Northern lifeguards encouraged to upskill through competition


Surf Life Saving Northern Region lifeguards have rescued more than 260 New Zealanders from drowning this season.

A team competes in the Auckland All-In IRB Event 2020

A team competes in the 2020 Auckland All-In IRB Event. Photo: Supplied / Surf Lifesaving Northern Region

They said they were able to maintain a high level of fitness and expertise through surf sport events.

The first competitive lifesaving event of the year was held on Saturday 8 January at Orewa Beach.

Around 21 crews from six Northern Region clubs put their Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) skills on display in single rescue, mass rescue, assembly, tube and team rescue division.

Statistics show that northern region lifeguards have successfully rescued 265 people from drowning this season.

Participation and event development officer Donal Dray-Hogg said that this is a toll that the lifesaving movement hopes to reduce through constant upskilling and training of lifeguards.

“It was great to kickstart the new year with a successful IRB event at Orewa. Despite the many hurdles faced by lifeguards due to Covid last year, our members have remained dedicated to training, making them well equipped to keep Kiwis safe over the lockdown and summer season,” she said.

“Where every second counts to save a life on the water, IRB skills are essential for lifeguards to ensure timely rescues. Competitive lifesaving events where lifeguards can develop these skills continue to have a significant purpose for our lifesavers and the communities they serve.”

A team competes in the Auckland All-In IRB Event 2020

A team competes in the Auckland All-In IRB Event 2020 Photo: Supplied / Surf Lifesaving Northern Region

Red Beach Surf Lifesaving Club competitor and coach Harry Mellor said it was good to see the IRBs lined up down the beach and be back “feeling the nerves” on the start line again.

As the 2021 SLSNR Lifeguard of the Year, Mellor believed that participating in competitive lifesaving is vital to ensure lifeguards can perform to the best of their ability when patrolling the beaches.

“I have definitely missed the thrill of competitions, particularly the social aspects of participating and the motivation you get from fellow athletes at both trainings and competition. My rescue and patrol skills have also developed drastically through participation in competitive lifesaving,” he said.

More events will take place to support and prepare new and existing lifeguards with the skills they need to save lives this year.

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