The Salt Games
The Salt Games are a two-day sporting event in Myrtle Beach that includes a surfing competition, paddleboard races, beach volleyball tournaments, CrossFit competitions, a kids’ run, corn hole, tug-of-war, a hot dog eating contest, a keg toss, a hula hoop dance-off, yoga, a bikini contest, a half pipe for open skateboarding, music…and more! This is what all movies portray living at the beach is like, right?!
Kelly was out of town and I was accompanied by my seven-year-old daughter, Hannah, for this adventure. I packed our beach bag with a beach blanket, sun screen, snacks, and water and we set out to Myrtle Beach around 8:30am – the games started at 8am and were to continue until sundown. I parked at what I have found to be one of the cheapest spots in downtown Myrtle Beach, $5 all day parking on the corner of Chester St. and 10th Avenue. It turns out there was free parking on the grass where the zip line was built between 8th and 9th Avenues, but I didn’t know this until later.
We walked a short block to the games and found the CrossFit competitions were well on their way, across from the beach on Ocean Boulevard between 8th and 9th Avenues. Women and men were lifting weights, doing pushups, and doing a pull-up reach in front of judges in the warm morning sun. Hannah and I crossed the street and made our way past vendor tents, a stage, multiple corn hole boards, and volleyball courts to the beach where the surfing contest was taking place. We laid out our blanket in front of the volleyball courts and watched a volleyball match and some surfers compete. My very active daughter was thoroughly bored at this point so I suggested we walk around. We found vendors selling t-shirts, souvenirs, and food – including cookies and ice cream – as well as drinks: water for one ticket (each ticket cost $1) and soda, PowerAde, and beer for three tickets each. We also found a PowerAde tent that was giving away small cold bottles of PowerAde for free. Hannah and I walked along the Boardwalk and saw yoga and more CrossFit competitions where men and women on a team jumped rope and jumped over large wooden boxes in the even warmer mid-morning sun!
We made it back to our blanket on the beach and I heard Hannah’s big sigh of boredom. I was kicking myself for not bringing our boogie boards and sand toys. I suggested we check the ocean temperature out. There were buoys to mark the edge of the surfing competition area, accompanied by a black flag to indicate a no-swimming zone, so we walked the shoreline until we reached the edge of the buoys where other swimmers and some surfers not in the games were enjoying the ocean. The water temperature was reportedly 82 degrees Fahrenheit but it seemed a bit colder than that as Hannah and I waded into the water past the point where the waves break yet Hannah could still touch the ocean floor. We floated in the water, rising and falling with the waves, as I pointed out surfers of all ages catching waves in their respective heats and the paddleboard races taking place farther out in the ocean. We even got to see a huge pelican land in the water about 50 feet from us! The water was fairly calm – no rogue waves or rough surf to push us to the safety of the shoreline – and refreshing. It turned out to be a perfect beach day as I was able to enjoy the games from in the water while Hannah splashed and played under my watchful eye. Next year I look forward to being able to attend Day 2 of The Salt Games to witness the hula hoop dance-off, half-pipe open skateboarding, hot dog eating contest, the keg toss, the tug-of-war, and anything else I might have missed!
Cost: Free to attend. Free to play corn hole. Any proceeds benefit the Grand Strand Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.