Santa Barbara Summer Sports Events

Summer in Santa Barbara is nothing short of spectacular. Sports are everywhere. Ranging from polo to running to ocean swimming, from beach volleyball to baseball to biking, there’s more than likely something for every sports fan or athlete to enjoy.

Here’s a collection of the top athletic events going on this summer in town.

Nite Moves – May through August

Nite Moves Santa BarbaraA weekly event that offers a low-key 5k run and 1k ocean swim that is followed up by food, drink, and music at beautiful Leadbetter Beach Park. A Santa Barbara mainstay for over 25 years, Nite Moves attracts hundreds of people every Wednesday night. The ocean swim starts at 6:15 pm and the 5k run at 6:30 pm. The swim takes place in Leadbetter Cove and the run starts in Shoreline Park and runs along Shoreline Drive. Festivities continue until just past sunset.

CBVA Men’s & Women’s Open – 4th of July Weekend

CBVA VolleyballPro Beach Volleyball comes to town on 4th of July weekend. The Men’s tournament is on Saturday, July 2, and the Women’s tournament is held the next day on Sunday, July 3. The venue is set up in front of the Cabrillo Bath House on East Beach. The tournaments are sanctioned by the California Beach Volleyball Association and offer $1,000 purse to the champions. Matches are held throughout the day culminating in the championship that usually goes down late in the afternoon or early evening depending on the number of teams competing. Find more info at

Polo – High Goal Season in July and August

Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet ClubThe Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, located along the 101 freeway in Carpinteria, hosts some of the top polo players in the world during the summer months. The high-goal season concentrates on July and August, culminating with the Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open championship match on Sunday, August 28. Matches are Fridays and Sundays, although Sunday is the day when titles are decided, champagne is flowing, and spectators are dressed the part.

Santa Barbara Foresters Baseball – June 4 to July 31

Santa Barbara Foresters baseballOur local semi-pro baseball team brings high-level summer-league baseball to UCSB’s Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Foresters attract some of the top college baseball players in the country to play during the summer months and have a long list of former players who have gone on to reach the Major League level. The laid-back atmosphere at the stadium during the summer is family friendly and cherished by local baseball fans. The two-month schedule of games makes it easy to find a comfortable night to cheer on the ‘Sters.

Santa Barbara Triathlon – August 26-28

SB TriathlonSanta Barbara’s largest and longest-running triathlon event includes two days of races. The long course – a 1-mile swim, 34-mile-bike, 10-mile run – is held on Saturday followed by the short-course version on Sunday. These races feature an ocean-swimming leg and an open-street bike course. The bike route takes riders all the way out to Gobernador Canyon in Carpinteria and back. The Santa Barbara Triathlon also has options for an aquabike race (swim, bike) and a duathlon (run, bike). Other popular local triathlons during the summer are the Goleta Beach Triathlon in late July and the Carpinteria Triathlon in September.

Olympics – August 5 to August 21

Olympics Gold MedalWhile not technically a local sporting event, the Rio Olympic Games will have several athletes with Santa Barbara connections to cheer for. It starts with the USA Women’s Water Polo Team, which has three players from Santa Barbara and Goleta. Kiley Neushul, Sami Hill and Kami Craig were all local high school stars before reaching the game’s top levels. Craig already won a gold medal in 2012 while Hill and Neushul will be making their first Olympics appearance. Santa Barbara Track Club’s Barbara Nwaba is a top contender to qualify for Team USA in the heptathlon. Then of course there is Karch Kiraly, not a player but the head coach of the indoor Women’s Volleyball Team. Kiraly and the women’s team are seeking the U.S.’s first gold medal for that sport. They have won the silver at the past two Olympics.

Pier to Peak Half-Marathon – Sunday, September 4

Pier to PeakAs if running 13.1 miles is hard enough, “The World’s Toughest Half-Marathon” gets its nickname because of the 4,000 feet of elevation gain that comes with racing from sea level to La Cumbre Peak high above Santa Barbara. This beast of a running event occurs every Labor Day Weekend. It begins at the dolphin statue at the base of Stearns Wharf and State Street, quickly making its way past the Santa Barbara Mission and into the foothills. The runners soon hit the worst part of the climb on Gibraltar Road before eventually reaching East Camino Cielo and the finish line.

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