U 14’s Nipper Manual


Bridport SLSC extends a very warm welcome to all Nippers and their families to another great year at Bridport! Please find the following information in a printable brochure form under Resources/ Nippers/Nippers Brochure



Nipper parents are encouraged to get involved in the Club as an active member and assist where possible with the management and training of the children. By joining the Club, parents are covered by insurance while assisting on the beach, at carnivals and sanctioned surf club activities, and have access to the Club facilities and functions.


Assistance with the training and activities is more than welcome, it is needed! Every person you see helping is a volunteer!  Without people happy to help out Nippers doesn’t happen!
There is a resource called Volunteers: A Resource for new BPSLSC Volunteers on the website under the Resources/Nippers. Or you can ask your Nipper Age Manager how you can help.  You can assist in any way that you feel comfortable – water safety, starting events, marking lines, keeping score, and so on.

For safety reasons, a Nipper parent must be present on the beach throughout Nippers to assist with the supervision of your child and to assist the club. We are unable to provide a child care service.


Our objective at Bridport is to educate our children to be competent and safe in the beach/surf environment. Surf knowledge and techniques are gradually introduced to the children commensurate with their age and ability – ultimately at the age of 13 they can attain their Surf Rescue Certificate, which is just one step below the Bronze Medallion.


Whilst all children are encouraged to improve their surf skills through regular competition, NO child is forced or pressured to do something they are not comfortable with, or do not want to do.  Our first and foremost aim is for the children to have FUN at Nippers and enjoy coming to the beach each week.


Coaching in both water and beach events is available to all Nippers who wish to improve their skills.  We have coaches to enhance our basic water skills and to improve our competitive performance for those who are competing in carnivals and championships.  However it is essential children are able to swim by the time they are 8 years old and doing activities deeper than their knees. Note that we do not teach swimming.

Age Groups

Nippers are divided into seven age groups – from U8’s through to U14’s plus Flippers (5 & 6 years).  Age groups are determined by the child’s age at midnight on 30 September each year.

For example, a child who is 11yrs on 30th September will be in U12’s.  A child who turns 12 on 1st October will also be in U12’s.  Children must have turned five years of age prior to 30th September before they can participate in Nipper’s activities. Please speak to the Registrar should you need further clarification of the age groups.

The Nippers Program

Bridport Nippers aims to ensure all children who are registered with the Club are provided with:


  •  the best possible opportunity to participate in Club activities.
  •  the best possible opportunity to learn and understand the surf and the beach
  •  a friendly, happy and safe environment for the children who are encouraged to perform to their to the best of their capacity without unnecessary pressure


Age Group Flags

In order to make it simple to locate your child’s age group, we have implemented a system of coloured flags.  As the age groups move around the beach, partaking in different activities, they take their flags with them to indicate where they are. This is so parents and officials can locate each age group quickly.  Get to know your child’s age flag. If you need to find a certain age group just look for the appropriately coloured flag. A Flag colour will be allocated to your child/children on first day, and they will line up next to this flag at each session.


Nipper Guidelines

  •  Nippers commences at 11.00am sharp. Finishes 12.30pm (although Flippers for the 5-6yo’s often finishes at 12n)
  •  Nippers need to assemble behind their age group flags at 10.55am so that Age Managers can mark the roll and the session can commence on time.
  •  Announcements and important information for Nippers and parents is communicated at the start of the day.  Please be on time and listen to announcements so that you are aware and up-to-date with all matters concerning your kids.
  •  Children must wear their Bridport Nippers skull cap. It is the only required piece of uniform and is necessary for safety.
  •  It is recommended that all Nippers wear a sun-vest, and a hat.
  •  Children have sunscreen cream applied prior to commencement of Nippers. (sun screen is available at desk)
  •  At the conclusion of Nippers, children must have their names marked off the roll and remove their skull caps.
  •  This assists the Beach Patrol on duty.  Children wearing skull caps are assumed to be still under the supervision of Age Managers.  Your child can be collected from the Age Managers or at the assembly point on the beach at the end of the session.
  •  The order of events will be in accordance with the Age Group Roster.  Wade and water event locations will be decided on the day according to water conditions.
  •  Our events are still conducted on days when light rain occurs but may be modified to suit the conditions.  It’s usually even more fun on stormy days. Nippers can wear a wetsuit if you think they will be cold.
  •  The decision to cancel activities due to adverse weather or surf conditions or other unforeseeable events will usually be made on the day.  If in doubt contact the Junior Activity Coordinator.



Nipper competition activities entail both beach and water events.

