Surf Lifeguards descend on Waihi for two days of action-packed racing

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Surf Lifeguards from around New Zealand and across the Tasman are gearing up for a weekend of intense action and high-stakes racing at the bp New Zealand IRB Championships at Waihi Beach.


122 crews from 30 clubs, including one from Australia, will put their rescue skills to the test across five different disciplines in 18 adrenaline-fueled Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) races, including patient pick-ups and team relays.


The IRB crews are no strangers to saving lives, last season they were involved in 47 percent of Surf Lifesaving rescues.  IRBs were also used to rescue hundreds of people in Auckland and Hawkes Bay following devastating flooding in both regions earlier this year.


Lewis McClintock, SLSNZ’s National Sport Manager says, “IRB racing is fast and exciting and the bp IRB New Zealand Championships requires our best lifeguards to perform their rescue skills under intense pressure. While it’s a competition, it’s still fundamentally about navigating the surf in order to get patients out and get them back to shore as quickly and safely as possible.  With the Lifesaving World Championships on the Gold Coast in 2024 it’s also a great opportunity for crews to showcase their skills in front of selectors as well”


With ever-changing surf and weather conditions, the competition promises to be nothing short of spectacular as life guards showcase their technical expertise and incredible physical fitness.


bp Head of Country NZ, Matt Elliott says, ““We have seen IRBs used extensively in the response to Cyclone Gabrielle and the flooding in Auckland.  Racing against other crews results in improved skills that Surf Lifeguards can use when responding to these types of incidents.  bp is proud to support Surf Life Saving New Zealand and to have our brand on the IRBs and we wish all competitors a safe and exciting weekend of racing.”


The event will be the grand finale of the 2022/2023 Lifesaving Sport calendar.  It takes place from April 15th – 16th, with racing kicking off at 8:00am and running until 3:30pm each day.