(Santa Monica, Calif.) – For the first time in the event's history, the Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival presented by Tommy Bahama will be offering nearly $20,000 in cash awards, merchandise prizes and gifts to competitors, organizers announced today.

“The Santa Monica Pier Paddle has been a favorite event since its beginning four years ago," said Jim Terrell, founder and owner of Quickblade Paddles, which has been a supporting sponsor of the event since its inception four years ago. "The addition of a such a substantial prize purse this year makes it even more attractive to the sport’s top competitors who will be traveling to compete from as far away as Hawaii and Mexico. This is definitely one of the premiere SUP events in the country."

Many of the fast-growing sport's top competitors will battle for the $2,400 in cash and $1,800 in gift certificates up for grabs in the Tommy Bahama Team Challenge SUP Relay Cup. Elite paddlers will compete in the nationally sanctioned 5.5 mile SUP & paddleboard race for another $1,700 in cash and prizes. Winners in the 5.5 mile race also receive points counting towards the WPA National Championships.

The event is supported by entry fees and commercial sponsors. This is the first year that beach lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama has been the presenting sponsor of the Pier Paddle.

"Standup paddling is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. With its history deeply rooted in Hawaii, Southern California and the island lifestyle, this sport is a great fit for our brand," said Rob Goldberg, SVP of Marketing for Tommy Bahama. "That, combined with the ideal location at the Santa Monica Pier and the broader appeal of this event for not just the competitors but also for families, kids and spectators, makes it a perfect event for us."

Photo: ProSUPShop.com

Photo: ProSUPShop.com

The all-day, family friendly event is a celebration of surf, paddleboard and lifeguard history, Saturday June 8, 2013.
In addition to drawing elite SUP and paddleboard racers, the event features ocean swims, lifeguard dory competitions, youth activities and an all day festival on the pier. Hula dance groups will perform all day and spectators can enjoy a pop surf history museum or grab a drink in the rum and beer garden.

The Pier paddle event is a benefit for Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay and its public marine education facility, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium that is housed underneath the historic Pier Carousel. Heal the Bay will receive a portion of net proceeds from the event.

Historic exhibits will feature antique surfboards, paddleboards, lifeguard equipment and vintage automobiles tied to local beach culture. Paddleboard racing was a popular Santa Monica sport in the 1940s with two paddleboard clubs headquartered on the pier.

For more info, visit: PierPaddle.com