I’m Sarah, Killary’s resident Kiwi instructor for 2014 (it appears there’s one most years!) and have been asked to write a quick blog post about heading to Rescue 2014: Lifesaving World Championships in September. 


The event is being held in Montpellier, France where I’ll be representing Hayle Surf Life Saving Club in the IRB (Infatable Rescue Boat) Rescue events.  With a background in Surf Life Saving back home where I started racing IRBs about eight years ago, I joined the Hayle club while working as an RNLI Lifeguard in Cornwall, UK for the last two years. 


IRBs are the orange inflatable boats used for patrolling and rescue by surf lifeguards around the world.  Back in NZ, we use Arancia boats which are 3.8m long and use 30hp engines.  These are used at nearly every beach, by both volunteer and paid lifeguards.


Here at Killary I’ve had a slight upgrade in boats for this season, and am very much enjoying driving our 90hp & 200hp powerboats!  I’ve also jumped at the opportunity to try out water-skiing and wakeboarding, as well as Shane’s latest toy; the Subwing (google it – very cool).


IRB racing is based upon rescue scenarios, and in my early days of race training back in NZ, the skills and techniques I learnt were hugely beneficial for my confidence and technical ability when using IRBs for preventative actions and rescues on patrol.  Where I’m from on the ‘wild’ west coast of NZ we utilise IRBs on daily basis, often in very challenging conditions so these skills were very quickly put to use!


There will be three IRB races in France, all which involve the boats starting in ankle deep water, with two people (driver and crew) running to the boats then proceeding out to sea to rescue patients from the appropriate lane buoys. The three races are single rescue (one patient), mass rescue (two patients, rescued one at a time and brought back to the beach individually) and tube rescue (where the crewman must dive out of the boat, swim to the patient, clip them into the rescue tube and swim them back to the boat).  All three races are finished with the boat returning to shore, and the driver running across the finish line on the each.


Entry into Rescue 2014 occurs at club level, and Hayle are supporting myself and Vicky, my UK crewman, to represent them.  Vicki and I started racing together last year and achieved a gold medal in the Women’s Mass Rescue event at the European IRB Championships held in Copenhagen last September which we were thrilled with.


Competition in France is going to be pretty tough, with a number of top women’s crews entering including a the St Clair SLSC girls from NZ who are current World & NZ Champions but Vicki and I are looking forward to hopefully giving them a run for their money!

For those of you who want a better idea of what these world Champs will entail here is a video of the 2013 NZ national champs.

(all images courtesy of Vince Pol)