THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
You see a lot of people working out here, but also competing, practicing stunts, and of course showing off. It’s Santa Monica Traveling Rings and today is the weekend, which means – everyone is here! Including the many tourists and the most incredible athletes with a great love for heights, dangerous flips and lots of eyes on their obscenely gorgeous bodies.
Crowds are everywhere, sidewalks are crowded, yet the vast beach lands allow for enough space not only to move freely but apparently also to swing around on a row of 10 aluminum rings suspended by chains, each of which is linked to a steel beam. These rings have been named – Santa Monica Traveling Rings!
Traveling Rings have existed since at least the 1860s, but the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica popularized them in the 1970s and since then they have become an LA landmark. One can “travel” from one ring to the next by a combination of arm pulls and leg swings. It looks like a dance and most are really good. Especially the women. It’s absolutely magical to watch women do the most beautiful, unexpectedly powerful tricks and moves, that shutter stereotypes and capture you by the core.
Muscle Beach was the original birthplace of the physical fitness boom in the US during the 20th century, with predominantly gymnastics activities on the south side of the Santa Monica Pier. The 1940 opening of the first of an eventual nationwide chain of weightlifting gyms by famed pioneer gym chain operator, Vic Tanny, only two city blocks from Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, is commonly considered a key contributor to the increasing attraction of bodybuilders and strength lifters to Muscle Beach from across the nation.(source)
The Rings have grown into a cultural meeting point for gymnasts from all over LA as well as the world, where they meet to exchange skills and build networks. There’s even a Burning Man camp called Swing City. I met some of the best people I know in that camp last year.
It’s a special crowd and they make this place feel like one of the happiest places on Earth. A highly recommended experience in LA.
But for now, enjoy it through my experience.
Top- H&M Conscious Collection, Pants – Ralph Lauren, Blue Label,
Suspenders- vintage, Shoes- Nike, Hat Goorin Brothers
Sunnies- Coach, Necklace- hand made in Nepal, Rings- Balinese street vendors