Tribal Clash started from humble beginnings. The first Tribal Clash was held on Blackpool Sands beach in Devon on the south coast of UK during a hot August weekend in 2013. This first competition had 100 teams of 4 athletes, 2 men and 2 women. Our vision was to create a competition that took the best bits of CrossFit, obstacle racing and endurance racing, and delivered them all in a stunning beachside location. The idea was to bring fitness back to its roots, challenge the athletes with unusual equipment and push them outside of their comfort zone utilising the best that the spectacular Devon coastline had to offer. In a first fitness event of its kind, Tribal Clash created a community festival where tribes camped on the beach, there were DJs and the famous Taiko drummers, and a real beach party vibe. CrossFit Cheltenham took home the Mask and CrossFit Aberdeen was awarded the Tribal Spirit trophy.
In 2014 the event attracted 144 teams of 4 athletes, who battled on the sand for two hot sunny days flipping logs and tyres, and enduring the infamous 16 minute team log squat workout, the memories of that still make grown men cry. Over 600 people camped on the beach, many tribes travelling from Scotland, and a few teams from outside the UK joined the party. The winners were CrossFit CM2 and Unit6 CrossFit, the home box, was awarded the Tribal Spirit trophy. Just like the year before, the competition ended in a raucous party in the giant tipi that went on until the early hours in the morning.
In 2015 the competition grew to 144 teams of six athletes, and this time the teams got to play with several new pieces of equipment designed and manufactured at Tribal HQ. The events included the ‘Anaconda’ – lunging and squatting with a log worm as a team, and ‘Devil’s Causeway’ where the athletes had to negotiate a balance beam – a real curveball which proved difficult an insurmountable challenge to some athletes. 700 people camped on the beach, the sun was shining, and the atmosphere was electric. CrossFit Aberdeen were crowned the Tribal Clash champions, and CrossFit 252 were awarded the Tribal Spirit trophy.
Tribal Clash 2016 grew to 168 teams of 6, and after riding our luck with the weather with three hot sunny events in previous years, Mother Nature finally showed her true colours. Gale force winds and rain challenged the athletes mentally as well as physically, our production team worked around the clock battling the elements. Still, rain didn’t dampen the Tribal spirit, teams took on Tribal Fran and squatted with a slosh pipe – a new piece of equipment which demonstrated how important good teamwork and communication is at Tribal Clash. ADAMED Team Poland were Tribal Clash champions, and Reebok CrossFit 33100 from Tampere, Finland was awarded the Tribal Spirit Trophy.
In 2017 we staged our first international competition, on Praia do Almargem in Algarve, Southern Portugal. This was a huge logistical and operational challenge for the team, but they rose to the challenge and delivered an epic weekend where teams from Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Finland and UK battled with familiar Tribal Clash kit. We did actually build a Tribal Clash arena on a beach on the other side of Europe!
The UK competition moved from its birthplace Blackpool Sands to a new beach, Bantham, in Devon. Operationally this was a difficult beach to program on because of its huge tidal range, and a host of other quirks and restrictions, but our team worked around the clock to deliver a superb competition which included some old favourites (atlas stones) and new equipment (a 240kg sand worm). We built an obstacle course on the beach and staged the world’s biggest team paddleboard race with 160 teams in 10 heats racing on giant Red Paddle Co Ride XL SUPs. CrossFit Deviant Black won the Mask after a hardcore Sunday with torrential rain, which added a new challenge into the competition.
With the support and feedback of the British fitness community, the winning Tribal Clash format has been honed and polished in the UK over a five year period. By 2017 Tribal Clash was ripe and ready for replication around the world. Global roll out plans started in April 2017 with the launch of Tribal Clash Portugal. In 2019 we are taking Tribal Clash to Australia, USA and South Africa, and in 2020 more international events are in the pipeline.