Lifeguarding is an important job, and it is estimated that those in it save about 100,000 people from drowning each year.
Some of the state’s best will show off their skills at Huntington State Beach next weekend.
The CSLSA California Surf Lifesaving Championship returns to Surf City for the second year in a row.
And hundreds of lifeguards competing in the competition are ready for the challenge.
“This is a big part of what we do. We are healthy and we take pride in competing at a higher level for surf lifesaving.”
This two-day event takes place Friday and Saturday between Lifeguard Towers 13 and 14 near the entrance to Beach Boulevard. Listeners are welcome to come and watch.
Events include running, surf swimming, paddle boarding, surf ski paddling individual and relay races, and surf rowing for both men and women. There will also be a unique “Beach Flags” competition that will test your reflexes and sprinting ability on the sand.
California State Parks, along with Huntington State Beach Junior Lifeguard Assun, host state championships. This event is a stepping stone to the American Lifesaving Association. The National Championship will be held August 10-13 at Hermosa Beach Pier.
As many as 700 junior lifeguards will be in attendance on Friday, and about 250 adult lifeguards in the Open and Masters divisions on Saturday, Egan said. That number is up significantly from last year’s competition, which was more restricted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Junior competition age groups include Cs (9-11), Bs (12-13), As (14-15) and U-19 divisions.
Like many junior lifeguard groups on the coast, an intra-team competition was held Friday at Huntington State Beach to select participants for various events, Egan said.
Huntington State Beach lifeguard Montana White, 19, can’t wait to compete. Currently a college student at Azusa Pacific University, Carson’s resident is in her second year as a lifeguard.
She has a busy life, working in the junior lifeguard program and also handling lifeguard shifts on weekends.
“I heard a lot of people had really good experiences doing it, so I thought I’d better sign up,” White said, adding that he did buoy swimming every day last summer. I really like to swim in. When COVID happened there were no pools open and I was always swimming, the ocean was where I wanted to go.
“The best part about working here is the people. It’s not just about staying fit yourself, but also staying fit with people who push you to get better and work harder.” We are not competing with each other, we are competing with ourselves and doing our best there.”
White said he’s looking forward to not only the general swimming portion of the California Surf Lifesaving Championships, but also the run-swim-run and possibly the paddle. There is a run, a 400 yard swim, and a 200 yard run.
“I’ve never competed in an open ocean competition before, so I’m a little nervous,” she said. “But I think it would be a lot of fun. I haven’t been there, but I’m looking forward to it.”
So does Egan. Session 1 of the Summer Junior Lifeguard Program concludes on Friday. Session 2 will run from his July 25th to August 19th.
Egan said a big crowd is expected for the weekend’s event, which could be some major viewing opportunities.
“A surfski is basically an 18-foot kayak with a rudder,” he says with a laugh. “It happens he’s four feet in the surf and the carnage tends to happen.”
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