Ever wondered what all those kids, big and little were doing at Newport Beach on a Sunday from 9am? Well read on, and come and join the fun!
What is Nippers?
Nippers is Surf Life Saving for children aged between 5 and 13 years. Children from 5 to 7 years may join on an educational basis, while children from 8 years up may join in competitions representing Newport SLSC. They can compete in Northern Beaches inter-club competitions, Sydney Branch and state carnivals. While competition is an important element, surf awareness and education is the primary aim. Children are taught how to respect and read the surf, and to use it to their advantage. Click to see our 2016-2017 Nippers Booklet [pdf] for more information.
Who Can Join?
Any girl or boy may join Nippers and you DON’T have to be competitive or athletic or even confident in the surf. One of the best things about Nippers is seeing young children who are scared of the water lose their fear during the season. Children with disabilities are welcome but in some cases a Doctor’s letter will be requested stating that the child is capable of undertaking certain events or activities. In all cases, the child would not be expected to participate in any event or activity where the disability might cause danger to the child.
Children are divided into Age Groups: U6, U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12, U13 and U14. The child’s age is taken as at 30 September each year. For example, if a child hasn’t turned 10 on or before September 30 this year, they would be in the Under 10 age group for the whole of this season. Each Age Group has two Age Managers who organise, run and control the activities each Sunday. Most Age Managers are parents too.
Please see our Competition page for details of our competition program and training opportunities.
Parents are actively encouraged to participate in their child’s Age Group activities. Many parents are former (or current) members of Life Saving Clubs and assist with the provision of water safety for events. Other parents act as age officials, managers or committee members (bronze not required for these 3 roles). Any parent who is interested in doing their Bronze Medallion please see your child’s Age Manager who will provide you with details.
Registration for 2016-17 Season
Registration days for new nippers and new members will be held at the Newport Surf Club on Sunday 11th and Sunday 18th, September, between 9am and 11am. Our clothing shop will also be open on these mornings (in the Nippers shed on the beach side of the Club) to enable purchase of club gear and Nipper caps.
If you need to enrol outside of these times please download and complete the SLSA Membership Application Form (one for each member joining). In addition to this, all adult members need to fill in a Member Protection Form and complete a Working with Children Check. Once completed and signed the forms can be brought along to Nippers on a Sunday morning for payment of fees. Applicable membership fees are set by the Newport Surf Life Saving Club Committee each year and are outlined in the Membership section of the website.
Please note: We require that a parent to join from each family. Parents can join as an Associate Member or an Active Senior, if they already have an SLSA bronze medallion and are willing to take part in patrols.
All new Nipper registrations must have proof of age provided (this may include Birth Certificate, Passport etc). Please note children must have obtained the age of 5 years by the 30th of September before they can become a Nipper member. However, a child may commence after they have attained the age of 5.
For any queries regarding registration please contact our club Registrar [email protected]
Activities commence at 9:00am each Sunday – rain, hail, out of control surf (beach or indoor activities only) or shine. We start early to get the kids out of the sun before the hottest part of the day.
Under the control of their Age Managers the children participate in several events. Depending on their age and competency, activities may be on the beach or in the water.
To give you a brief idea of what happens on the beach, there are:
running over a set distance on the sand (50m – 70m depending on age);
lying flat on the sand, then getting up and running a short distance to grasp lengths of hose standing in the sand;
teams of four run a relay over similar distances to the beach;
running through shallow water around a heavily supervised course (usually for younger age groups)
In the water events
(for U9 and above age groups only where the children have met certain proficiencies*) there are:
- Surf swims – swimming from the beach, around a “U” shaped course 80m long, and back again.
- Board races – similar to the surf swim, but paddling boards around the course.
- Run/swim/run – a race combining two sprints along the beach separated by a swim leg.
- Iron Woman/Iron Man – a race involving running on the sand, swimming and paddling a board around a set course.
- Board relay – a team paddles their boards in turn around the course.
- Board rescue – one competitor swims out to a buoy then the next competitor paddles the boards to them, picks them up and paddles back to the beach.
After Nipper’s there’s always the BBQ upstairs in the club, with food and drinks for sale. The girl and boy Nipper of the Week from each age group receives a sausage sandwich and drink free.
Before a child is allowed to participate in any water event or activity (ie. an event where they would be in water out of their depth) they are required to take a proficiency evaluation. This consists of a supervised swim in still water (usually done in the pool) to a specific time and a supervised surf swim over a swim course distance (varies by age group). For specific details see our Nipper Competition section. Children who cannot pass the minimum proficiency are limited for their safety to beach and wade events only and cannot enter carnivals.
Want to know more, see your Age Manager or the Age Co-ordinator. Remember we’re here to have FUN and learn about Surf Safety!