The first Destin Waterman Challenge came to Henderson Beach State Park on Saturday morning, with individuals and relay teams competing in a variety of on-the-water categories.
The event was hosted by the Destin Fire Rescue chapter of the United States Lifeguard Association, a group of current and past lifeguards who worked for the Destin Beach Safety Patrol.
Competitors in the Lifeguard Spec category competed in an 8k Spec Ski (a kayak-like vessel used in surf lifesaving), a 1.2k swim, a 2k paddle on a 10-foot, 6-inch prone board, and a 5k run. Competitors in the non-traditional category did the same without specific ski/paddleboard restrictions.
The Destin Waterman Challenge is modeled after the The Coolangatta (Australia) Gold race, a premier event in the sport of Ironman (surf lifesaving). Organizer Cory Hill said many of Saturday's competitors came from the east and west coasts and even as far away as Australia.