LIHUE — The Kauai island finals for the Junior Lifeguard program will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. at Kalapaki Beach fronting the Duke’s Kauai restaurant.
“This is a wrap up of the 2018 Junior Lifeguard program that started with the first class at Salt Pond on June 4,” said Eugene Ancheta, one of the Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau lifeguards and instructor for the Junior Lifeguard program. “We’ve had classes every week, but one, and this is the finals where we get to see who has it. Not everyone in the classes will make it to the island finals.”
The 2018 program encompassed some 600 young people from ages 12 to 17 years old in the Junior Lifeguard program, and the Keiki program for young people from 8 to 11 years old. Only Junior Lifeguard participants will be involved in the island finals.
Each of the sites, including Salt Pond Beach Park, Hanalei, and Kalapaki Beach offered a free week-long program, meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offering hands-on experience in drug awareness, rescue skills, cardio pulmonary resucitation, first aid, beach hazards, and beach and ocean awarnessness while building teamwork and problem solving skillsets.
Once the results of the island finals are tabulated, the Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau will assemble an all-island team which will participate in the state finals that will take place at Kalapaki Beach on Aug. 4 as part of the water safety conference taking place at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.
“This year, we’re working to the national Junior Lifeguard standards,” Ancheta said. “That means the runs and swims are for longer distances, and for the paddleboards, participants will be using the racing boards — no more foamies. The state finals will also work with the national standards, and will follow the same six-event format.”
The day opens with the 2K run followed by the 200 meter swim, transitioning to the run, swim, run.
Iron Guard, a run, swim, paddle event by individuals, follows. The paddleboard Relay and highly-popular Beach Flags round out the day’s competitive events.
Dutch Fairbanks was one of the veteran Junior Lifeguard participants, telling Ancheta how one young participant at the Kalapaki Beach class said he looked like he was on steroids while swimming.
“He’s just young,” Ancheta said. “When he comes to your age, someone else will tell him the same thing. We’re just going to make everyone into studs.”
The Junior Lifeguard program is offered by the County of Kauai, sponsored by the Kauai Lifeguard Association, the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and a number of generous community sponsors who care about Kauai’s youth and ocean safety.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.