NSW IRB Racing Returns

It's racing season again as the 2016 NSW Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Premiership Series is set to kick off this weekend at Caves Beach in the Hunter.

The first of four Premiership rounds will see a strong field take to the water with 255 competitors from 21 surf clubs lining up to do battle over two days of thrilling competition.

Defending Premiership champions, Kiama Downs SLSC and NSW champions, Caves Beach SLSC, will be the teams to beat again after their dominant performances in 2015.

Caves Beach IRB Captain, Scott Bryant believes it’s essential to start the Premiership well especially on their home beach.

“We have lots of young crews coming through who are just starting to realise their potential so we’re looking forwarding to starting the Premiership Series well,” said Scott Bryant, a veteran of the sport.

“We’ll be at our home beach, which adds a bit of pressure for us but we’ll certainly be giving it our best.”

The clubs looking to spoil Caves Beach’s reign include Catherine Hill Bay, Queenscliff, South Maroubra and Thirroul SLSCs, so there are sure to be many more surprises as the action unfolds.

“It’s always very hard to gauge which clubs will be strong each year but you can always count on Kiama Downs being up there, especially with all their stalwart competitors who are exceptional,” Scott Bryant said.

The sport showcases real life rescues and highlights the skill and speed used when protecting beachgoers and ultimately making them better surf lifesavers.

IRB racing very much appeals to the younger members of Surf Life Saving, however there are a number of experienced competitors who can match it with the rookies around the cans.

Being one of the older members of the Caves Beach IRB team, 48 year-old Scott Bryant says it’s great to have the younger surf lifesavers coming through.

“The youngsters all thrive on the racing and there’s such a comradery between them and they support each other and have a great time together,” Scott Bryant said.

“We help them in the right direction and it’s positive for the sport.”

SLSNSW Sports Manager, Rob Pidgeon, says there is a lot of excitement around the launch of the Premiership this year.

“We’re really excited to be kicking off the season at Caves Beach. The competitors have had a long off-season and have been training hard with many attending development clinics around the state in the lead up to the Premiership Series.

“This year the series will showcase some of the best IRB drivers and crew across the state and winning the series is as big as winning the State Championships,” said Rob Pidgeon.

The IRB Premiership Series will head to Terrigal, Birubi Point and South Maroubra for the next three rounds of competition with the State Championships being held at Mollymook on 2 – 3 July.

The 21 clubs competing at the NSW IRB Premierships Round 1:
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, Terrigal, Thirroul, Wamberal and Woonona.

For more information please visit www.surflifesaving.com.au/irbs.

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Photo: 2015 IRB Premiership at Kiama Downs - Credit Louis Tassone

Mon 2 May 2016