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Tricky conditions are anticipated at Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast this weekend for the first round of the 2022 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership – with 16 teams from across the state set to take part.

Caves Beach, North Cronulla, Helensburgh Stanwell Park and the host club will be among those lining up for first round honours when racing begins on Saturday, May 14.

Almost a year to the day after the 2021 Premiership season kicked off at the same beach, Kiama Downs will be looking to rediscover the form that saw them claim an incredible 15 of the 23 finals conducted on their way to a points total nearly double that of second place.

COVID-19 would eventually ensure the season would become first disrupted, then cancelled, and Kiama Downs Team Manager Stephen Strong is thrilled by the opportunity to be back on the water and put their training into practice.

“The last couple of years have been hard for all clubs,” he said.

“It’ll be really nice to get a good, full season of racing in.

“We got through Covid but the weather gods have been a bit naughty the last few months which has caused a bit of a change to training where we’ve been working with a few of our new competitors who are acting as patients in and around the cans, and on starts and finishes.

“Everyone is in the same boat though, we’re ready to go.”

Despite dominating at Terrigal a year ago, Kiama Downs is not taking anything for granted – particularly given the conditions are set to be a little different to normal.

“Terrigal is a great place to start,” Stephen said.

“Generally speaking, it’s a good, flat beach and it takes a bit of the unpredictability out of play.

“You get a nice place to work on your skills, iron out a few things, but I’ve been talking to some people up there and I’m told that the swell is banging in from the north so we will see.

“It’s the first race back in a bit over 12 months and I think we’re a little smaller than we have been in the past but we will still be in the mix, it’ll be interesting to see how some of the other clubs line up as well.

“This first weekend will be where everybody will work out what has been going on and who the clubs are that will be pushing it at the back end of the Premiership.

“The usual suspects will be there – Caves (Beach), Terrigal, North Cronulla – and there might be a few surprise packets as well potentially.”

Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Surf Sport, Don van Keimpema is looking forward to seeing the 2022 Premiership play out, which sees four surf clubs host rounds over the coming months before the State Championships at South West Rocks in July.

“The Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership is a feature event on the state surf sports calendar – it provides a great spectacle and showcases the skills of our membership,” he said.

“I’m really excited for the 2022 season, which we are confident will be the first uninterrupted Premiership in two years. We know the competitors are chomping at the bit to get out there and we can’t wait for it to begin.”

2022 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership locations and dates:

Terrigal SLSC, 14-15 May

Bulli SLSC, 28-29 May

Broulee Surfers SLSC, 11-12 June

Ocean Beach SLSC, 25-26 June

NSW Championships: South West Rocks SLSC, 8-10 July

Round 1 Competing Teams: 

  • Avalon Beach
  • Bondi
  • Bungan Beach
  • Caves Beach
  • Coogee
  • Helensburgh Stanwell Park
  • Kiama Downs
  • Maroubra
  • Newport
  • Nobbys
  • North Avoca
  • North Cronulla
  • Ocean Beach
  • Queenscliff
  • South Maroubra
  • Terrigal

For 2022 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership merchandise, click here

Wednesday 11 May 2022