It’s been a minute since we went to the Pensacola Beach Brawl competition!! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this video: 

2021 Pensacola Beach Brawl from La Selva Films on Vimeo.

The Spring event is always a 3-person team competition. This year’s Spring event is going to be on the last weekend of March (26-27th). We’ve got a lot of new CrossFitters at our gym. But, we also have a core group of Bandits who remember the days when Bandit CrossFit used to send 20-30 athletes and spectators to the annual Fall Beach Brawl or the Spring Team Event. Some of those seasoned members know exactly what to expect. 

For those who are new to the competitive scene, this post is for you!

Emily, Sam, and Janice after Sam finished the Beach WOD at the Fall Beach Brawl circa 2013. Or maybe 2014?

Two days of fun, fitness and sun! Whether you’re a competitor, a family member, or just a fellow Bandit wanting to cheer on your Bandit family, you’re going to have a blast!!

Pensacola Beach is a great venue. There’s showers, bathrooms, restaurants, shops, and hotels all within walking distance of the competition, and of course, there’s the star of the show, the beautiful beach!

The Beach Brawl competition is as family friendly as it gets. A lot of our Bandits have brought their kids to the event. The competition is right on the Pensacola Beach, and the kids love it!

Janice competing as RX individual in the FIRST EVER Beach Brawl Competition, September 2012

The competition will be completely outdoors. So, be ready to be outside all day. Some of the Bandits get hotel rooms. If you are doing this, I highly recommend getting one that is within walking distance of the competition, or bring a camper, and you can just park in the beach parking lot. Parking is not very good after 8am as we are sharing the event venue with all the normal beachgoers, too. 

Scott, Ben, and Jordan put together a fun team for Spring Beach Brawl, circa 2017

Plan for this just like you were planning to spend all day at the beach. You should plan to be outside all day. This means you want to have food, water, sunblock, chairs, blankets/towels, and preferably a place to get out of the sun or rain, as there have been a few times we’ve been when the rain tried to spoil the fun. I’ve even needed a hoodie a time or two. Make sure to check the weather so you can be prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store for that weekend. 

Here’s a list of some essentials that I usually bring:

  • Tent
  • Chairs
  • Cooler with drinks and snacks/meals
  • Sunblock
  • Towels for drying off if you swim or shower at the bathroom area.
  • Blankets or tarps for the tent floor so you can make pallet for kids or even for athletes to foam roll and do mobility warmup. 
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Money for vendors. A lot of them likely take cards. But, having cash on hand may be helpful. 
  • Athletes should bring all their workout attire, gym bag and gear, and possibly a change of clothes in case they get too dirty and sweaty after a wod and want to have some fresh clothes. 
  • Athletes will also want to bring mobility tools: foam rollers, lacrosse balls, pvc, bands, etc. 

Emma going hard with her Big Ballin Bandit team circa 2017

The event is an all-day affair. The first heat usually starts sometime between 8am and 9am. Depending on which heat our teams are in, and how well organized the event is, they may have their last event around 4:30 or 5pm. 

There’s also an awards ceremony at the pavilion afterward. If we have anyone on the podium, we usually stay and watch the awards ceremony. But, if no one makes it on the podium, it’s always nice to get an early start back home, especially on Sunday. 

A lot of times we will try to get the group together to go eat. Sometimes on Saturday night, we will go to Flounder’s, which is right across the street. On Sunday, McGuire’s is always a favorite stop! Sometimes people are ready to just get back home, but for those who are up to it, it’s always a good time to celebrate our Bandits for laying it all on the line and competing.

Coach Sam competing at the Fall Beach Brawl as an RX individual circa 2016. Or was is 2017? They all start to run together!


  • Coordinate with your fellow Bandits so we can make a tent city. 
  • The best time to make the tent city is the Friday night before the event starts–if that is allowed. If not, we will need to get there by 6 or 7am on Saturday to get a good spot. If you are not coming until Sunday, and you want to ensure that you get to set up your tent next to everyone, you may want to send your tent with the ones going on Friday night. 
  • If we make the tent city the night before, just lower your tents and make sure to bring weights to tie them down, or take the tent fabric off so it doesn’t blow away. 
  • There are usually two places to set up tents, one is to the East of the pavilion and the other is in the parking lot near the vendors. Either spot is good. 
  • There are usually healthy food vendors on site. 
  • There will also be a lot of apparel and CrossFit equipment suppliers with jump ropes, accessories, food and beverage samples, and other goodies to check out while you are there.
  • The place where the competition is held is right across the street from gas stations, restaurants, souvenir shops, and more. 
  • If you are driving to the venue, it will be hard to find parking if you leave during the day. It’s not impossible, but you may have to drive all over the parking area trying to find someone leaving to take their spot. There’s no other public parking nearby that I am aware of. So, it’s really a good idea to get there early and plan to stay parked all day until you’re ready to leave. 
  • There’s usually three or four workout stations set up: one on the beach, one on the boardwalk area overlooking the beach, and one or two in the parking area. Make sure to find out from our teams what heat they’re in, and what order they will be doing the workouts in, so you can be sure to come and cheer for them when it’s their time to go. 
  • There are warm up areas for the athletes, but those areas can sometimes be crowded. Make sure to plan your warmup before each event accordingly.
Christi relaxing after claiming her tent spot.

If you’ve never been to a CrossFit competition, the Pensacola Beach Brawl is an amazing experience for athletes and spectators. I highly recommend it to all of our members! If you have any questions, all of our coaches are very experienced at what to expect here, so just ask!

Jennifer and her Big Ballin Bandit teammate, Rachel, dominating the team division! Circa 2017

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