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Ocean lifeguards swim, paddle and row through the night as part of annual competition

Ocean lifeguards swim, paddle and row through the night as part of annual competition
Competitors battle a wave in the Bud Stevenson Intracrew Medley Relay during the International Surf Festival in Hermosa Beach on Friday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County lifeguards were among those demonstrating their skills in Hermosa Beach on Friday night as part of a competition that has been held every year since 1936.

Much of the contest, part of the four-day International Surf Festival in the South Bay, is held at night so lifeguards can be on duty during the day, and hundreds of spectators lined Hermosa Beach Pier after the sun set to watch the lifeguards in a variety of events.

The main event is known as the Judge Irvin Taplin Medley Relay and is among the most prestigious ocean lifeguard events in the country.

HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-A lifeguard prepares to enter the water for the Bud Stevens
A lifeguard prepares to enter the water. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-A lifeguard jumps into the water for the L.A. County Lifegu
A lifeguard jumps into the water from Hermosa Beach Pier as part of a rescue demonstration. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-Competitors take off from the starting line for the lifegua
Competitors take off from the starting line for the lifeguard run relay. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-Lifeguards compete during the International Surf Festival i
Competitors sprint to the water with paddle boards. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-A lifeguard team from Southern California carry there dory
A team carries their two-person dory back to the beach. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-Lifeguards wipe-out in the Bud Stevenson Intracrew Medley R
A dory team is thrown by a wave during the competition. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-A Lifeguard waits to compete during the International Surf
A lifeguard rests between events. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 4, 2018-A runner competes in the Dick Fitzgerald beach run during t
A lifeguard competes in the Dick Fitzgerald Beach Run. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-A competitor runs out of the water in a relay race during t
A competitor runs out of the water during a relay race. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-Lifeguards from Southern California compete during the Inte
Spectators line Hermosa Beach Pier to watch the competition. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA AUGUST 3, 2018-Lifeguards compete during the International Surf Festival i
Lights from Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and El Segundo form a backdrop to a paddle board relay. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
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