Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 USLA Nationals: It's A Wrap!...

Official LACSLSA team photo, courtesy of Adam Sandler
Nationals Leave The Beach - Virginia Beach

By Adam Sandler

The results from the 2014 USLA Nationals can perhaps best be characterized as good news bad news.

While Monmouth County NJ - which by the way is an aggregation of several agencies under the "Monmouth" rubric - defeated LA County Surf Lifesaving Association (note the new name; it's no longer LACoLA) with 1,217.348 points compared to LA's 1001.350, the top individual points getters were LA's very own Brian Murphy and Kelsey O'Donnell and Coral Kemp.

Brian had an 84.875 points while Kelsey nabbed an impressive 95.5. Coral Kemp had 86.5.

With the win, Monmouth breaks LA's 27 year ownership of the championship bell.

However, it should be noted that Monmouth had 77 competitors who scored points, compared to LA's 35.

So for the mathematically challenged, you could say LACSLA BEAT Monmouth if you amortize the points per each member. Unfortunately, Competition Director Ed Zebrowksi didn't see it that way.

All in all it was a terrific week with excellent weather - except for 90 minutes on Wednesday - with a water temp in the upper 70s, air temp in the 80s and a tolerable humidity, plus some great athletic prowess on display and excellent sportsmanship among the agencies.

We also witnessed some remarkable grit as displayed by Battalion Chief Chris Linkletter who competed injured in heats and finals (see pics) but remained in great spirit throughout. A real inspiration to her troops.



Chris Linkletter hobbling up the beach following a swim before, and after rocking a cane.


Shannon Sullivan showed both determination and good sportsmanship as she tackled the Age Group Women Board Race. While paddling around the course she was chastised by the course official for talking to much to a competitor (pic of Nan Caplan from Cal State as they head toward the finish line). The solo photo of Shannon was taken just after she was rolled by nasty little shorebreaker. Undeterred, she  schlepped that JM paddleboard up the beach to nail her Gold Medal finish in the 60- 64 age group.

note: Editorially speaking, "County Recurrent" asked a follow up question regarding any USLA Rules forbidding competitor's from talking during races and we were advised as follows:  "I do not believe there are any rules other than sportsmanship being maintained.

Nan told me Shannon told the official on the Quad that "her nipple was stuck" (the official was Rob btw). He told me he didn't hear that remark. But he said he did hear Shannon say he "had a nice butt.""


Kelsey O'Donnell makes her way across the finish line in first place in the Open Women Board Race. She outpaced her closest challenger by several board lengths and gave spectators a clinic on board race style and technique. It should be note that Kelsey's prowess has grown remarkably even since last years competition season and despite the demands on her time from nursing school. When I asked her the secret to her success she replied "it's all from swimming." So everyone, hit the pool!


The LACSLA Open Women's Rescue race team is ready for their close up as TV cameras capture their photo finish into third place. Yes, that is an injured Chris Linkletter helping to carry the victim through the flag line after a sprint up the beach.  The other team members were Tandis Morgan, Coral Kemp, and Kelsey O'Donnell.


Brian Murphy and Shane Scoggins from Cal State battle it out for first place in the Open Men Board Race. You'll note from the pic that Brian is barely visible. The duo hit the hard pack together and the foot chase up the beach was epic. But Scoggins managed to box Brian out just as they crossed the finish line -- employing a tactic that comes from plenty of experience competing in this event.

Just one of Brian's many trips to the awards podium. The two competitors wearing stripes are not local prisoners on a weekend furlough so they can compete. That's the Destin, Fla team suit and beanie.


The raised fist in victory belongs to Matt Nunnally who on the last leg of the American Ironman - the surf boat - managed to get ahead of LACSLA's Jeff Hart (second pic). Jeff's finish was quickly followed by Ryan Matthews -- who previously competed for Monmouth before moving to LA -- and then Brian Murphy, who just recently took up rowing and probably has less hours in a dory than I do. Well done, gents!


Here's the Holy Grail of lifesaving competition: The USLA Gold Medal. 


And speaking of holy grail, as Monty Python would say: "now for something completely different:"

Apparently the Virginia Beach City Council heard I was coming to town and crated a "No Profanity Zone." All over town there are these signs that look like cartoon characters or Homer Simpson thought bubbles with these typewriter characters rocking the international symbol for swearing.

A few feet away another sign warns visitors to VB to "refrain from cursing or using obscene or vulgar language or gestures." Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.


Rumor...  Mike O'Donnell gave Eldin Onsgard a lesson in how the younger set rows. O'Donnell, who is in the 55-59 age group, rowed with Eldin -- who normally would've been in the  60-64 Age group. USLA rules state the duo had to compete in the age group of the youngest competitor.

I'm told before taking off for their Age Group surf boat race, Mike's instructions to Eldin were to "sit down, hold on and shut up." :-)

Sources said Eldin was apparently only able to comply with two of the three directives.


...... and the unofficial LACSLSA team photo:

photo courtesy of Adam Sandler
... and the current new LACSLSA logo:


USLA Nationals Taplin Relay:   Other notable finishes include the LACSLSA Women, Tandis Morgan, Coral Kemp, Jenna Solberg and Kelsey O'Donnell landing a First Place finish in the Taplin and the Men comprised of Brian Murphy, Tim Burdiak, Jeff Hart, and Brandon Henry-Snell taking second.

Despite Taplin being the final event of the final day and everyone being tired from three strenuous albeit exciting days on the sand, the competition was fierce.

Caveat:  There were plenty of impressive, exciting and even nail-biting moments. But because I was also a USLA Course Official, I was only able to capture some of the moments of the three-days of competition. It goes without saying that every one on the LACSLSA Team performed admirably and at their highest level.

Respectfully submitted,

Adam Sandler


*** Many Thanks to (USLA Official and LACSLSA team member) Adam Sandler for his photos and commentary on the 2014 USLA Nationals.  We really appreciate it as does our readership! ***

(All photos and text, except as otherwise indicated, are by & Copyright Adam Sandler 2014. The views and comments expressed herein, except as otherwise stated, are the opinion of the author individually.)


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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