Local Teams Prove They Can Hang With the Best at Red Bull Surf and Rescue Competition

Harvey Cedars and Ship Bottom Make Finals at Premier Event in AC
Jul 26, 2017
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool/Chris Vanderjagt If last week’s Red Bull Surf and Rescue competition was any indication, we have some very solid beach patrols on LBI.

When you go venturing into the ocean this week, take comfort in the fact that Long Beach Island has some very solid beach patrols.

Last week’s Red Bull Surf and Rescue event, considered something of the Super Bowl of lifeguard events, held in Atlantic City, brought together the very best beach patrols from Long Island to Virginia Beach. And our local lsland teams certainly held their own.

Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom, Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light all competed in this event with its unique single-elimination format. And in the end, teams from Harvey Cedars and Ship Bottom made the final round of eight teams.

The event has become very competitive for several reasons. First off, it’s the only race to offer any kind of prize package (a Jet Ski, trailer, sled and $2,500 for first place), but it’s also simultaneously driven up the performance level and competitive rivalries among New Jersey’s lifeguard athletes.

“It was nice to see teams show up from out of state to add to the competition. It definitely added extra pressure for all teams to perform well in the first-round swim relay,” said Billy Webster, a veteran Island guard who has become a force for Harvey Cedars.

And in fact, teams from Long Beach and Riis Park, N.Y., dominated the swimming.

“Over the past three years, having the Red Bull race on our schedule definitely pushes us to start training earlier and earlier,” said Webster. “Overall, it helps us get ready for other races we compete in all summer.”

The Island teams (four-person squads with at least one female) all survived the first round, a 250-meter swim relay. Both Harvey Cedars teams and Ship Bottom aced the 450-meter paddle relay. The Run-Run-Row, which was two quarter-mile runs and a 700-meter doubles row, claimed Harvey Cedars’ B-team, leaving just the Harvey Cedars and Ship Bottom A-teams in the thick of the final, a relay medley designed to test the best teams at all disciplines.

Harvey Cedars had a very good showing with Ryan Corcoran finishing the swim in a good time and Randy Townsend absolutely crushing the paddle. Rowers Webster and Jenna Parker held their own for the squad to finish in third place overall with a time of 10:07, just two seconds behind the Ocean City Beach Patrol.

Ship Bottom’s A-team of Chris Durban, Avery Waterworth, Mike Vile and Tracey Hemmerle finished seventh overall.

The winning team was Longport, comprised of Taylor Phy, Max Mittelman, John Tepper and Tim Schwegman, who repeated their 2016 victory, with a time of 9:45.

— Jon Coen

joncoen@thesandpaper.net

Harvey Cedars (left) took third place among 48 teams in a very tight final at Red Bull Surf and Rescue. (Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool/Chris Vanderjagt)
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