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Busy weekend ahead

United States Lifesaving Assn. National Lifeguard Championships comes to Surf City starting today

will run simultaneously with U.S. Open of Surfing.

August 04, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Woman's Rescue competition at last year's National Lifeguard Championships at Huntington State Beach.
Woman's Rescue competition at last year's… (Joel Gitelson,…)

For the next four days, Huntington Beach is the place to be for non-stop action sports competition.

More than 1,000 lifeguards and junior lifeguards from across the country are expected in Surf City to compete for team and individual honors at the United States Lifesaving Assn. National Lifeguard Championships. The event begins today and runs through Saturday at Huntington State Beach at Beach Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway.

The three-day competition is hosted by the Huntington State Beach Lifeguard Assn.

"We are excited to be the host of the premiere lifeguard event in the country," said Mike Beuerlein, Marine Safety Lieutenant for Huntington Beach and region president of the California Surf Lifesaving Assn. "This event gives the lifeguards competing the chance to showcase the talents that they use on a daily basis to save lives. These men and women are premiere athletes, Olympic-type of athletes. Although it's a competition, this is three days for them to go out and have fun."

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The competition is taking place a few blocks just south of the Huntington Beach Pier, site of the U.S. Open of Surfing that runs through Sunday.

"It's definitely a first for that," Beuerlein said of the two events taking place simultaneously. "The stars haven't aligned like this before. These two events definitely offer plenty of spectator-viewing action. Folks can watch both events, as they are easily within walking distance from each other."

Huntington Beach last hosted the lifeguard national championships in 2006.

Professional Lifeguards ranging from 17 to 75, and Junior Lifeguards ages 9 to 17, will compete in both water and beach course events that highlight their lifesaving skills. Events include surf swims, beach runs, surf boats and paddleboards. Highlights include the Landline Rescue Relay, Ironman and Ironwoman events and Beach Flags, a competition dubbed "the fastest event on sand."

The Junior Lifeguards competition is today and involves four divisions: AA Division (ages 16-17), A Division (14-15), B Division (12-13) and C Division (9-11).

The men and women will compete Friday and Saturday.

All competitions begin at 8 a.m. and run until the end of the day.

"This is the granddaddy of all lifeguard competitions, bringing the best of the best from across the country," said Ed Zebrowski, Competition Committee chair for the USLA.

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