 Beach events consist of:   Water events consist of:
   Beach sprints     Swim race
   Sprint relay     Swim teams
   Beach flags     Wade race
   All age relay     Wade relay
   March past     Ironman
   Rescue and resuscitation     Diamond Lady
    Board races
    Board relay
    Board rescue races
    Cameron relay


What you need to bring


  •  Drink of Water – named
  •  Towel
  •  Sunscreen
  •  Hat
  • Rash Vest
  • Bathers or Boardies
  •  BPSLSC Skull Cap      (or loan a temporary one)
  •  Optional:  Money for BBQ lunch

All clothing  items should be clearly marked with the child’s name, in case we find them.


We really encourage you get involved! Volunteers are essential to making sure Nippers happens.. .and you’ll be surprised fun it is!  Helpers are always needed to ensure that the day’s events run safely and smoothly.  Assistance is generally required from parents to act as judges, to replace beach flags, to mark start lines at so on.   The wade is held at the edge of the water and requires assistance from a number of parents. Water safety is of paramount importance and parents willing to assist in this area are always most welcome.


  •   Training Uniform The only essential uniform requirement for Nippers Training is the Skull Cap (for water safety). All other items are optional for non- competitve training.
  •   Competition Bridport’s official competition uniform is a green skull cap with a panel consisting of white and black printed checks, and a swimming costume of the same colours.  Event Carnival rules require children competing in team events to be dressed in identical regulation club gear (including skull cap and rash vest).




Ordering Uniforms

Caps, costumes, rash vests and other Bridport Club clothing items are available for purchase from Club at very reasonable prices prior to the start of the season OR 2ndhand during the season (ask at the Registration Desk).  Please print and complete the order form (under PreSeason Resources on the website) prior to ordering. Orders will not be accepted without full payment.

Rules to Remember

  •   Children are unable to participate on the beach or in the water unless they are a registered and financial member.
  •   A Nipper parent (or guardian nominated by the parent) must be present on the beach throughout Nippers to assist with the supervision of your child and to assist the club.
  •   Parents are at all times responsible for younger (and older) siblings who are not participating in Nippers as well as their Nipper who is participating.
  •   Children MUST wear their Club (skull) cap at all times) whilst participating in Nipper activities.
  •   No one is to enter the water when the beach is closed or until the Age Group Leader allows the group to enter. Water safety officers must be in place first.
  •   An Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) or Life Saver with a Rescue Board  must usually be in place before water activities can commence.
  •   Patrol members wear red and yellow quartered caps and are responsible for people swimming in the patrolled area.  Separate safe areas are designated for Nipper activities.
  •   Swimming is only between the flags. Board and ski activities will usually occur just outside the flags during nippers.
  •   The Patrol Captain of the day is the ultimate authority in relation to water activities and events.
  •   At the completion of Nippers, children MUST obtain their parents’ permission and remove their skull cap before re-entering the water and swim only between the flags.



Bridport SLSC has an on-going commitment to continually upgrade vital equipment.  However, it does not come cheaply so rules are in place to ensure the equipment is maintained in excellent condition so that it can last us for some time. Please explain to your nippers not to drag or drop the equipment.


Gear Rules

  • Look after it. Respect it.
  • If you damage a board, report it to your Age Manager or a member of the committee straight away.  This will allow us to have repairs carried out quickly and have it ready for the next weekend.


*   Important – No standing on foam boards – they break!


Surf Life Saving Tasmania Nipper, youth and Adult Carnivals are held on several weekends during the season, culminating with the State Championships. All Nippers, in Under 8yrs or over, who have completed their Age Group Proficiency and are financial members of BPSLSC, are encouraged to represent our club at these carnivals.

Competition against other clubs promotes sportsmanship, club loyalty and gives children the opportunity to mix with their peers. Emphasis is placed on participation and improving performance, along with friendly competition, rather than winning.  Final selection of teams for team events will be the responsibility of the respective Age Manager.


All competitors in beach and water events must have passed their Club Proficiency Testing, for swimming competency, to be eligible to compete in events at carnivals, including beach events.  The proficiency, completed at the start of the season is different for each age group.


Older Competitor Proficiency

At 13 years of age (under 14) competitors must hold a Surf Rescue Certificate to compete in some of the events.  See for details.

At 15 years of age Competitors must hold a Bronze Medallion and complete 16hrs of Patrol during the season to compete.

National Age Awards

An important part of our Club’s Sunday morning activities will be National Award instructions and training.  The topics to be taught include:


  • Surf Awareness
  •  Surf Skills
  • First Aid
  • Resuscitation


The extent to which each of these topics will be taught will, naturally, depend on the age group and is covered in the SLSA Instruction and Examination Manual.  Age Managers and trainers will supervise the training.


