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It may have been a stop-start affair, but there were some positive results for the NSW surf lifesavers who showed they have the skill to challenge the country’s best rubber ducky racers at the Interstate and Australian IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) Championships at Thirroul last weekend.

Although powerful surf intervened which forced competition to be suspended on Saturday, there was still enough time for the NSW clubs to post some strong results on the Illawarra break.

As they did several weeks ago at the State Championship, Kiama Downs flew the flag for NSW finishing third overall in the reduced program behind eventual winners Williamstown (Victoria) and defending champions Broadbeach (Queensland).

In the lead-up to The Championships early forecasts did suggest that competition could potentially be impacted, but fortunately Mother Nature co-operated and the showpiece representative meet; The IRB Interstate took place as scheduled on Friday afternoon.

State pride and bragging rights are always an important part of Interstate Racing with a healthy rivalry, but off-course friendship always playing its part; however, there was a lot more riding on this year’s event with a strong performance putting forward the athlete’s name for selection in the Australian team to take on the world in Adelaide later this year.

After finishing third in 2017, the NSW selectors along with their rookie coach opted to select a team combining experience with the optimism of youth.

It was a strategy that paid off with the blues doing enough to finish second in a highly competitive event.

The NSW team finished the competition with 50 points to their tally, but try as they might they weren’t able to reel in their Queensland rivals who secured 57 points.

It was the tenth win in row for the cyclones who continued their impressive dominance at Interstate level.

The Victorians rounded off the podium finishing with 46 points.

This year was the second season in a row that a NSW beach has staged the Australian IRB Championships, and Thirroul did an outstanding job as hosts under challenging circumstances.

The conclusion of the titles also means that the curtain has fallen on another domestic season.

For NSW competitors their season began at the Sharkskin IRB Premiership Series at Stockton, taking in visits to The Lakes, Umina (cancelled), and Caves Beach before moving to South West Rocks for the State Championship.

It’s been a successful season for the competitors who have honed their skills in this high octane thrilling sport, while also maintaining their abilities for potential rescues to come.

Pleasingly the sport has experienced something of a resurgence in NSW this season with each round attracting solid start lists.

“I’m very proud of the results that our NSW Interstate team and clubs achieved over the weekend at Thirroul SLSC despite the reduced program,” said NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon.

“Throughout the IRB season, all competitors showed amazing dedication to their sport, and this training will be used in summer to help keep our beaches safe.”

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2018 NSW IRB Interstate Team

  • Liam Kleyn – Caves Beach SLSC

  • Oliver Kleyn – Caves Beach SLSLC

  • Luke Walmsley – Caves Beach SLSC

  • Luke Wazecha – Caves Beach SLSC

  • Mitch Lobston – Caves Beach SLSC

  • Jacob Davies – Caves Beach SLSC

  • Troy Kirkby – Kiama Downs SLSC

  • Nathan Foster – Kiama Downs SLSC

  • Aidan Hazell – Kiama Downs SLSC

  • Kaitlin Isabella – Kiama Downs SLSC

  • Kirsty Honey – Kiama Downs SLSC

  • Kathy Foster – Kiama Downs SLSC

  • Felicity Hassett – North Cronulla SLSC

  • Elissa Hughes – North Cronulla SLSC

  • Lucy Green – North Cronulla SLSC

  • Kate Janssen – North Cronulla SLSC

  • Nathan Bow – Woonona SlSC

  • Ben Clarke – Woonona SLSC

Team Management

  • Damien Woods – Head Coach

  • Steve Robson - Assistant Coach

  • Ken Sellers – Team Manager


Tuesday 17 July 2018