Australia’s annual Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Championships will be held at Thirroul Beach in NSW this weekend, 13-15 July, offering locals and spectators a glorious showdown.

Five times Australian IRB champions, North Burleigh are in pursuit of a sixth consecutive national crown. They’re expected to stand off against Queensland’s Kurrawa, who upstaged them in last month’s 2018 QLD titles as well as NSW title winners, Kiama Downs, who found themselves as bridesmaids to North Burleigh in 2017.

In 2018 a record number of lifesavers will compete at this year’s National titles with more than 1000 competitors from 46 Surf Life Saving clubs around Australia. Of this record figure, one-third of the competitors across all events are women, including 50 open IRB Drivers.

Returning for another year, the Master’s event will kick off the tournament on Friday morning. It will be followed by a high-octane ‘State of Origin Showdown’ on Friday afternoon which has been dominated by Queensland who is aiming for their 10th consecutive interstate title for 2018.

With a low-pressure system travelling up the coast, conditions are forecast to be challenging for the motoring craft enthusiasts.

But while this sporting competition is a battle of the best, it is also a great way for clubs to enhance their skills for the real-life situations.

“The Championship provides an opportunity for surf lifesavers to test these skills against other crews in simulated rescue events, with the aim of providing a better service to the community,” said Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Adam Weir.

“This year’s IRB Championships are expected to be another fantastic event and Surf Life Saving Australia welcomes spectators and encourages residents to head along to catch the action on Thirroul Beach for the Championships.”

Surf Life Saving Clubs across the country performed 1350 rescues in 2017.

See below for the event schedule and click here for more information.

Friday 13 July

7:30am – Australian & Interstate IRB Championships Opening Ceremony & March Past

8:00am – Australian IRB Masters Competition

2:00pm – Interstates IRB Competition

Saturday 14 July

8:00am – Australian IRB Opens Competition

Sunday 15 July

8:00am – Australian IRB Opens Competition

Feature image: Photographed by Eric Fleming. Image via Unsplash.