by Janice Marie Ferguson
Last year’s Bandits after the 2013 Beach Brawl team event.
So, you’ve decided to head over to Mako CrossFit’s Pensacola Beach Brawl this coming weekend? I bet you’re wondering what to pack. Look no further, I’ve got your complete packing list, and more, right here.
The Beach Brawl, just as its name suggests, is located right on the Pensacola Beach on the Casino Beach Parkway. (click link for map). The location is perfect for a family day at the beach, a CrossFit competition, or both. There’s ample parking (if you get there early enough) a comfort station with plenty of bathrooms, a platform with multiple outdoor showers, and several restaurants and gift shops all within walking distance of the center of the Casino Beach pavilion, the home base of the event.
This will be my third year to attend the Beach Brawl, and I’ve become a pro at what to bring to make sure my day at the competition is enjoyable. The event is usually centered around the Casino Beach Pavilion with the tent village across the street in the parking lot. But, there’s nothing stopping anyone from setting up their base camp right on the beach. I usually set our tent up near the parking area so we can have access to our vehicles to store valuables in case we need to leave our home base. This area is also close to the majority of the event areas. One of the events is always on the beach, though. Event organizers usually make use of the pavilion as a registration, scoring and award ceremony location.
1. Tent Canopy (if you’re coming with the Bandits, we already have 5 people bringing one.)
3. Blanket in case you want to lie on the ground or have a picnic.
4. Your Bandit tshirt/tank and/or headband to rep our gym.
1. Water. We bring a water cooler from the gym, but it could run out, so you may want to have a back-up source. You will also need to bring your own cups for the water. There will be a vendor on-site selling water and other beverages, but I’m sure it will be more than you want to pay.
2. Sunblock/hat/sunglasses for obvious reasons.
3. Snacks for the day. I provide snacks and pre/post-workout foods and snacks for competitors, but I do not plan to provide snacks or food for all our spectators and visitors. Again, there will be a food vendor on site, and there are several restaurants within walking distance, but you may want to bring a cooler with some food for you and your family if you want to avoid spending a ton of cash. The oficial food vendor will be the popular East Hill Yard. Not sure of the menu options for the Brawl, but you can check out their menu.
4. Comfortable shoes and clothes. You’ll be walking (or running, in my case) around to all the different events all day. Dressing like a CrossFitter is OK. You don’t have to look fancy.
5. Bug spray (AKA insect repellent) just in case.
1. Bathing suit and towel. We’re at the beach. Why not?
2. Shampoo and soap and a change of clean clothes.
3. Toilet paper for when the public restroom runs out. Maybe this should be in the “MUST” category?
3. Any beach toys you’d like to play with: football, volleyball, paddleboard, frisbee, sand castle stuff, etc.
4. Money to buy things from CrossFit industry vendors like WODlife, Box Stalker, Primal Instinct, WOD Superstore, SUP dogs (paddleboards), and more.
5. Your competitive side. There will be a spectator competition on Saturday and Sunday (prizes included) to find the person (male and female) who can ski the fastest 250 meters with a ski erg. What’s a ski erg? A terrible machine that we shall own several of one day.
6. Cowbells, other obnoxious noisemakers, and posters to cheer for your CrossFit family and friends.
2. Glass Bottles
These rules apply to the beach. Not sure about the parking lot. You can see all the rules of the beach on the Pensacola Beach visitor website.
Now, that you know what to pack, you’re probably wondering when you need to be there. As for the exact time, we won’t know exactly what heat everyone is in and the exact time or event they will compete in until the day before, or even the morning of the competition. I’ve got the general schedule posted below. There are at least four events for each division on Saturday and Sunday. The different groups perform each event in heats of 10-15 competitors/teams and then get about a 1-1.5 hour break in between each. There could be 5-8 heats for each division (Elite, RX, Scaled Men and Women) so that means folks will be spread out everywhere. If you’re planning to spectate, you can be sure that you’ll see someone compete starting around 9 a.m. and lasting all day. There’s likely to be a “final” for the Elite division at the end of the day on Saturday, and we are hoping and praying that Josh and Dale will make it there. Also, I forgot to mention, there’s usually a short break (about an hour) for lunch. But, that’s no guarantee.
For those of you who stay to the bitter end, we usually try to find a place to eat afterward. I don’t have any set plans for this yet, as I don’t know how many we’ll have in our party. The restaurants in the area are usually pretty full, and last year it took forever to get our food, so I may try to find a place away from the beach that we could drive to.