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A slew of excellent results for all competing clubs on the final weekend of the Sharkskin NSW Inflatable Rescue Boat Premiership at Ocean Beach has shone a spotlight on the importance of the event as a method of upskilling while the iconic red and yellow flags are down over winter.

IRB racers descended on the state’s Central Coast on Saturday and Sunday for Round 4 of the series – the final round before State Championships in a fortnight’s time.

While competitive, the Premiership acts as an opportunity for drivers and crews to develop and hone vital rescue skills in simulated scenarios under pressure.

Ocean Beach IRB Captain, Jason Smith said events like this are imperative for volunteer lifesavers.

“We talk about what’s a safe driver and what’s a competent driver,” he said.

“Everyone is a safe driver who passes their IRB licence but it’s these sorts of tournaments that show the competent drivers, the ones who will go out in big swell when the conditions are not desirable and rescue people.

“This is what it’s all about, developing those skills.”

Premiership heavyweights Kiama Downs continued to flex their muscles, winning nine finals. Notably, the South Coast club took out every U23 event, underpinning their hopes that they continue to be a dominant force for years to come.

In the Rookie Mass Rescue – a race with the youngest drivers and combined crew in the format – Avalon Beach showed the future is bright on the Northern Beaches, finishing ahead of Newport and host club Ocean Beach.

Illawarra club Helensburgh Stanwell Park, who had taken out each of the first three Rookie Mass Rescue finals in Terrigal, Bulli and Broulee, didn’t field a team.

North Cronulla and Terrigal continued their tight tussle in the Open Female events – Terrigal took out the Teams Rescue, North Cronulla the Surf Rescue, and the pair went one, two in the Open Female Mass Rescue, edged by the Sydney-based club.

Thirroul showed their strength in the 45+ category, with a win in the Surf Rescue headlining a bag of firsts and seconds, while South Maroubra maintained their streak of wining at least one event at each Premiership leg, taking out the 45+ Mixed Teams Rescue.

While his club couldn’t pick up any victories on the day, Jason said the way the event had come together on his home beach – a result of local clubs working together – was victory enough for him.

“We relied on Umina for some equipment, and everyone from all sides of our club pitched in to make this happen,” he said.

“From our nippers to older competitors, everyone has helped wherever they can to make sure we have very little work to do to be able to compete.”

Full results and final point scores will be announced at the NSW Sharkskin IRB Championship, set to be held at South West Rocks on the weekend of 8-10 July.

R1 Wrap – Caves Beach Claims Opening Round of IRB Premiership
R2 Wrap – Kiama Downs Ducks Into Top Spot at Inflatable Rescue Boat Series
R3 Wrap – Kiama Downs Takes Upper Hand in Inflatable Rescue Boat Premiership

Monday 27 June 2022