Junior lifeguarding competitions return to the Panhandle

Local Sports

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The South Walton Junior Lifeguards hosted the largest lifeguarding competition in the Panhandle in nearly a decade at Miramar Beach on Saturday.

The competitions were held behind Pompano Joe’s and dozens of young guards participated from South Walton and from Destin in the full-day event.

Beach Safety Lieutenant for the South Walton Fire District and South Walton Junior’s coordinator, Brandon Brown, said turning training into competition helps take the young guards’ skills to the next level.

“The U.S. Lifesaving Association, they’re the certifying agency for pretty much all of the lifeguarding agencies on the Emerald Coast,” Brown said. “And they do competitions in what’s called surf-lifesaving, and so they’ll do racing on the rescue boards, swim races, run races, basically all the things that make a good lifeguard a good lifeguard, they race at.”

The competitions began at 8:00 a.m. and went through 5:00 p.m. so there were quite a bit of events for the guards to participate in.

South Walton Junior Lifeguard, William Justiss, said he had a full day of competitive lifeguarding.

“I had a few events in the morning and some in the afternoon,” Justiss said, “I did the running event and then the swimming, then we did a paddleboard, after that, we did an Iron Guard, which is a swim, run, paddle, run, which was fun and I did that individually.”

Saturday’s event was the largest Junior competition held in the Panhandle since regionals were held at Okaloosa Island in 2012.

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