When I was younger (from around 15 to 22), I used to race Inflatable Rescue Boats with Surf Life Saving.
I know, sounds a bit bizarre.
You know the red rubber boats life savers use? Yep, they are the ones I used to race.
Racing the IRBs is a way for life savers to improve their rescue techniques and response time as well as being a bit of fun. There are anywhere up to 10 carnivals held in Queensland each year plus the Australian Titles. Bad news is, the races are all held in Life Saving's off-season ... winter!
In my day, I was the patient, stuck out the back of the ocean waiting for my crew to come rescue me. Not really that fun when I look back now, 7am starts on the beach (meaning 5am wakeups)there were sharks, freezing temps (try keeping warm in South Australian oceans in the middle of winter no matter how thick your wetsuit is), your crem not making it out to get you because they flipped in the surf, getting punched in the head because they missed the pickup, getting run over by the boat cause they misjudged the pickup...
My injuries in this competition were ledgendary...
2 broken fingers
3 black eyes
a cracked cheekbone
a cracked head - when the motor landed on my head
hypothermia (3 times)
runover by the boat at least once a carnival
... to name a few.
Despite all that, I loved IRB racing more than anything and competed with my father (now retired also) and my brother (still competing). I was lucky enough to win many medals including Queensland, Australian and World titles.
Having been away from the competition for many years, I am about to rejoin the fray by Team Managing our surf club's team (and my brother) this weekend at Bribie Island.
I'm actually looking forward to it (and a little bit excited). I will try to remember to take some pics and post them next week along with some of my racing pics if I can find them.