I attended my first Instameet in San Francisco four years ago when Instagram was a fun, free app with a fraction of the users it has today. I met about a handful of strangers from the Internet, we walked the streets of SF taking photos of each other and just talking about photography and life. I immediately saw how Instameets can bring people with different backgrounds together through the common ground of Instagram.
About a year ago, I hosted my first Instameet in Manhattan Beach: #foggypierpressure. I was overwhelmed by the turnout that came from me just mentioning on my feed, “Hey I’ll be at the Manhattan Beach Pier for sunset at 5 pm on Saturday – come down say hi and shoot the sunset with me, you never know you just might make a friend.”
So I had another one in December and decided to use the gathering to promote and help some good causes. With #givingpierpressure, Instagrammers donated Christmas toys for the Special Needs Network in Los Angeles. Since then, I have hosted three other Instameets which included beach cleanups, neighborhood trash cleanup, an awareness of Earth Hour and a neighborhood cleanup of Abbot Kinney co-hosted with TOMS. (#powerfulpierpressure, #dogtowninstameet, #tomsinstameet)
On July 3rd, I reached out to local resident and professional stand-up paddler Slater Trout to co-host an Instameet at the Manhattan Beach Pier with me on July 12th. Two days later, long distance swimmer Steven Robles was bitten by a Great White Shark just a few hundred yards from the pier – a place where both Slater and I paddle regularly. As I saw the news of the incident get played out in the news across the world, it bummed me out to see the pier marred by this unfortunate event. I went for a paddle the morning after the incident and shot this video shifting our Pier Pressure Instameet to be more about bringing back the good vibes to the ocean and the pier. Like my Instameets in the past, I felt this would be a good opportunity to bring awareness and help fundraise for the the pier’s non-profit Roundhouse Aquarium.
On July 12th, the turnout for #goodvibespierpressure was amazing! We had over 150 Instagrammers show up and the sunset didn’t disappoint. We had about five top water photographers swimming around doing their thing. I also contacted the band SeaBlood, a local indie-folk band to play an acoustic set on the pier at sunset. They accepted cash donations for the aquarium in their guitar case. Attendees got to listen to some great music while enjoying one of the best sunsets of the summer. So we raised money for the Roundhouse Aquarium on the Pier, met some new “internet strangers” who are now friends and brought back some good vibes to the Manhattan Beach Pier. Mission accomplished.
See below for beautiful images from the #goodvibespierpressure Instameet shot by attendees.