The juxtaposition was remarkable.
As Huntington Beach city officials and children jetted around an outdoor ice skating rink at Pier Plaza on Wednesday morning, beach volleyball players competed in the area just below them, to the west.
A bit further in the distance, surfers caught waves in the Pacific Ocean.
“Seriously, where else can you ice skate and check the surf at the same time?” Mayor Kim Carr said. “This is quintessential Huntington Beach. I really think it gets back to what we’ve been talking about all year, which is having that ‘aloha’ spirit and really making Huntington Beach a family-friendly destination.”
Snow and ice are nowhere close to Surf City in most winters. But this year, the city has brought the ice to the beach.
Surf City Winter Wonderland, an outdoor ice skating rink, opens for business to the public at Pier Plaza on Friday. A soft opening was held on Wednesday.
Those looking to work off some of those holiday calories, look no further.
Carr managed to avoid any spills as she went around the ice, alongside Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen and City Councilwoman Natalie Moser. Many of the officials brought their kids to join in the fun.
There were plastic items in the shape of reindeer and seals on the ice as well, to sit on or to use for guidance.
“I’ve been using the seals a lot, because I can’t really skate,” Moser’s sixth-grade daughter Riley said with a smile. “I’m learning as I go.”
Tickets are available online at scww.simpletix.com, or at the rink for $15 per person as space is available. Skates are available for rental.
The rink’s Monday through Thursday hours are from 2 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 19, with Friday and Saturday hours from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parking in the Main Promenade parking structure is free for the first 90 minutes.
The City Council approved a three-year contract with Ice-America to operate the venue, Huntington Beach director of community and library services Chris Slama said. The total cost is about $500,000, including about $150,000 for the first year.
This is the first time the city has put an ice skating rink at Pier Plaza, though one is also open for business nearby at Paséa Hotel, as it has been in the past.
Slama brought his wife, 12-year-old son Casey and 6-year-old daughter Kaitlyn to join in the fun Wednesday.
“This year, after what we’ve been through with the pandemic, we talked with our city council and leadership about what we could really do to bring our community out this holiday season,” he said. “We found some other cities that had done something similar. Of course, we thought, ‘Wow, what a great opportunity with the beach as a backdrop.’”
Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Delgleize, who will be sworn in for her second stint as mayor at the next City Council meeting on Dec. 7, sat out the ice skating session. But she smiled as she watched the joy unfold. Growing up back East, she said it wasn’t so uncommon for her to see.
“It’s just something that normally we don’t have downtown,” Delgleize said. “Our kids can do it with their folks or skate with their friends … I’m hoping that parents or families will say, ‘Hey, let’s go downtown.’ They’ve got the ice skating rink, maybe they can get a bite to eat. It’s a fun way to get people to come down to the community.”