Brick gains Gold in San Diego

Mike Sciacca

Max Brick said he felt relaxed and calm as he braced himself for

the intense competition taking place on Pacific Beach in San Diego on



The Laguna Beach resident and junior lifeguard was going up

against several other Category C competitors in the rescue board race

at the 2002 Junior Lifeguards National Championships, each standing

at a starting line drawn in the sand, some 20 feet out from the



Brick, who recently turned 12 but competed as an 11-year-old,

bolted for the water when the whistle sounded and headed out to sea,

hoping to give a good showing in this, his first national


Brick accomplished much more than he hoped for -- he won the gold

medal in the event.

“I was really happy and surprised,” said Brick, who will start the


seventh grade this fall at Thurston Middle School. “I was a little

bit excited but really calm before the race.”

The rescue board race has competitors start on the sand, head for

the water and once knee deep in the ocean, paddle straight out.

The course they race resembles a triangle, Brick said, and once

they complete the course, they catch a wave and take it back to


Brick was the first to reach the finish line. He finished well


ahead of the rest of the pack after catching and riding a wave all

the way in.

He won the gold in the final after placing second in a preliminary


“It is pretty exciting, this being my first national competition

and all,” he said. “I just went out there trying to do my best.”

Brick also competed in the run-swim-run event and just missed a

top-10 placing.

He is in his third summer with the Laguna Beach Junior Lifeguards

program. He says he became interested in the program through his

father, Jon, a former lifeguard.

“The program is fun because you learn things like how to surf and

deal with water conditions,” he said.

In July, Brick placed seventh in the rescue board race and 10th in

the run-swim-run race at a regional competition held in Los Angeles