2019 Semana Nautica carries on Santa Barbara’s summer sports tradition

An official 2019 Semana Nautica festival poster

SANTA BARBARA, CA —The 2019 edition of Santa Barbara’s longest-running sporting festival is almost upon us, as numerous local events will unfold over the next two weeks as part of the 82nd Semana Nautica Summer Sports Festival

Several of Santa Barbara’s classic sporting events can be found on the Semana Nautica calendar, including the annual 4th of July 15K at Elings Park, the Santa Barbara Tennis Open at the Municipal Courts, and the Semana Nautica ocean-swimming races held along the waterfront.  There will also be an Ocean Water Polo exhibition at Stearns Wharf, the Kardboard Kayak Race at West Beach, and professional beach volleyball tournaments at East Beach. 

A complete list of festival events, dates and registration information can be found HERE. All events are free for spectators and fans. For competitors, the festival has something for everyone: elite athletes, youth & masters levels, weekend warriors, and families. 

Festival participants will be eligible for several awards, including the Men’s and Women’s Ocean Swimmer of the Year, Athlete of the Year, and the Jeff Farrell Award.

The Semana Nautica Association would like to thank its incredible lineup of local sponsors: Mullen & Henzell L.L.P., American Riviera BankRadius Group (Gene Deering), and the Santa Barbara Independent. These sponsors help support the many great local organizations involved with putting on events:  Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation DepartmentSanta Barbara Athletic AssociationSanta Barbara Tennis PatronsSanta Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation, Santa Barbara Swim Club, and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Origin of Semana Nautica

For more than three-quarters of a century, Santa Barbara has celebrated the Semana Nautica Festival surrounding the 4th of July holiday. The festival originated in 1933 when the local populace challenged the crew of five U.S. Navy battleships, moored offshore, to a series of contests along the beach. Dubbed Fleet Week, the resulting enthusiasm inspired the City Council to charter the event on a permanent basis the following year and change the name to Semana Nautica in honor of the town’s Spanish heritage. Over the years, the sports festival has incorporated hundreds of various events, from the extremely physically challenging to those that welcome participants of all ages and abilities.