This year’s URT WOMP was set to be unforgettable with a south swell and warm weather on the forecast. We were saddened to learn that the water was still too polluted after the big storm a few weeks ago to hold the event safely. Although disappointed, we would not let this bad news stop us. We thought, “Let’s make some lemonade out of dirty water.” And so the first annual URT GRAB beach flags competition was born.
Beach flags is a sporting event that is used by lifeguards to practice their sprinting and reflexes in the sand. A line of beach flags (we used hose pipes) are placed in the sand. Competitors line up side by side laying on their bellies about 50 feet from the flags with their heads facing away from the flags. One fewer flag is placed out than the number of competitors. The game’s official, in our case URT’s BIG boss Ian, instructs competitors to place their head up then head down an unknown number of times before he yells “GO!” The competitors jump to their feet, turn around, and then sprint to pick up a flag before their competitors. The game continues until there is only one flag left in the hands of the winner.
Our first ever URT GRAB featured many brave souls who had been training for the WOMP all year and then were asked to RUN! We were stoked to see so many competitors still show up to support us and also One More Wave, which all the proceeds were donated to. One More Wave’s mission is to provide wounded veterans with surf therapy and customized surfing equipment.
The first to line up were our SqURTs, aka the kids. These young guns were prepped as many of them had been training in the summer in their junior lifeguard programs where beach flags are a major event. We had a fierce battle of the boys versus the girls and the final came down to Kyle and Gianna. The boys won for the day as Kyle was the first to grab the last flag and was crowned first ever GRAB champ.
Next up was the women’s division where we showcased some major girl power. The event featured three high speed women who wanted to claim the gold. In the end Jacque came out on top ahead of the two URT girls.
Finally, we came to the main event, the MEN! We had 17 competitors line up all in search of the new GRAB crown. The competition proved to be fierce with some shoving and pushing especially seen between some Heave Ho and URT employees. At the end of the day the matchup came down between URT’s own Thomas and the young gun Colin. After an all out effort from both competitors, URT brought home the gold with Thomas grabbing that last flag.
Although not the event we had planned we were thankful that we were able to start a new tradition with the URT GRAB. We also want to thank our awesome sponsors for the event including Pelican, BUBs, Protect, Pelican, Tito’s, Yucca, Clayton’s, Emerald City, LifeAid, and last but not least Heave Ho Coffee. We pray that the water quality issue will be resolved for our upcoming events. Stay tuned for the Lob Off, the Spook, and the Santa Surf Off!