Thousands of people are expected to flock to the sand and surf of Thirroul Beach next month when the surf club plays host to the national Inflatable Rescue Boat Championships.

For the first time in more than two decades, the Thirroul Surf Life Saving Club has been chosen to host the 2018 Inflatable Rescue Boat contest.

The event is an opportunity for surf clubs from across the country to compete against each other whilst mastering the skills required to complete a successful IRB rescue.

Thirroul SLSC competitor, Emma Lockhart, has been training since January this year in preparation for the titles.

“Training has included a lot of Sunday mornings in the boat, taking turns among teammates to master each skill required for the event,” she said.

“The Thirroul team really get behind each other and it is a great team bonding experience, both competitively and socially.”

Surf Life Saving Australia was impressed with the facilities Thirroul Beach and the Thirroul SLSC offered when the event was held there in 1995.

“I believe Thirroul Beach was chosen to host the event again due to our supportive club, as well as our long and versatile beach,” Lockhart said.

Thirroul Beach at dawn

Surf Life Saving Australia has included an event for public participation this year. This event will involve similar challenges to those of the major championship event.

Thirroul SLSC Captain Andrew Turner is excited about this new addition to the championships.

“The IRB champions will be a great event for the Thirroul community by getting everybody involved,” he said.

A lot has gone on behind the scenes to ensure that the event is a success.

“The Thirroul Surf Club committee has put together a really good event and all the members are jumping on board to help out which is really good,” Turner said.

The event will bring an influx of both competitors and tourists from all over Australia, meaning local shops need to be prepared for an unusual peek in their offseason.

“We’re expecting between 2,000 and 3,000 people over the entire weekend,” Turner said.

The championships will be held from Friday, July 13 until Sunday, July 15.