IRB Championships on course for Townsville
Townsville will light up this week when close to 300 competitors from across the state hit the water and battle it out across two days of high-octane racing in Surf Life Saving Queensland’s inflatable rescue boat (IRB) championships (28-29 June).
Hosted by Townsville Picnic Bay Surf Life Saving Club, this marks the first time the state’s pinnacle sporting event in IRB racing has been held in Townsville.
There will be plenty of thrills and spills, with more than 15 clubs from all corners of Queensland competing for bragging rights and surf rescue supremacy.
Amongst those will be a crew of local lifesavers from Townsville right down to Mackay who will put aside their traditional rivalries and compete together as part of an overarching North Barrier Branch team.
SLSQ surf sport manager Stuart Hogben said the Championships were shaping up as a thrilling spectacle, with competitors set to race for the last time in Queensland this season before the Australian and World Championships.
“We’ve already seen some great racing in South East Queensland across the past few months, but everything will be on the line this weekend as clubs hit the water in their quest to take out one of the prestigious state titles up for grabs,” Mr Hogben said.
“In the past, clubs from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts have been the ones to watch out for, but the conditions up north will be a fair bit different to what they’re used to training and racing in, so anything could happen come race day,” he said.
The Championships will feature a number of races including the IRB surf rescue, mass rescue, tube rescue, teams rescue and IRB relay.
“Aside from the excitement of racing, it’s important to remember that this event is also genuine reinforcement of some of the core skills that many lifesavers use while out on patrol,” Mr Hogben said.
“These races are all about simulating rescue situations and testing the abilities of drivers and crew as they’re transferred into a competitive setting,” he said.
At last year’s Championships, it was Gold Coast’s North Burleigh who comfortably took out top honours ahead of Kurrawa and Dicky Beach.
Townsville Picnic Bay SLSC president Jim Heery hopes a large crowd will turn out to watch one of the sport’s pinnacle events.
“It’s wonderful to have an event like this come to Townsville – it’s not everyday you have a Queensland Championship event in your own backyard,” he said.
“The club’s excited, our members are excited, and lifesavers all across the region are excited. There’s certainly a lot of hard work that’s been going on behind the scenes to help make these Championships a success.
“There’ll certainly be plenty of action and excitement across the weekend, and we’re really hoping to get a big crowd down there to cheer on and get behind these lifesavers in action,” he said.
Scrutineering will start on Friday June 27, with the main action to kick off with heats from 8am on Saturday June 28, and finals from 8am on the Sunday.
What: 2014 Queensland IRB Surf Rescue Championships
Where: The northern section of The Strand, Townsville
When: 28 – 29 June 2014