The 13 and 14 year old group will receive instruction and training in order to achieve the Surf Rescue Certificate. Nippers/Youth who wish to compete at State Championships must have achieved their respective age award.


Our 5 and 6 year old Nipper activities are framed in such a way that they are educational in helping them learn and understand the beach, and allow the children to enjoy themselves without the need to compete against each other. This age group cannot compete at State Carnivals BUT do compete at BPSLSC Club Championships.


Surf Life Saving Australia’s Surf Education curriculum is based upon some key principles.  These principles form the backbone of each stage of a child’s development in lifesaving.
The principles are:


  •  Participation:  The notion that all children should be offered the opportunity to learn about surf lifesaving and aquatic safety philosophies and methodology.   Where possible, they should experience samples of the activities that are undertaken by surf lifesavers.
  •  Social Justice:  The notion that everyone should be given a fair go.  This is particularly important when learning about surf lifesavers and during activities that they be part of an overall surf lifesaving educational package.
  •  Environment:  A supportive environment means one in which assistance is provided by parents, teachers, instructors, coaches, clubs, etc. which promotes the development of surf lifesaving and aquatic safety education and skills.


Surf education is designed to develop and enhance essential skills and understandings.

Fund Raising

Funds are always needed to repair, replace and update the equipment and training aids for Nippers.  Funds also allow us to hold functions and the purchase of trophies and medallions.  Therefore, our Fundraising Committee needs your support to raise these necessary funds. Participation can be at any level from buying/selling raffle tickets to donations of goods, helping with the BBQ’s or offering your time and skills to organise events on behalf of the Club.



  •   Ensure you obtain the regular copy of our newsletter to keep up-to-date with information and happenings.
  •  The club’s newsletters are available on the website at:
  •   It is important that if you have an active email address, to receive updates, as this is our main method of communication.  It keeps costs and admin labour to a minimum for our volunteers AND is enviro-friendly. Please contact the [email protected] if your email changes.
  •   If you do not have an email address please let us know.



A big effort has been made to cover everything you need to know about Bridport Nippers in this booklet.  However, some day-to-day on-going decisions may have to be made or changes to dates may occur.  Please bear this in mind. The Committee will attempt to make the fairest decisions at all times.


Any changes to dates will be announced at Nippers, will be included in our regular newsletter, and on the club Website and our Facebook page


Several social events and fundraisers are held throughout the season.  Please support them to the best of your ability – all proceeds go towards gear and equipment for our Nippers, Youth and Rescue training.



Committee Meetings are held regularly. If you would like to raise a matter and bring it to the attention of the Committee, you are most welcome. To do this, please contact the Secretary [email protected]  who will contact you regarding

your concern.

Junior Surf – Nippers

From the age of 7 years children can join their local Surf Life Saving Club to participate in Junior Surf Lifesaving. We encourage children to have fun and develop their skills, so they can enjoy the beach and one day might be able to save someone else too. It’s about developing tomorrow’s lifesavers and opening up a whole new world to children.

Junior Development Awards

The Junior Development Program pathways knowledge and skills learning outcomes through lessons that are tailored to each of the age groups; ensuring the content is relevant, in line with lifesaving and surf sports most up to date training standards and most of all exciting! The program is based on participatory evaluation and not assessed on competence; this means your child must only be actively involved in each of the lessons to be eligible for the award. We believe this is the best way to introduce juniors to surf life saving where fun takes priority over being ‘tested’.

For Junior Preliminary Skills Assessment 2009-10 Click Here

Below is a summary of each of the junior development awards:
Surf Play 1 & 2 (Under 6 & Under 7)
Surf Play is the program designed for the most junior members. There is no award for Surf Play – the focus is on play, participation and fun. Activities and games will be the focus of the sessions with a number of simple beach safety and awareness lessons available such as: basic safety practices during activities, what makes up a beach environment, sunsmart guidelines, the importance of having an adult with them at the beach, what a lifesaver is and what they do, wading, beach sprinting and beach flags.

For a summary of the learning outcomes for Surf Play 1 click here, Surf Play 2 click here.

Surf Aware 1 (Under 8)

Surf Aware 1 is the first of the junior development awards. The focus is on understanding, identifying and demonstrating sunsmart guidelines and dangers that relate to themselves, as well as what it means to feel safe. They learn to recognise whether they are, or someone else is, in an emergency situation and how to get help. Ecosurf discusses the beach environment and communities surf lifesavers operate in. Surf sports skills focus on; bodyboarding, wading, dolphin-diving, beach sprint starts and beach flags starts.

For a summary of the learning outcomes for Surf Aware 1 click here.

