Police and firefighters face off in USPFC fitness and surfing

OCEANSIDE — The U.S. Police and Fire Championships (USPFC) Fitness Throwdown and Surfing Contest are set to take place the last week of June.

The two USPFC events are part of 41 national competitions that range from archery, to baseball and water polo. Recreational sports like corn hole and dodgeball are also part of the championships.

On June 25 the Fitness Throwdown takes place at the Pier Amphitheater.

June 28 to June 30 bring USPFC surfing to the harbor north jetty.

The fitness throwdown is as intense as the event’s name suggests. Active and retired officers and firefighters complete in three rounds of a random series of fitness challenges that include conditioning, weightlifting and gymnastics.

A challenge could consist of rowing, step-ups, pull-ups and carrying 30 pounds of weights. The goal is to do as many repetitions of the challenge as possible within a set time of 10 to 15 minutes.

The competition tests overall fitness, and is similar to fitness training for new officers and firefighters. The only rest for contestants is the set-up time between rounds.

Spectators can enjoy an up-close seat to the action. While competition is intense, participants also cheer each other on.

“It’s an incredible spectator event, there’s intense effort in a short duration of time,” Dan Ellison, California Police Athletic Federation chief administrative officer, said. “I’m so impressed by the commitment they have, it’s an intense workout.”

Awards are given to the top three finishers in each men’s and women’s age division that span from 18 to 29, to 60 and older.

Police athletic competitions were first held in California in the 1960s. Firefighters joined in on the games in 2000. Competitions expanded to other states in 2005, and became organized nationally as the USPFC in 2012.

“It all traces back to the first games in California in 1967,” Ellison said.

This year’s USPFC Surfing Contest begins with short board riders the first day, longboard heats the second day and spirited bodyboard and stand up paddleboard competition the final day.

The shortboard competition draws exceptional police and firefighter surfing talent from Hawaii and California. Teams that include lifeguards are serious threats.

The contest ends with a grommets heat for children of competitors.

Medals are given to the top three winners in each age division of contests. Riders are scored on maneuvers, style, speed and commitment.

A rider’s top two scores from each heat makes up their final score. Last year more than 100 officers and firefighters vied for division wins.

Like the throwdown, all competitors are in it to win.

“The guys in the water, oh yeah they’re competitive, but they’re friends out of the water,” Ellison said.

On the beach camaraderie is shared, and days wind down with ukulele playing. The public is welcome to cheer on officers and firefighters during the games.

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