There's the softball games, and the basketball. There are surf competitions, and Crossfit games. There's even dart and poker matches.
The Firefighter Summer Olympics – which have been going on for more than three decades – are being hosted this week by Newport Beach. The intense six-day event has firefighters from around the state vying for bragging rights.
Huntington Beach firefighter Grant Currie, fourth from left, and son Shane are off to a good start. They follow fellow HB firefighter Dane Morrissey, left, who won with a time of 18:47. Firefighters compete in a 1.75 mile SUP (stand-up paddleboard) race during the California Firefighters Summer Olympics held at Newport Dunes.
On Wednesday afternoon, about two dozen firefighters competed in the newly added Stand Up Paddle races, with a 3.5-mile race, a 1.75-mile race, and a four-person relay starting from the Newport Dunes with the courses set in the Newport Back Bay. The gloomy morning weather made way for sunny skies as the races started, with winds challenging the competitors.
Huntington Beach firefighter Dane Morrissey was the first to finish the 3.5-mile race, with a time of 35 minutes and 43 seconds. Following him was Seth Springer from Los Angeles City Fire Department, and third place went to Lance Erickson of the Anaheim Fire Department.
"It was a fun course, on a beautiful day," said Morrissey, who has been racing for about a year and a half. "The sport is growing so much, it's great to see it recognized in the Firefighter Olympics."
Newport Beach Firefighter Nic Lucas helped organize this race, enlisting help from the Newport Aquatics Center and Paddle Surf Warehouse, which helped supply loaner race boards for those who didn't own one.
"Here in Orange County, water sports are huge for us,'' Lucas said. "Stand Up Paddle has been taking off – it is a great way to get out and add another dynamic to your outside workout."
The Firefighter Olympics rotate between Northern and Southern California each year, and departments bid on hosting the event. No taxpayer money is used for the Olympics, and all firefighters take time off for the event.
With about 4,000 people coming in town for the event, it helps the local economy with hotels selling out, Lucas said.
"You see a lot of families come out, it becomes their family vacation," he said.