Waihi Welcomes Top North Island IRB Crews for bp Surf Rescue North Island Championships

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

As the Surf Lifesaving patrol season winds down one of the final Surf Lifesaving Sport events of the season is set to go ahead this weekend. The highly anticipated bp Surf Rescue North Island Championships will be heading to Waihi Beach on the 26th and 27th of March. 

200 Surf Lifeguards, will make up 60 IRB crews from 20 clubs throughout the North Island. Both male and female crews will compete across several events, each requiring varying levels of technical skill and physical fitness.  

Lewis McClintock, Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s National Sport Manager recognises the hard work and effort the crews have put in to get ready for the event, “I’m very aware it’s been a trying year for many Surf Lifesaving competitors, with so many events cancelled because of the Covid-19 situation. But it’s fantastic we can deliver the bp Surf Rescue North Island Championships and hopefully finish a difficult season on a high note with the bp Surf Rescue National Championships in a few weeks' time. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the crews get out there and give it their all this weekend.” 

2021 saw Sunset Beach take home first place in the club rankings, followed by East End in second, Mairangi Bay in third and Waikanae taking fourth place. 

Mark Inglis, Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Sport Manager, says, “Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service will be looking to retain the bp Surf Rescue North Island Championships title as they’re bringing the largest team consisting of 25 competitors making up 9 racing crews. But with the East End club depleted due to Covid and no Mairangi Bay attending, the door is wide open for Bethells Beach, Kariaotahi, or the local club Waihi Beach, to try and take the title away from them.” 

Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs) are used in countless rescues on New Zealand beaches every year. The championship races replicate the skills needed in real-life rescue scenarios and the athletes taking part in this event are all active Surf Lifeguards. 

bp Head of Country NZ, Matt Elliott says, “IRBs play a vital role in rescues as they can respond quickly and handle dangerous conditions. Since bp has partnered with Surf Life Saving New Zealand, IRBs have assisted in saving more than 22,000 lives in rescues around the country.” 

He adds, “Events like the bp North Island IRB Championships help build more capable and competent lifeguards and are a chance to see the skills required for this important aspect of Surf Lifesaving amidst some fierce competition and high-octane action.” 

Photo credit - Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services