The Steel Pier Classic & Surf Art Expo is a surfing competition in conjunction with a surf art show. We get together every Memorial Day Holiday Weekend, the last weekend in May for three glorious days of surfing and surf art on this major holiday that thousands of people enjoy and celebrate the start of summer in Virginia Beach, VA. Virginia Beach is the largest resort city on the east coast, and is a popular tourist destination on Memorial Day Weekend, which means the weekend generates great crowds for surfing spectators and art sales. The surf spot is affectionately known as The Jetty, and is the best surfing destination in Virginia Beach. Since 2004, the Virginia Longboard Association, an all volunteer organization, has produced the Steel Pier Classic, a professional and amateur surf contest with over 400 competitors. The name of the contest is derived from the Virginia Beach Steel Pier, which was located at the Va. Beach Oceanfront at First Street, circa the 1960’s. Historical references indicate that the roots of East Coast surfing were born at our very own Steel Pier. This was the surfing hot spot of the early 1960’s, where many learned to surf here, watching the “cool guys” who were the best surfers at the time. The Steel Pier was torn down in the 1970’s due to damage from the 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm. The pier eventually was beyond repair. To this day it is still the gathering spot for surfers at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. For this reason the Virginia Longboard Federation pays homage to this beloved surf spot with the annual surfing contest. It is the largest longboard surfing event on the East Coast. However, it is not only longboarding; it is comprised of a variety of events—nose riding, retro surfboarding, tandem, shortboarding, stand up paddleboard (SUP), and Pro/Am surfing divisions. All of the events encompass the soul of surfing and the heart of the Virginia Beach surfing community. It allows different generations of surfers to come together.
Jodie Woodward, a longtime local resident of Virginia Beach, event organizer, and sponsorship professional founded the VB Surf Art Expo. She’s was recruited as a sponsorship sales professional for the Steel Pier Classic in 2006. As time went by, she got involved more in the role of a marketing consultant to offer her expertise to help grow the event. In 2008, Jodie came up with the idea of the VB Surf Art Expo, thinking it would be a nice compliment the surfing competition. This endeavor successfully another dimension the event. To this day, over 70 professional artists exhibit on the boardwalk in addition to the surfing competition. Our purpose is to offer a professional surf art show that compliments the surfing contest – unlike any other art show in the region with the attraction of the surfing culture – a love of Mother Ocean. It’s a beautiful show in a relaxed setting that embraces the beach lifestyle.We have returning artists every year who are local favorites, and regional artists from Florida to Maine in addition to Ohio and Pennsylvania. The artwork is all about the ocean, water life, sea life, nautical, and tropical themes from all mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry, glass, fiber, mixed media, and wood. For more information on how to apply as an artist, click here.
The Steel Pier Classic & Surf Art Expo has evolved over the years as a top surfing event and unique surf art show with great sales for artists who return year after year. Our purpose is to promote the art of surfing through the sport and also as an art form. The culture of surfing and the wonder of the ocean have stimulated surfers and surf artists for many years to be their best at what they do. The Steel Pier Classic & Surf Art Expo embraces the art of surfing in every form, whether it’s observing the sport of surfing, or featuring surf artists along the Va. Beach Boardwalk.
The Steel Pier Classic & Surf Art Expo is the place to be Memorial Day Weekend in Va. Beach! Come join us for some great surf art and wave riding bliss!