The South Bay Dozen is the first big event for local lifeguards who compete against each other every summer. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the competition at Torrance Beach, and there were plenty of familiar faces in the winner’s circle along with a few new ones.
Event founder Mike Murphy of Redondo Beach and the competitors faced an onshore breeze in the morning followed by high temperatures in the afternoon with calm water conditions. Murphy came up with the idea of giving ocean enthusiasts a chance to go up against some of the best lifeguard competitors in Southern California. It worked and the event continues to grow as there were about 100 participants.
Brian Murphy of Redondo Beach and Eva Porter of Atlantic Beach, Fla., were the overall points winners in the men’s and women’s competitions.
“It was really hard,” said Brain Murphy of winning this year. “Coming back race after race isn’t easy and being 32 is not easy. It doesn’t get any easier as you get older, I know that.”
Brian Murphy won the Ironman competition for a seventh time. It started with a paddleboard, then a run, surf ski, run, swim and finished with another run.
“The surf ski leg is where I pulled away,” Brian Murphy said. “I knew I needed a good lead in front of Hayden (Hemmens) because Hayden is one of the best swimmers in California.”
Hemmens, who is from Costa Mesa, finished second.
Brian Murphy also won the run-board-run-board and sprint paddleboard.
“That hurt a lot,” said Murphy of the run-board-run-board race. “That was probably the hardest event we did today.”
He edged Shane Scoggins of Goleta in the sprint paddleboard with the help of some wind chop.
“(Scoggins) was there the entire time,” Brian Murphy said. “He is just a phenomenal paddler, national champion. I got lucky to get one on him today.”
James Bray of Carpenteria was second in overall men’s points. He said all the participants respect Brian Murphy’s dominance.
“Everyone on this beach looks up to him,” Bray said. “He is an outstanding competitor.”
Bray won the first event of the day, which was a dory race. He won with partner Dane DeBoer of Marina del Rey.
“The first race was great,” Bray said. “We had a little bit of surf. Rowing with Dane, he is kind of like the teacher and I am the student.”
They took second in the waterman’s relay behind Rob Pelkey of Dana Point and Mitch Kahn of San Clemente.
Porter won the Ironman competition for women and was second in the run-board-run-board, surf ski events and finished third in the surf swim.
“I’m really excited,” said Porter of winning the most points for the women. “My intention when I got my ticket was hopefully I can win, but I really can’t put pressure on myself. I just have to have fun and that is what I did.”
Redondo Beach’s Taylor Spivey, who is now a professional triathlete, placed second.
Spivey won two events, the surf swim and the run-swim-run. She was defending champion in the run-swim-run.
“I love that race,” said Spivey of the run-swim-run. “It is tailored to more of a triathlon because it is a swim and a run so it is more of my strength more than anything else.”
She has not trained for the ocean events that much and surprised herself with the surf swim win. And she was satisfied with second place in the overall points.
Hermosa Beach’s Tandis Morgan came away with a victory in the surf ski. She has been hooked on the event ever since Mike Murphy brought it to the beach.
“This is one of my favorite events and the fact that it kicks off the summer and then this year the sun was out for the first time in weeks just made it that much better,” Morgan said. “I was just coming down here to have fun.”
Other winners were Ryan Makuta of El Segundo in the men’s surf swim, Carter Graves of Coronado in the women’s run-board-run-board and sprint paddleboard, Tim Burdiak of Manhattan Beach in the men’s surf ski, and Hemmens won the run-swim-run for men.