The first IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) racing event in two years kicked off in perfect conditions at Terrigal over the weekend. Over 300 surf lifesavers from 17 clubs travelled to the Central Coast location for the first round of the 2021 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership Series.
Kiama Downs took out an incredible 15 of the 23 finals for the round one event. The defending series and State Champions admitting that despite being a small country team, they’ve put in the hours and passion to ignite the team for 2021 and develop the skills of their new members.
Kiama Downs Team Manager Steve Strong said his team was running really well over the duration of the weekend and they were pleased with the results. “We’ve had some new Under 23s and Rookies join the team this year which has been great and we continue to have very strong female crews.”
When asked about the secret to the team’s recent dominance in the sport Strong said, “There’s no secret. The core of our team has been racing for a long time so there’s a lot of experience in our team, our management systems and our training systems have all been in place for a long time and now we’re capitalising on it and have been fortunate enough to enjoy a really good run the last few years.”
One of the sport’s veterans, Scott Bryant from Caves Beach was very happy to be back on the beach racing. “So many people look forward to the sport each year. It’s nice, close racing today, great to see everyone back and a beach full of people,” he said.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve always been an advocate for the fact IRB racing makes great lifesavers because these are the people you’ll see on your beach at home that will go out in any conditions and rescue someone,” said Bryant.
The COVID break allowed for the development of new young crews across the state, a promising sign for the winter sport. Queenscliff showed the depth of their young team after placing both first and third in the Rookie Mass Rescue final, a race with the youngest drivers and combined crew in the format.
The weather turned on for the weekend, despite the large swell at many other beaches across the state, the Terrigal headland provided protection from the wind and waves making it ideal for the newcomers to the sport.
Team mates Laura and Chloe from host club Terrigal said the sport provided a great thrill. “The adrenalin and the camaraderie of the team is what we love,” said Chloe. “And it’s such a fun sport, it’s like a little family. This first event is great having everyone here on our home beach, it’s a pretty even playing field and the sun is out. What more could you want,” said Laura. Team Terrigal had impressive results for the first round, finishing second behind Kiama Downs in the overall point score.
The next round of the Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership is at Cape Hawke (lower north coast) 29-30 May.
IRB racing is the opportunity for drivers and crew to develop and hone vital rescue skills in simulated scenarios under pressure. The out-of-season sport also provides the opportunity for lifesavers to keep fit and connected throughout winter.
ROUND 1 POINT SCORE
- 1 Kiama Downs 163
- 2 Terrigal 89
- 3 Thirroul 79
- 4 Caves Beach 73
- 5 Queenscliff 66
- 6 Newport 52
- 7 Bondi 36
- 8 Avalon Beach 32
- 9 South Maroubra 23
- 9 North Avoca 23
- 11 Nobbys (NSW) 9
- 12 Helensburgh Stanwell Park 6
- 13 North Cronulla 4
- 14 Bungan Beach 3
- 15 Maroubra 0
- 15 Mona Vale 0
- 15 Ocean Beach 0
2021 Participating Clubs:
Avalon Beach SLSC, Bondi SBLSC, Bungan Beach SLSC, Caves Beach SLSC, Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC, Kiama Downs SLSC, Maroubra SLSC, Mona Vale SLSC, Newport SLSC, Nobbys SLSC, North Avoca SLSC, North Cronulla SLSC, Ocean Beach SLSC, Queenscliff SLSC, South Maroubra SLSC, Terrigal SLSC, Thirroul SLSC
Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership rounds:
- Round 1: 15-16 May, Terrigal SLSC (Central Coast)
- Round 2: 29-30 May, Cape Hawke SLSC (Lower North Coast)
- Round 3: 12-13 June, Warilla Barrack Point SLSC (South Coast)
- Round 4: 26-27 June, Ocean Beach SLSC (Central Coast)
NSW IRB Championships: 10-11 July, South West Rocks SLSC (Mid North Coast)
- IRB Rescue
- IRB Mass Rescue
- IRB Teams Rescue
- IRB Rescue Tube
- IRB Relay
Male and Female Divisions:
- Rookie (second year driving/over 18 years old)
- Under 23