What is Tribal Clash?

“It’s like Glastonbury for CrossFitters, the weekend you look forward to every year”. This is how Tribal Clash is described on their homepage. Describing your event as Glastonbury-esque was always a bold claim so Meraki Outdoor headed down to Devon for the weekend to find out more.

Tribal Clash is a weekend of team CrossFit-style events that intends to take participants out of the gym and put their ‘functional fitness’ to the test. Teams (3 men, 3 women on each team) are not told what the workouts are, instead they are just told “You will run, swim, lift, push, pull, drag, heave, carry, squat – as a team.”

Sand Bag Carry

Day 1

The day kicked off with a 1km team log run…along a beach….straight into a 4km trail run which was quite literally so steep some people were on their hands and knees crawling up at times. There was also a 45min timer going. The quicker the first part was complete the more rest (if any) you got before the next event. This next event involved an individual sandbag carry, followed by a team carry that involved logs, sand bags and a total weight of 350kg. This was all before lunch.

After lunch was the slosh pipe (a 40kg pipe filled with 70kg of water) that you had to squat 30 times as a team and then cross a balance beam. This meant if one member of your team squatted too slow or too fast, you were going to know about it when the weight rapidly increased. Pain faces were abundant for this event.

The final event of the day consisted of a series of wooden logs connected to make ‘the worm’ for synchro lunges and then a modified ‘Fran’ that was a particularly spicy 21 team thrusters (with the worm) and then 21 rope climbs, 15, 15, 9 and 9, then a lunge back to the finish.

Day 1’s events were genius. Designed to be inclusive but still tough. You couldn’t just turn up without any training but you didn’t need to be an athlete – a fine line that was well thought out and executed.

Day 2

An early start awaited the competitors but with the tribal drums playing and the MC directing, encouraging and explaining what the heck was going on the atmosphere was electric.

The initial workout involved tyres, muscle ups and swimming all combined. This was followed by Atlas Stones (heavy stones ranging from 35-85kg), and climbing over a 6ft beam. Fun, functional and testing.

Dan from Whatever It Takes finishing his swim

Dan from Whatever It Takes finishing his swim

The CrossFit community are a tight-knit group and vocal to say the least. Since the event there has been some controversy over the second day. The issues lie in the fact that the first event on day 2 wasn’t as inclusive as the rest of the events. In our opinion, that event was tough, tactical and allowed for winning teams to truly separate themselves but still required full teamwork – the essence of this competition.

One of the other events was also cancelled due to lack of time but with an event consisting of 160+ teams, multiple disciplines all with different equipment and insane weather variability it went incredibly smoothly.

The finals then consisted of team paddle boarding (literally 6 people on each paddle board), more sand bag carries and even a human wheel barrow race.

Final Thoughts

CrossFit talks a lot about ‘Functional Fitness’ so it’s nice to see an event that get’s people outside of the gym and shows them there is more to fitness than barbells and kettlebells.

Tribal Clash is not just a competition, it’s an experience. Supporting, competing or volunteering – however you decide to attend you can guarantee you’ll have a fun time. It’s not the cheapest event but it’s well run, has an incredible atmosphere that’s competitive yet remains fun and the location is simply stunning.

Interested in their next event? Check out their site here for more info on next years event and their upcoming event in Norway!