Skip to main content

Kiama Downs SLSC has taken out a spectacular back-to-back win at the 2019 Sharkskin NSW Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Championships.

The south coast club who won the 2019 Sharkskin Premiershipin June are now celebrating their eighth State Championship title (and five wins over the last six years) after winning gold medals including; Open Mixed Relay, 35+ Years Mixed Teams Rescue, Open Male Teams Rescue, Open Female Teams Rescue and the Open Male Rescue championship events.

Kiama Downs SLSC team manager Steve Strong said that the team and the club were over the moon with the result and were looking forward to taking their success into the Australian Championships.

“To back up our wins from the premiership and as defending state champions is sensational. We’re very proud to bring home another title,” said Strong. “We didn’t think we were in the mix early on but as soon as we got into the teams events everyone was on a roll.

“We’ve always been really strong in the teams events and mass rescues,” Strong continued. “The whole team loves them, so we train really hard all year on changeovers and turn-arounds.”

The event was hosted by Cape Hawke SLSC on the state’s lower north coast over the weekend in challenging conditions. Due to the increase in swell throughout Saturday, on Sunday the event was moved from Cape Hawke’s One Mile Beach to Forster.

“Conditions were really challenging on Saturday,” said Strong. “The surf was large but it was also very choppy. It was challenging for every crew. To make it through the rounds you had to be smart, you had to drive to the conditions not flat out. It was a great call by the competition and safety committee to move to Forster on Sunday. It gave everyone the best chance of finishing the event.”

SLSNSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon commended the Cape Hawke work party and event officials for a smooth relocation of venues. “The ability of our teams to move to Forster enabled us to continue with the event. Drivers and crews also showed exceptional skills in the surf which enabled the competition to progress.”

Steve Strong commented that it takes experience to race in those conditions. “The strength of the crews racing was a credit to the coaches and the skills passed on from years of experience racing and on patrol. To watch the level of expertise out there by all crews was amazing. These are the people you want to come and get you in a rescue situation.”

With Kiama Downs SLSC, the defending state champions, also winning the premiership, the grand prize of a Mercury two-stroke motor was awarded to second place Caves Beach SLSC. In the spirit of competition Caves Beach donated the prop from the motor to the random draw, which was won by Thirroul SLSC.

Due to time restrictions the Mass Rescue and the IRB Relay finals were not contested. 

The Australian Championships will take place 11-14 July 2019 at Kingscliff Beach, NSW.

Race formats in the 2019 Sharkskin NSW State Championshipsinclude;

  • IRB Rescue

  • IRB Mass Rescue

  • IRB Teams Rescue

  • IRB Rescue Tube

  • IRB Relay

Male and Female Divisions:

  • Rookie(first year driving/over 18 years old)

  • Under 23

  • 35+

  • 45+

  • Open

Competing Clubs:

Avalon Beach SLSC, Bondi Surf Bathers, Coogee SLSC, Forster SLSC, Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC, Kiama Downs SLSC, Maroubra SLSC, North Avoca SLSC, North Cronulla SLSC, Newcastle SLSC, Nobbys SLSC, Newport SLSC, Ocean Beach SLSC, Queenscliff SLSC, South Maroubra SLSC, Stockton SLSC, Terrigal SLSC, Thirroul SLSC, Umina Beach SLSC, Woonona SLSC, Caves Beach SLSC. 

*2 November 2019 also marks the 50th anniversary since IRBs were introduced to Surf Life Saving.

kiama downs
Kiama Downs SLSC photo by Alan Freeman

Caves Beach SLSC
Caves Beach SLSC  photo by Alan Freeman

North Cronulla SLSC
North Cronulla SLSC  photo by Alan Freeman

Queenscliff SLSC
Queenscliff SLSC  photo by Alan Freeman

Terrigal SLSC
Terrigal SLSC  photo by Alan Freeman