The South Bay Dozen has already proven its worthiness with one decade under its belt. It began a new chapter last Saturday at Torrance Beach with many of the legendary lifeguards of the South Bay competing against anyone that would take them.
This year there were two new champions crowned with Hayden Hemmens, 19, of Costa Mesa and Christina Boring, 25, of San Clemente both coming out winners in a very competitive event.
Hemmens edged out men’s defending champion Brian Murphy, 33, of Redondo Beach, 25 points to 23. The two switched places from last year when Murphy won and Hemmens was second.
Murphy came to the event this year with his first child, who was born less than a year ago. Even though he had not trained for the event, Murphy did well.
“It hurt a lot,” Murphy said. “A lot more than it used to.”
Hemmens won the surf swim and ironman events, Murphy defended his win in the run-board-run-board-run last year.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” said Murphy of his new change in his life. “It’s just fun being out here with everyone.”
James Bray of Carpenteria, who finished second last year behind Murphy, was third with 22 points, Pat Jacobson of Torrance and Kevin Fink of San Pedro tied for fourth with 17 points each.
Jacobson competed in nine of 12 events and won the last event, the board relay, with Jenna Solberg and Jeff Hart.
“Great to finish on a high note,” Jacobson said.
Boring held off defending champion Eva Porter, 21, of Atlantic Beach, Florida in the women’s competition in her first appearance. Boring scored 26 points to 22 for Porter.
“I’m stoked I finally got to come up here and experience it,” Boring said.
Coming away the champion was something she “did not expect.”
She won the women’s run-board-run-board-run and was second in the ironman. Porter won the women’s surfski.
“The shore break was really challenging,” said Porter of the waves.
The difference between first and second this year was that “Christina did really well in the board (events).”
It was the second consecutive year for the Florida resident, who is a former Jacksonville lifeguard.
Solberg, a lifeguard in Manhattan Beach during the summer, is from Torrance. She finished in third with 20 points.
She won the women’s ironman and run-swim-run.
“Honestly, I got really good wave karma and it was a run up the beach with Christina Boring (in the ironman),” Solberg said.
Weather can be a factor some years, but the South Bay Dozen has had its share of good luck and a heat wave hit at just the right time making for pleasant conditions for participants and spectators.
“We’ve always managed to have great weather,” said founder and organizer Mike Murphy. “Very fortunate to be supported by Los Angeles County Lifeguards, who have been very accommodating. We’re just grateful it’s still going strong and we got some young kids that are carrying the torch and moving this thing forward.”
Murphy said there were around 100 competitors this year.
Brian Murphy found some competition this year in the ironman with Hemmens beating the regular winner of the event.
The ironman starts with a paddleboard, then a run, surf ski, run, swim and finishes with another run.
Other winners were Jeff Hart and Mike O’Donnell in the first 3-lap dory race; Danielle Wong in the women’s surf swim; James Bray of Carpenteria and Dane DeBoer of Marina del Rey in the waterman’s relay; Rich Sprout in the men’s surfski; Bray and DeBoer in the second 3-lap dory race; Kelsey O’Donnell in the women’s sprint paddleboard; Matthew Fink in the men’s portion; and Fink also was first in the men’s run-swim-run.
“This is probably one of the best run events down here,” said Sprout, who grew up in South Africa, but lives in Anaheim and is a surfski specialist. “It’s good to see old friends and just race against them and it’s the first race, the kickoff to the season. It was a good day.”
“Everyone is having a great time,” said starter Bob Moore.