While you may think it’s all bikinis and beach balls, protecting the ocean going public is something lifeguards take very seriously. The very first beach patrol in the country was formed in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 125 years ago this summer. Since that time, it’s become it’s own sport, with organized competitions that combine waterman skills and athletics on the sand.
The next big competition, Red Bull Surf and Rescue, will take guards from up and down the New Jersey and Delaware shores and pit them against each other on July 21. Each beach patrol will send a four-person team (three men and one woman) to row, run, paddle, and swim in an elimination-style tournament at North Carolina Ave., in Atlantic City, where it all began.
Ship Bottom Beach Patrol’s Chris Durban, who was a four-year varsity swimmer at St. Augustine Prep High School and is now a chemistry major at California Polytechnic University, is the strongest swimmer on his patrol, just up the coast from Atlantic City. “This is by far, the biggest tournament I have ever been to,” says Durban, “You have all those high rise hotels right on the beach and a big crowd. It’s really the ultimate venue.” Durban has been training all summer for the competition, in and out of the surf. Here’s one of his go-to workouts, to try the next time you’re on the beach.
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