Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club is aiming to make history at next year's state Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) championships

CREW: The Birubi Surf Lifesaving Club IRB crew (from left): Nick McKenzie, Sean O'Rourke, 16, and Todd Bonniface at Birubi Beach.
CREW: The Birubi Surf Lifesaving Club IRB crew (from left): Nick McKenzie, Sean O'Rourke, 16, and Todd Bonniface at Birubi Beach.

Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club is aiming to make history at next year's state Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) championships with the expectation of entering its first ever Anna Bay-based team.

Birubi's IRB captain Todd Bonniface, a three-year veteran of the carnival, said the club would be looking to recruit enough crew over the coming months and debuting a Birubi surf club team in the 2020 season.

"In the past couple of seasons Birubi has joined with Stockton due to a lack of crew members, but we aim to change that next season by entering our very own team," said Bonniface, who doubles as boat skipper and driver.

"The club has ordered a new racing boat, valued at $15,000, and we are recruiting for more crew and hopefully a naming sponsor.

"In fact, all three IRB boats are looking tired and will need replacing in time.

"The experience with Stockton has been very beneficial, in that it has provided a great learning experience for myself and other crew but we feel the time is right to go it alone."

Bonniface teamed up with fellow Birubi club members Nick McKenzie and 16-year-old Sean O'Rourke for last month's Sharkskin IRB season , which is held annually to showcase the best lifesavers from across NSW competing over four premiership rounds and a state title.

The first round (May 4-5) was hosted by the Stockton club, round two was held at The Lakes club, round three at Cape Hawke in Forster and round four at Caves Beach. The final came down to a contest between host club Caves Beach, looking to defend their 2018 premiership title, and rivals Kiama Downs, who went on to claim the title ahead of the Hunter crew.

"Our crew performed very well despite some difficult conditions, we managed to qualify for five semi-final rounds and one final," Bonniface added.

For Nick McKenzie, getting a grip on the practical skills and response time in the boat was an invaluable experience. "Competing on the water does provide that rev-head adrenalin, but there is a safety element as well. I enjoyed it so much that I will definitely be back next season."

At just 16, Sean O'Rourke was one of the youngest crew members to participate in this year's event. He described the experience as a real eyeopener. "It was a fantastic experience and great fun too. I would recommend it to anyone interested in surf lifesaving."

Anyone wishing to join the team, or is interested in sponsorship, can contact Todd Bonniface at birubiirb@gamil.com.

Birubi Surf Lifesaving Club is gearing up for another huge season in 2019/20, starting in September. The club is looking to expand its 'Nipper' program for juniors.

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