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It was Caves Beach SLSC’s title to lose, without question, and the club from the Hunter delivered on all fronts with a comprehensive clean sweep of the 2024 Sharkskin NSW Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Championships at Cape Hawke.

Sprawling out over three days on the Lower North Coast and battling testing conditions in what felt like the old cliché of four seasons in one day on multiple occasions, Caves made light work of its title defence – picking up the Youth, Open and Masters point score awards as well as being named the champion overall club.

It’s a victory that was perhaps written in the sand as much as two months ago when the preceding Premiership series began, and as highlighted by the heaving crowd of maybe 30 or more that surrounded U23 driver, Flynn Wallace-Smith to film and cheer as he reflected on the win, can be contributed as much to the family the club has created as it can to the skill of the squad.

“I like to call them my winter family but it’s a little more than that,” he said.

“Everyone is supportive and gets around each other.

“This win is really special, we have a great team behind us and it’s been a long road, but we’ve put in the training, we’ve put in the work and it’s good to finally be here and get the results.”

Kiama Downs SLSC legend and team manager, Steve Strong wrapped up an illustrious IRB racing career with a moving win in the 35+ Male Teams event, tearing up and sharing a hug with his team after Nathan Foster crossed the line ahead of competitors from Thirroul SLSC and Bondi SLSC.

The South Coast club would later be crowned runners up in the overall point score while North Cronulla SLSC – the surprise packet of the weekend – jumped from a finish outside the top 10 in the Premiership to round out the podium with a State Championships bronze medal.

Notable results from outside of the usual suspects included a second place for Fingal Beach SLSC in the U23 Male Tube race at their first State Championships, and a win for Nobbys SLSC in the 45+ Male Tube race.

A big cheer also carried over the crowd at the presentation when the U23 Female Teams squad from North Avoca SLSC was presented with their medals after claiming first in that event.

Thanks goes out once again to Sharkskin for being the Naming Rights sponsor of the event for another year and to MidCoast Council for their support of the State Championships at Cape Hawke.

Attention now turns to the 2024 Sharkskin Australian IRB Championships at Miami Beach SLSC in Queensland on 18-21 July.


Caves Beach SLSC – 193

Kiama Downs SLSC – 97

North Cronulla SLSC – 59

Newport SLSC – 57

South Maroubra SLSC – 45

Queenscliff SLSC – 44

Thirroul SLSC – 38

Bondi SBLSC – 31

Nobbys SLSC – 24

North Avoca SLSC – 15

Helensburgh Stanwell Park SLSC – 11

Fingal Beach SLSC – 7

Avalon Beach SLSC – 5

Bungan Beach SLSC – 4

Maroubra SLSC – 3

Forster SLSC – 1

Ocean Beach SLSC – 0

Tuesday 9 July 2024