More than half of the state team picked on Friday to race at the Interstate Inflatable Rescue Boat Championships hails from Kiama Downs Surf Life Saving Club, a team that favours powerful surf.
Competition regulations have changed significantly in recent years, to ensure the safety of entrants.
That doesn’t stop the NSW team, led by Australian legends of the sport Kiama Downs’ Steven Guy and Nathan Foster, from accelerating through waves that instill fear into even the most seasoned veterans.
“We typically perform better in big surf,” Guy said.
“Mainly because of the openness of the beach we train on.
“When you’re in a race, you’re likely to want to punch through 10 foot waves, so there are limitations on that to mitigate the risk.”
The team, including Kiama Downs’ Aidan Hazell, Avalon Punch, Blair Joynson, Brad Honey, Joshua Ehlbeck, Kaitlin Isabella, Kathy Foster, Kirsty Honey, Matthew Lewis and Naida Guy, will race teams from all states in Forster on July 14.
NSW has come second to QLD two years running and Guy expects fierce competition again.
We typically perform better in big surf
“You could argue their season is a bit longer, and they have more training hours, but all credit to them, they train really hard, they deserve it,” he said.
Guy, the longest-standing competitor in the sport, has been racing since 1987, and the prospect of competition still excites him.
“It’s an exciting sport,” he said
“There are a lot of thrills and spills, it gets the adrenaline going.”
In a typical race, a team sprints 25m to a boat, starts the motor, navigates through the surf, dodges a can, picks up a patient, and brings them to the shore in a simulated rescue.
“The beauty of the boat is if you can spot someone drowning, you can pick them up and be back to the beach within a minute,” Guy said.