The annual Bay of Plenty Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Long Haul is back for its fifth year as crews tackle physically and mentally demanding challenges as they race from Ohope Beach to Mount Maunganui Main Beach.
Taking place this Saturday, the event will be set over five stages where all crews will begin with a mass start and then race side-by-side to the next destination.
Depending on conditions, crews will race for approximately two to three hours. At each of the five stages, crews will be required to carry out a number of challenging exercises such as assembling and breaking down their equipment and performing rescues.
They will have 10 minutes to recover before the next mass start, setting them on their way to the next stage challenge.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Sport Manager Mark Inglis says the format was changed to a stage race last year to allow for closer racing.
"The event is designed to test Surf Lifeguards' ability to respond to a callout or rescue and often it's only seconds separating the crews when they hit the beach to start each of the challenges," he says.
The event has been growing in size each year and last year saw Auckland's Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club finishing just two seconds ahead of Red Beach.
Mr Inglis says the conditions are looking near-perfect for some very fast racing, with no swell and very little wind forecast for Saturday.
Racing begins at Ohope Beach at 10am and crews are expected at the Matata, Pukehina, Papamoa and Omanu stages every half hour through to around 12.30pm for the final stage at Mount Maunganui Main Beach.
Spectators are welcome to view the challenges at each stage location.
For more information about the event, click here.
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager, SLSNZ
Phone 0276 488 823