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Greg Murphy in IRB CREDIT: Surf Life Saving NZ
Julia Toomey in IRB CREDIT: Surf Life Saving NZ
Greg Murphy & Julia Toomey in IRB CREDIT: Surf Life Saving NZ
Perfect weather and tidal conditions made the ultimate aquatic racetrack for Greg Murphy to take on Surf Life Saving’s top Lifeguards in an adrenalin fuelled IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) race at Main Beach, Mt Maunganui today.
Surf Life Saving’s glamour event, The Lion Foundation Surf League - which includes an impressive array of world class athletes such as Ben Willis, Daniel Moodie and Andrea Hewitt, was the place to be as New Zealand’s top lifeguards showcased sport and life saving skills in scorching 29 degree heat.
Not one to be left behind, Greg Murphy gave up his Holden in favour of an IRB to take on Surf Life Saving’s Julia Toomey, host of Surf Club 174 and gold medalist swimmer at the World Rescue Champs in Germany, in an IRB ‘patient pick-up’ race.
Cory Hutchings compeered proceedings as the race kicked off with Murphy preferring the full throttle approach, crashing into waves at high speed gaining plenty of height - while Toomey took a more strategic direction making the most of her crewing skills by redistributing body weight to gain extra speed – reaching her patient first.
However it was a game of two halves as the two stars battled it out in exhilarating surf over the 240 metre course – with Toomey taking a clear lead coming into shore, but Murphy gained on Toomey in the sprint to the finish to take out the winning title.
“It’ was a fantastic experience. Holden is a big supporter of Surf Life Saving and it was great to get out on the water and experience what they do every day. They’re extremely talented athletes with exceptional aquatic and lifesaving skills and that definitely gives them an edge. It was an invigorating ride but I’ll stick with Holdens for now so I don’t have to run to the finish line!” laughed Murphy.
Julia Toomey was unsure what she was in for taking on the famous V8 supercar driver.
“I knew he had the experience of coping with high speed so figured I’d be best to use a combination of weight distribution and wave choice to gain a lead. I guess my tactic paid dividends in the water but he was a faster sprinter than I anticipated!” said Toomey.
Taranaki took out The Lion Foundation Surf League title for the second time in the 16 year history of the event - with Canterbury in second place and Auckland a close third. Up-and-coming star Daniel Moodie took out the Ironman title while 18-year-old Madison Boon won the Ironwoman’s event with Ben Willis winning the Beach Sprint.