There will be plenty of thrills and spills on the Sunshine Coast this weekend, when more than 300 surf lifesavers from across the state flock to Mooloolaba Beach for the 2015 Queensland Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Championships.
The high-octane event will see representatives from almost 20 life saving clubs battle it out across two days of competition for surf rescue supremacy and one of the prestigious state championships up for grabs.
Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) sport manager Stuart Hogben is tipping some tough competition across the weekend.
“We’ve seen some really close battles over the past few months, and I’m sure that will continue across the weekend,” he said.
“Traditionally speaking, there’s always been a big rivalry between Gold and Sunshine Coast clubs when it comes to IRB racing. Kurrawa and North Burleigh have been really strong over the past few months, but Kawana Waters and Point Lookout are also performing exceptionally well at the moment, so the title is definitely up for grabs come this weekend,” he said.
The Queensland IRB Surf Rescue Championships serve to enhance lifesaving skills through competition, with all events across the weekend simulating ‘real life’ patrol and rescue situations.
“All rivalries and competition aside, it’s important to remember that this event is a genuine reinforcement of some of the core lifesaving skills that we teach our patrolling members,” he said.
“IRB racing is a great way for surf lifesavers to refine their skills across the winter months, with all races designed to test and challenge the abilities of drivers and crews within the competitive setting.
“The skills and surf awareness that teams will need to win gold this weekend are the same they need to patrol Queensland’s coastline, protect beachgoers, and rescue swimmers in distress,” he said.
The Championships will feature a number of events across the weekend, including surf rescue, mass rescue, tube rescue, teams rescue and IRB relay races. Competitors contest the events in age categories of under-23, open men, open women and masters.
Last year’s Championships saw North Burleigh take the title ahead of Kurrawa and Kawana Waters, with Dicky Beach and Point Lookout rounding out the top five.
The racing kicks off with heats from 8am on Saturday morning, and continues on Sunday with finals action from 8am.