Daylight saving time is here, so that means more time for fun on the Santa Monica Pier. The pier has been around since 1909, but there are still plenty of firsts to be had on this iconic landmark. Like flying on the trapeze!!! I finally did it. And I did it on live TV. But not without some hesitation …
I’m not afraid of heights (although I don’t love flying and hate turbulence), and I definitely prefer to have my feet firmly planted on the ground. So as soon as I got up to the top of the trapeze and realized that the only way down was to jump off the platform, my teeth started chattering, my throat became dry and my entire body started to tighten in suspense. Did I mention this was all happening on live television?
The view from the top of the platform was absolutely spectacular. The sun had just come out about an hour earlier, so the sky had that gorgeous quality of light and the ocean waves were hitting the shore, and I just remember wanting to stand up there and have a picnic. But I had to jump. OMGGG! It was only when the instructor told me I had to reach for the bar with both hands that it really became terrifying. That bar is heavier than it looks and it took my full body strength to reach and grab it. I had to push my hips forward at the edge of the platform and trust that she wasn’t going to let me go. She didn’t weigh much more than I do, so I was thinking she could totally lose her grip on me and then SPLAT! (Of course, the New York Trapeze School at the Santa Monica Pier is totally profesh and OSHA certified, so they do everything with the utmost safety, but those crazy kind of thoughts were hitting me a million times a second anyway.)
So then it was time to bend my knees, make sure my toes were hanging over the platform and let go. But I couldn’t! I was petrified with fear. All I could keep saying was, “You’re not going to let me go, right?!” There was a moment when I thought for sure I wasn’t going to do it, but in my head I was like, ‘You have to, you’re on live TV!’ Not to mention that damn crazy techno music was playing in my ear from the studio and I could hear the anchors say “Jump!” and then I had a moment where I was like, ‘F** it! I’m totally harnessed, I have tons of people around me who can help if something goes wrong and there’s a big fricking net below me. This isn’t sky diving.’ Besides, I survived the Tower of Terror. I could do this.
After a couple of false starts, I bent my knees, thrust my hips forward and WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! I let go. Yes, I screamed during the first sway or two, but once I was in full swing, it was absolutely exhilarating. I had my very own Carrie Bradshaw moment and I loved it. Did I love it enough to do it again? Well, I’m not exactly sure, but I’m so happy that I did it at least once and I’m more inclined to do it again … maybe while the cameras aren’t rolling and there isn’t so much pressure. The instructors said that a lot of women do the trapeze after a breakup or major life change and it never fails to help them recover and/or move on faster than had they not done it. I believe it.
But that wasn’t my only first on the Pier that morning. I also got on the famed Pacific Wheel for the very first time. It’s the only solar-powered Ferris wheel in the world and getting on it with my camera crew was such a cool way to do it. The 360-degree views are priceless!! It’s pretty amazing that you can be on this enormous Ferris wheel (I had no idea each gondola seats up to six people) right on the pier. It’s the only one situated on a pier on the West Coast. I will definitely be doing this again and can’t wait to bring my niece!
There was one more first: The brand-new Ristorante Al Mare, which proves that there’s more to hamburgers and hot dogs on the Pier. This spacious three-story spot offers great views and made-from-scratch Italian pastas, pizza, pastries, seafood and even housemade butter. (We did a little demo on air to show how Chef Giacomo churns it every morning.) Right next door there’s also The Albright, a fantastic seafood haven, which I absolutely love.
Oh, and how could I forget? In between our segments there was a guy (who was obviously on some sort of drug) running around naked on the Pier! Yep, full frontal at 7 o’clock on the morning. Wouldn’t that be something on air? It just goes to show that even if you’ve been to this landmark hundreds of times, you never know what to expect!
Watch my moment of fun (and terror): Spring into Fun on the Pier