Surf Aware 2 (Under 9)

Surf Aware 2 builds on Surf Aware 1. Personal Safety Networks are introduced so participants are comfortable asking for help; Ecosurf talks about the impact surf lifesavers can have on the beach. Safety of self steps up a gear by introducing safety tips and the ability to identify hazardous surf conditions. As an U9, participants can begin to use a nipper board, so basic board positioning and paddling is introduced. Other surf sports skills focus on; body surfing, sand running technique and diving for a beach flag.

For a summary of the learning outcomes for Surf Aware 2 click here.

Surf Safe 1 (Under 10)

The first of the Surf Safe awards Surf Safe 1 begins to get a little more specific in its lessons introducing a number of new topics. Participants will identify adults at the surf clubs they can ask to help them, in Ecosurf they focus on water conservation and in sun safety the spotlight is on the consequences of skin damage. Participants learn about rips, recognising unsafe behaviours and relating these areas to preventative actions. Resuscitation is introduced for the first time with an opportunity to experience CPR on a manikin. Rescue techniques are also introduced for the first time as participants learn to use body boards to assist distressed swimmers and experience rescue tubes. Surf sports skills focus on; entering and negotiating the surf on a board and beach relay baton changes.

For a summary of the learning outcomes for Surf Safe 1 click here.

Surf Safe 2 (Under 11)

Surf Safe 2 takes a significant step up in the level of content. As U11’s they have the ability to learn more technical aspects of lifesaving and are able to be more physical in surf sports skills. Participants are encouraged to persist when needing help and Ecosurf gets into energy conservation. There is a strong focus on recognising ‘at risk’ people and recognising and managing patients suffering from a range of basic first aid cases. As a 10 year old participants can learn how to perform CPR and there is an opportunity to work towards a Resuscitation Certificate. There is also a strong section on communication both interpersonal and through beach signage. There is a significant percentage of surf sports skills which focus on; board dismounts, catching waves on a board, board relay, surf swimming techniques, crouching beach sprint starts and ironman/ironwoman and cameron relay transitions.

For a summary of the learning outcomes for Surf Safe 2 click here.

Surf Smart 1 (Under 12)

Surf Smart 1 continues similar to Surf Safe 2. Participants begin to learn about their rights and responsibilities as a member of SLSA, the Ecosurf lesson looks at how weather impacts on the beach environment. Personal health & wellbeing and sun safety is focused on skin cancer and staying fit and healthy respectively. The role of patrols is first introduced to this award as is the managing rips and using them to assist in rescues. As an 11 year old, participants can work towards a Basic Emergency Care Certificate (as well as a Resuscitation Certificate). This certificate comprises of lessons in the human body, complete basic first aid and resuscitation. Some more signals are introduced that compliment the first set previously learnt. Previous board skills come into play as participants learn how to conduct a board rescue. The focus of surf sports skills is to complete all the skills in each skill set and includes; rolling under a wave on a board, diving under large waves, beach sprint arm and leg drive and beach flags race strategies.

For a summary of the learning outcomes for Surf Smart 1 click here.

Surf Smart 2 (Under 13)

The last of the junior development awards, Surf Smart 2 looks to wrap up the skills and knowledge learnt in all the previous awards. Participants learn about what the SLSA Member Safety and Wellbeing Policy is, and in Ecosurf they tackle the issues of Global Warming and Climate Change and how they will impact on surf life saving. Surf Safety is wrapped up into the 10 Surf Safety Tips, Communication focuses on the importance of communicating with beach users, Patrols identifies other professional emergency services and participants will experience performing a tube rescue. Participants can work towards a Basic Emergency Care Certificate (as well as a Resuscitation Certificate). This certificate comprises of lessons in the human body, complete basic first aid and resuscitation. The focus of surf sports skills is on bringing all the skills learnt in previous awards together to participate in an event for each of the disciplines: board race, board rescue, surf race, run-swim-run, beach sprint, beach relay, beach flags, ironman/ironwoman and cameron relay.

For a summary of the learning outcomes for Surf Smart 2 click here.

How do we become involved?

Each Club runs its own Junior Surf Program. For contact details of Surf Life Saving Clubs around the country click here

Most Clubs run their Junior Surf Education program on Sunday mornings from October through to March, joining is as easy as heading down to the beach and signing up!

Surf Life Saving Clubs provide regular Junior Surf competiton events for those members who want to take part in events and have fun testing their skills against those from other Clubs.


Junior Surf Education offers the rewarding opportunity to give something back to your Surf Life Saving Club and community by becoming a Junior Surf Education Age Meneger, Coach or Co-ordinator, no qualifications are needed just an understanding of savingand the skills taught and a passion to encourage others!