 2010.

In 2015, a new title sponsor brought additional prominence to the pier with the inaugural Tommy Bahama Paddleboard & Ocean Festival at the Santa Monica Pier. Read 2015 Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival for a recap of this year’s great event.

High resolution images from the 2015 Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival at the Santa Monica Pier are available for purchase. Please visit Jennifer Gregory Photography for purchase information and to view the complete gallery.


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