Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Racing, is a surf sport where local surf lifesaving club teams race Inflatable Rescue Boats under competitive conditions.
IRB Racing consists of a number of simulated rescue events, with the aim of improving lifesaver skills through competition. Competition rules vary from nation to nation; however, the International Life Saving Federation has adopted the Australian rules for the 2008 IRB World Championship.
The rescue events include the basic Surf Rescue, the Mass Rescue, the Tube Rescue, a Team Relay Rescue, and the Assembly Rescue. Each rescue is simulated by a team representing their particular club. For most events, the team consists of an IRB driver, a crew person, and a patient, though this is not the case with regard to the Team Relay, and Mass Rescue events.
Depending on club and team participation, events are usually run in heats, semifinals, and final rounds. Team placement at each stage determines which teams are eliminated and which move to the next round. Competition takes place at carnivals that are spread out over the off-season between the months of April and July.
IRB racing is fast, exciting and very challenging. It requires an intimate knowledge of the boat, precision driving skills, and high levels of physical strength and fitness, as well as some plain good luck on race day.