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Conditions are expected to be perfect for racing when the Sharkskin NSW Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Championships descend on the Mid North Coast from 8-10 July – the official return of the state’s signature IRB event after a two-year hiatus.

South West Rocks SLSC will play host to the Championships, last contested in 2019, with racers looking to harness the skills and relationships developed during the Premiership series over the past two months in order to take home the title.

Indeed, each of the 16 competing teams took part in at least two rounds of the Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership series – the ideal preparation for State Champs.

Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Surf Sports, Don van Keimpema is excited to welcome the State Championships back after an extended break.

“With the impacts of COVID-19 over the past two years, it has been difficult to deliver many major sporting events. This has been felt across all codes, and Surf Life Saving is no different,” he said.

“To have just completed a full Premiership season and now moving on to State Championships, it’s an exciting feeling that everything is back to where it used to be.

“We can’t wait to get up to South West Rocks this weekend and see just how talented, professional and quick our IRB teams are in NSW.”

The tussle at the top is expected to be a tight one, with Kiama Downs looking to defend the title they claimed in 2019, although they wouldn’t have expected that defence to come so many years after the fact.

The South Coast team remains a force to be reckoned with, however, and will go in as one of the favourites, if not the outright favourite, to win again.

Nipping at their heals, though, just as they did across the Premiership series, will be Caves Beach – the 2019 runners up eager to take that next step and be crowned champions in 2022.

Strong teams from Terrigal, Newport, South Maroubra and Thirroul will hope to convert promising Premiership displays into points across the three-day Championships.

“The beauty of the State Championships is that it’s a one-off event, so anyone can take it out on the day,” Don said.

“We know there are some really talented IRB teams making the trip up, so I have no doubt the likes of Kiama Downs and Caves Beach will have their work cut out to remain at the top.”

South West Rocks SLSC provides an idyllic location for the Championships, with the north-facing beach expecting perfect racing conditions – if a little cold – across the weekend.

Club President, Rod McDonagh said the region, just as much as the club, is looking forward to welcoming the IRB teams from across the state.

“We were supposed to hold the event last year but we’re very pleased to have it again for 2022,” he said.

“We’ve hosted about seven State IRB champs in the past, we’re passionate about it. It’s a good bonus for the town and it’s good team building.

“We have competed in IRBs in the past, and it’s part of our plan to start building IRB racing again with a couple of members already who are keen and proficient.

“The skills from racing fine tune your ability and put you in a bit more of a high-pressure situation. It’s all about learning.”


Avalon Beach

Bungan Beach

Caves Beach


Helensburgh Stanwell Park

Kiama Downs




North Avoca

North Cronulla

Ocean Beach


South Maroubra



Wednesday 6 July 2022