When you're sitting in a lifeguard stand six inches apart, eight hour per day, for an entire season, a lot of crazy ideas come to fruition, Ocean City Beach Patrol member David Teufel said.
Take, for example, the idea to plan to build a homemade aircraft and have a lifeguard pilot it off of 30-foot high deck over the Delaware River.
Sounds crazy, huh?
"It's not the craziest idea we've ever had, it's actually one of the sanest," Ocean City lifeguard Paul Boardman said.
Teufel and Boardman are two of four current Ocean City lifeguards participating as a team in the 2012 Red Bull Flugtag competition to be held at the Delaware Riverfront in Camden on Saturday, Sept. 15. Flugtag means 'flying day' in German. The others are Ian O'Neill and Patrick Devish. Ocean City Beach Patrol alum Ryan Dunn is also part of the team.
The Ocean City men, Team Shore Phlyers, make up one of the 35 teams participating in the event, which draws about 80,000 spectators and is cybercast around the world. Boardman will be piloting the aircraft, and the others will be aiding in his takeoff.
Over the summer when the men weren't guarding the beaches or working their second jobs, they were drawing up blueprints for the aircraft, welding metal, shaping Styrofoam and computing math in an attempt at DIY aviation.
Red Bull Flugtag teams are judged on the creativity and theme of their craft, showmanship and the distance of flight, (the latter of which in more cases than not ends directly in a drop into the river.) Nonetheless, the guys said they are confident they will excel in all three categories.
Their team theme is Ocean City and their craft is modeled to look like a seagull, named OCgull.
"We have the bring-the-beach-to-Philly thing going on," Teufel said. And for showmanship, three of the guys will be dressed as lifeguards, one as a surfer and the last as a shoobie, and they will perform a comedic skit for the crowd.
Most importantly though, and despite some naysayers, they say they are confident their craft will fly.
"Every night when I come home from building my mom asks me 'How's the plane? Do you think it will fly?" Boardman said, "and I'm like 'I know it's going to fly … just not how far it will fly.'"
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If you go
2012 Red Bull Flugtag competition to be held at the Delaware Riverfront in Camden this Saturday, Sept. 15. For more info and details go to redbullflugtagusa.com.
If you can't make it to the event, you can follow the Shore Phlyers on Twitter under @Shore2Phly as well see as photo updates on instagram @mrboardman.
There will be a People Choice vote, with the text number TBA via Twitter.