Kettlebells, snatches and burpees, oh my! Flex on the Beach puts more than 900 athletes on the Long Beach sand Saturday competing through workouts.
“We take it serious, but it’s also a fun competition that’s very social,” says event founder Jim Lorenzo of Flex Events of Long Beach. “The camaraderie is insane, the way people push each other to succeed. It’s very uplifting.”
HOW IT WORKS
Participants compete in teams of four (two men and two women) in divisions ranging from beginners to advanced-level. Teams are paired up to judge each other’s performance through the three “Workouts of the Day” (WODs). The crowd cheers them on as a DJ spins.
“There’s an integrity to judging each other. Everyone is very dialed in,” says event director James Quigley. “You come in with four friends and leave with eight.”
Spectators can follow the contestants through three phases of workouts. During the first event, known as “The Complex,” team members perform a series of weightlifting moves, lifting barbells stacked to the maximum weight they can handle over their head.
In round two, dubbed “Baywatch Bonanza,” competitors alternate rounds of chest-to-bar pull-ups, shoulder-to-overhead lifts with the barbell and air squats.
By the time the third WOD hits — “I Flex, You Flex, We Flex” — contestants are going to need all the support they can get as they push their way through 400-meter (quarter-mile) runs in the sand, weighted lunges, kettlebell swings and burpees.
“The energy coming from the spectators is enormous,” Lorenzo says. “The contestants bring all their friends, family and fellow gym mates to root them on.”
Paige Miller, 23, of Wantagh works with a group from Skypoint CrossFit gym in Lynbrook that placed third at Flex in the City in Manhattan last spring in the Rx division.
“The endurance part was easy for me,” says Miller, who is a gymnast. “The weightlifting was where I needed to get stronger.”
In order to up the ante, Miller fortified her diet and spent more time lifting to prepare for the competition.
“It’s intense enough to make you competitive, but it’s still very enjoyable,” she says. “At the end, you are pretty sore, but it’s all worth it.”
Flex on the Beach isn’t the only game in Long Beach this week. The annual Unsound Surf Pro tournament draws more than 70 pro surfers from all over the world, such as Bruce Irons from Hawaii, Alex Knost from California and local Long Beach heroes Balaram Stack, T.J. Gumiela and Will Skudin.
Each surfer competes in heats where they are scored on their performance. Spectators watch from bleachers on the boardwalk or the beach.
“It’s friendly but competitive,” says Dave Juan, event co-director and co-owner of Unsound Surf shop in Long Beach. “There’s a certain mindset to handling big waves as an audience watches you.”
Fans can even meet-and-greet the pro surfers at Unsound Surf shop on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 6-8 p.m. for photos and autographs.
UNSOUND SURF PRO
WHEN|WHERE Wednesday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 18, (check website for session schedules and surf conditions) with viewing from the beach at Lincoln Boulevard, Long Beach
A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Flex on the Beach as a CrossFit competition.
FLEX ON THE BEACH
WHEN | WHERE 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 (rain date Sunday), along the beach at Edwards Boulevard, Long Beach
INFO 917-559-4497, flexeventshq.com
ADMISSION $10 spectators, $399.99 registration per team of four (must sign up 48 hours before the event)