IRB Racing Hits Port Stephens

After almost three years, IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) racing will be back on the beaches of Port Stephens with close to 250 surf lifesavers ready to battle it out this weekend.

Fingal Beach SLSC were the proud hosts in 2013 but this year fellow Port Stephens surf club, Birubi Point will take the reins for the first time and host Round 3 of the NSW IRB Premiership.

Birubi Point SLSC President, Robert Duff says even though the club is very new to hosting events, they’re very excited to welcome IRB teams to their beach and the Port Stephens area.

“In December 2013 we moved into a brand new surf club and we’ve only ever held one event which was a Branch carnival in 2015, so we’re really looking forward to hosting the IRB Premiership this weekend,” said Robert Duff.

“Our members have been working hard to have everything ready for a great weekend of IRB racing so we just hope the weather is on our side because we’re expecting a big turn out from the local community.”

More than 20 clubs throughout NSW competed in Rounds 1 and 2 which were held at Caves Beach and Terrigal respectively from as far north as Forster down to Woonona in the Illawarra and they look set to bring their talents to Port Stephens.

With half of the Premiership completed, crews will be looking to improve their form leading into this weekend and the final round at South Maroubra on 18 and 19 June.

Kiama Downs, Caves Beach and Queenscliff are proving to be the clubs to beat this season with outstanding performances in the opening two rounds cementing their position in the top three.

Mayor of Port Stephens, Bruce MacKenzie says the upcoming Premiership will be a tremendous boost for the area’s sports tourism profile.

“For one of our surf clubs host the NSW IRB Premiership is an amazing privilege," said Mayor MacKenzie.

“We're expecting an influx of visitors who will no doubt enjoy all of what Port Stephens has to offer and a fantastic weekend of entertainment at Birubi Point SLSC, while benefiting the local economy.”

Surf Life Saving NSW Sports Events Coordinator, Luke Stigter says having a round of the IRB Premiership at Port Stephens is great for the sport and also surf lifesaving in NSW.

“IRB racing is not just about going the fastest, it comes down to being well prepared and showcases real life rescue situations involving individual ‘patients’ and mass rescues,” said Luke Stigter.

“Despite Birubi Point SLSC not having a crew entered into the Premiership, we’re very thankful for the club to put their hand up to host such a big event. It shows how much surf lifesaving means to them and the community.”

The third round of the NSW IRB Premiership looks set to kick off at 8am on Saturday 4 June depending on conditions.

IRB Premiership Round 3 entries:

Avalon Beach, Bungan Beach, Catherine Hill Bay, Caves Beach, Coogee, Cooks Hill, Elouera, Kiama Downs, Newcastle, Newport, Nobbys, North Avoca, North Cronulla, North Curl Curl, Ocean Beach, Queenscliff, South Maroubra, Stockton, Terrigal, Thirroul, Wamberal and Woonona.

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Photo: Caves Beach SLSC competing in Round 2 of the NSW IRB Premiership - Credit Richard Black.

Tue 31 May 2016