Next weekend, September 5th and 6th, Nipper, Junior & Youth lifeguards from all over Ireland will descend on Tramore Beach for the Irish Water Safety Surf Lifesaving Championships.
After competing recently in Regional competitions the competitors in the National competitions have qualified as the top competitors in their regions and now go head to head to compete for National titles.
These Championships will see kids aged from 8 to 14 (Nippers) 14 to 16 (Juniors) and 17 to 19 (Youths) compete in beach and open water events of this multifaceted sport which have been designed to test their lifesaving skills in race formats and simulated emergency rescue scenarios incorporating running, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding skills.
According to Seamus O’Neill, the Chairman of Irish Water Safety’s Sports Commission: “The sport of Lifesaving has been developed to improve the standard of lifeguarding Ireland and after the high standards of these competitors in their respective regional competitions the upcoming National Championships will be very exciting indeed with a lot of tight race expected and results could be decided by the narrowest of margins.
“This high standard gives us great confidence that these young competitors will make remarkable lifeguards on our beaches & waterways in years to come.”
Tramore is a great location for this year’s Championships with the recently opened Lifeguard Training Centre overlooking the proceedings and the Promenade providing a great vantage point for spectators to come and view this exciting sport bringing the glamour of the skills seen in shows like ‘Bondi Rescue’ on the shores of Ireland.
As a national championship spectators from all over Ireland can expect to see representatives from their counties in action on both days.
Irish Lifeguards have proved themselves amongst the best trained lifeguards in the world at the last World Lifesaving Championships in France last year and the recent European Senior Surf Lifesaving Championships in Wales earlier this month where the Irish National Teams exceeded previous Irish teams achievements with great success a haul of medals and indeed the award of fifth on the Beach overall in Europe, and to now have a chance of seeing these competitors in action on home shores is an exciting prospect for anybody interested in sports.
These competitors achieved these great results against professional athletes from countries such as Australia where the sport of Surf Lifesaving is a professional sport and the national sport of the country.
A large contingent of these national teams will be competing at the national championships in Tramore next weekend for their respective counties and indeed the future members of the Irish National teams will be competing for a chance to get on these squads for 2016.
The competitions will take place over the two days with the Nipper competitions taking place on Saturday and the Junior & Youth competitions taking place from on Sunday; both due for 9am (approx) starting times.
Both Competitions will go on until the afternoon when the National champions will be awarded their medals and the overall counties will be awarded the coveted national trophies.
NEXT WEEKEND’S RACES
SURF RACE: With a running start into the surf from the start line on the beach, competitors swim around the course designated by buoys, returning to shore to finish between the finish flags on the beach.
RESCUE TUBE RESCUE (Junior & Youth Event): Four competitors from each team participate in this event: a ‘victim’ – one rescue tube swimmer, and two rescuers. The victim swims approximately 120 m to a designated buoy, signals, and waits to be rescued by the rescue tube swimmer. As they return to shore, the remaining two rescuers enter the water to assist. The event finishes when the first competitor in a team crosses the finish line while in contact with the victim.
BEACH FLAGS: From a prone starting position on the beach, competitors rise, turn and race to obtain a baton (beach flag) buried upright in the sand approximately 20m away. Since there are always fewer batons than competitors, those who fail to obtain a baton are eliminated.
BEACH SPRINT: Competitors take their positions in their allotted lanes. At the starting signal, competitors race the 90m (50m in Nippers) course to the finish line. The finish is judged on the competitor’s chest crossing the finish line. Competitors must finish the event on their feet in an upright position.
BEACH RELAY: Teams of four individuals compete in baton relay fashion over a 90m (50m in nippers) course. To start, two competitors take positions in their allotted lane at each end of the course. After the start each competitor completes a leg of the course with a baton held in either hand and passes the baton at the conclusion of the first, second, and third legs to the next runner. All competitors shall finish their leg of the event on their feet and in an upright position. Competitors are not permitted to interfere with the progress of other competitors.
SURF SKI RACE (Junior & Youth event): Competitors steady their skis in line in knee-deep water about 1.5m apart. Competitors must obey directions from the starter or check starter concerning ski alignment at the start. On the starting signal, competitors paddle their skis around the course marked by buoys and return to finish when any part of the ski crosses the in-water finish line – ridden, gripped, or carried by the competitor.
Competitors may lose contact and control of their ski without necessarily being disqualified. To complete the race competitors must have (or have regained) their ski and paddle and cross the finish line from the seaward side while maintaining contact with the ski and paddle. Competitors are not permitted to hold or otherwise interfere with other competitors’ skis or deliberately impede their progress.
BOARD RACE: Competitors stand on or behind the start line on the beach with their boards 1.5m apart. At the start signal, competitors enter the water, launch their boards, and paddle the course marked by buoys, return to the beach, and run to cross the finish line. Competitors are not permitted to hold or otherwise interfere with other competitors’ boards or deliberately impede their progress.
BOARD RESCUE (Junior & Youth event): In this event, one member of the team swims approximately 120 m to a designated buoy, signals, and waits to be picked up by the second member of the team on a board. They both paddle to shore and cross the finish line on the beach with the board. Competitors must start from the correct allotted position. Competitors swimming to and signalling from the wrong buoy shall be disqualified.