Some 1000 spectators, competitors and other event participants were treated to a historic event as Surf Life Saving legend Cliff Spong made a surprise visit during today’s finals round of the 2013 Australian IRB Championships at Mindil Beach in Darwin.
Playing a major role in the introduction of IRBs to Australia from the UK in the 1970s, Spong – a member of Cape Hawk SLSC – was instrumental in proving the IRB’s durability, speed and agility compared to any lifesaving apparatus available at the time.
Travelling vast distances including a 460km journey through the Bass Strait, Spong was able to prove the benefits of IRBs which lead to their mainstream use in lifesaving today.
Having driven IRBs everywhere around Australia except for the Northern Territory, today history was made as Spong did a victory lap of Mindil beach, accompanied by Lisa Happ, the lifesaver responsible for the introduction of women into IRB racing.
Not only has Spong won a lot of IRB titles, but he also passed on his knowledge and passion to many after him.
He has coached several Australian and World champion IRB drivers during his time at Bribie Island.
Spong is also the recipient of an Australian Sports Medal for his achievements in beach flags.
We thank Mr Cliff Spong for celebrating these special Australian IRB Championships with us.