Though most of humanity may never know a utopian civilization, hundreds of UCSB students found their paradise last Friday among surf, rafts and vast amounts of beer.
The event, dubbed “Floatopia,” attracted over 300 people to the shores in front of the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive on Friday afternoon, although 1,200 confirmed their attendance via Facebook. Over a hundred participants squeezed into about 15 individual rafts, while others carried various 30-packs of beer onto the beach.
Although the event is loosely organized, with people coming and going throughout the day, Alex Wasbin, a third-year art studio and mathematics major, took the initiative to announce the event on Facebook by inviting over 2,000 students to attend.
“The best part is hanging out with Isla Vistans in the ocean,” Wasbin said. “[There is] such a sense of community knowing you can jump on anyone’s raft and hang out; have a beer for awhile.”
While several accounts of the event’s origin ranged as far back as 1982, Wasbin claimed his Floatopia was inspired by a more recent occurrence.
“I know it started with some engineering students who graduated last year,” Wasbin said, “They built a platform and brought kegs out to it. I realized something had to be done to keep this incredible event alive. I had no idea it would get so many responses this year.”
Rafts of all sizes dotted the surf, some floating out on their own while others were connected by participants’ hands and oars. Some beach-goers floated on surfboards.
Despite having just been doused by his roommate with a can of Bud Light, fourth-year sociology major Brooks Paine said the event was a perfect way to start the weekend.
“Just hanging out with friends, drinking beer in the ocean,” Paine said. “Nothing better than that.”
Chris Hansen, a fourth-year communication major and roommate of the beer-drenched Paine, said although he enjoys parties on the beach, his Floatopia experience was deep and meaningful.
“It’s about reconnecting with the history of Floatopia ,” Hansen said. “It’s about connecting with our forefathers thousands of years ago. It’s not about the beer, or the water or the girls in bikinis…Well, it is about those things, but there’s more to it.”
Wasbin said several humorous events have occurred at past Floatopias, including one tragic circumstance where a fresh keg was accidentally tipped over by a surfer, sending the barrel of booze into the depths of the Pacific. He also urged participants to take caution when drinking in the tides.
“I think Floatopia is an amazing event and is obviously still growing,” Wasbin said. “But people should also be aware how dangerous it is to get seriously tanked and be in the ocean.”