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Thrilling showdown expected at IRB season finale

April 3, 2018

Thrilling showdown expected at IRB season finale

Over 300 Surf Lifeguards are set to descend on Waihi Beach this weekend for the BP New Zealand IRB [Inflatable Rescue Boat] Championships finale, to fight for the honour of becoming the top IRB club in the country.

A total of 85 crews from right around New Zealand will take part in the two-day event, which sees them compete in a variety of events including the assembly rescue [where the crew must fit the engine and fuel bladder onto the IRB before racing into the water], tube rescue, mass rescue [rescuing three swimmers over two journeys], single rescue and team rescue events across Saturday and Sunday.

Both the 2018 North and South Island BP IRB Championship winning teams, from Sunset Beach (North Island) and St Kilda (South Island) are racing at the iconic event, which should make for some exhilarating racing. Both crews are known for being the best in the country but with 26 other clubs chasing them down, it could be a tight battle for the top spot.

BP New Zealand IRB Championships event manager, Johnny Clough, said it’s great to see so many clubs entered in the event as it will “undoubtedly make the races close” with so many highly skilled lifeguards taking part.

“This weekend is lining up to be a thrilling season finale with so many talented athletes taking part from around the country. We’re excited to have both the North and South Island champions coming, as well as six other South Island crews, so the racing will be great.”

“We have a big schedule of events too with 100 races to run, so every point will matter to all the teams wanting to claim the BP New Zealand IRB Championships title.”

The various races held this weekend mimic real life scenarios for lifeguards, showing how complex and rigorous the training and exercises are for both public IRB rescues and racing.

“The other fantastic thing about this BP New Zealand IRB Championships event is the athletes are competing in a sport while having fun but while also increasing their skills to help the New Zealand public. A win-win for everyone really,” added Mr Clough.

Join the conversation online with #IRBnats18 and #SLSNZ, or follow live results online here

Racing starts at 8.30am on Saturday and spectators are welcome to attend for free, where they can watch and learn all about the versatility of the BP IRBs that are a vital resource around New Zealand for saving lives and performing rescues.

This event marks the end of the 2017-2018 Surf Life Saving New Zealand sport season which has seen thousands of athletes take part in dozens of events around New Zealand which offers an insight to the high level of skill and fitness that is required of lifeguards.


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