Sunday Nippers – what to expect and how to get involved Umina Beach SLSC

Nippers is a fun activity based program run to educate children between the ages of 5 and 13 about surf safety and awareness at the beach.

Whilst at Nippers your child will not only be having fun and making new friends, they will also be challenged with activities in a controlled environment.

The activities are many and varied and depending on age and ability children participate each week in beach sprints, relays, beach flags, tug-o-war, wading, swimming, board paddling, surfing and lots of other games and activities.

Who can join Nippers?           

Any child, may join Nippers once they have turned 5 years old prior to 30 September of the year that they are eligible to join.  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.

Your child does not 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.

What happens on Sundays?

Nippers takes place on Sunday mornings. The 2020/2021 Season officially commences on Sunday 11th October 2020 and will end early March 2021 with a break over Christmas and New Year.

Sunday Activities for under 6, under 7 and under 8 start at 9.00am and will finish at 10.30am. Sunday activities for under 9, under 10, under 11, under 12, under 13 and under 14 start at 9.00am and finish between 10.30am to 11.00am.

The U-6 and U-7 children are given a non-competitive introduction to beach and water activities. They are encouraged to complete water wade relays and water bucket relays every week to learn how to negotiate the water’s edge. For the Under 6’s and 7’s the emphasis is on fun and education, not competition. At this age, children are encouraged to perform to their potential. There is no winner just team and parent support.

The U8 age group engage in waters edge wade races as well as beach activities.

The U9’s and above are introduced to regular swimming and board events most Sundays in a competitive environment. All age groups are encouraged to perform within their capacity with no pressure placed on participants.

From the under 8’s, children are eligible to compete at local, branch and state carnivals.

A parent or guardian is required to be at the beach at all times during junior activities. The Umina SLSC Junior Program is not a child minding service.


For safety reasons ALL children MUST wear a nipper cap during ALL Sunday activities and are to be removed once Sunday junior activities have ceased.

They must also wear the hi-vis rashie provided by the club.

We have an initiative to help improve safety and overall management of all our nippers while they are participating in both the beach and water activities at Sunday nippers; our nippers from U6’s through to U7’s wear colour coded caps, representing the age group they are in. Children are also encouraged to wear club costumes and club swimsuits.

The U8’s through to U14’s will be required to wear the traditional Umina SLSC caps and a pink hi-vis rashie (supplied by club) at regular Sunday nippers, training and carnivals. The caps will also be used for competing at Club Championships and when representing Umina SLSC at carnivals throughout the season.

Whilst sun hats and sunscreen are not provided, these items are strongly recommended at all times. Protecting your child from the sun’s harmful rays is a parental responsibility.

SLIP (on a shirt) SLOP (on sunscreen) and SLAP (on a hat)

Age Managers

The week to week activities of each age group are led by one or more age managers, who are endorsed by the Junior Committee. The primary role of the age managers is to educate our junior members, in a friendly, fun and safe environment, about the surf and surf lifesaving. If you are interested in becoming an age manager please contact a member of the Junior activities Committee.

Age Managers and Trainers for the 2021/22 Season can be found here.

Click Link for UMINA Junior Activities INFO

Nipper Program

Age Group Program Overview
U6 & U7 Surf Play 1 & 2 Activities and games are the focus sessions. Nippers take part in 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.
U8 Surf Aware 1 Focus on understanding, identifying and demonstrating sunsmart guidelines and dangers that relate to themselves, as well as what it means to feel safe. Nippers 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.
U9 Surf Aware 2 Builds on Surf Aware 1. Personal Safety Networks are introduced so nippers 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.

Surf Safe 1

The first of the Surf Safe awards. Nippers 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.
U11 Surf Safe 2 Start to learn more technical aspects of lifesaving and are able to be more physical in surf sports skills. 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.
U12 Surf Smart 1 Participants begin to learn about their rights and responsibilities as a member of SLS, 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. 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.

Surf Smart 2

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 SLS 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.


Parental Involvement

We encourage all parents to participate with their children in all activities. Running a successful club of this size only comes from the ongoing commitment of volunteers and help offered by parents. We are a family club and we need the help of every family to share the workload so that we can continue to maintain a high standard and enjoyable environment for all families.

Support from parents, to play roles as a committee member, age manager, judges, recorder, water safety and just good all round extra hands makes life easier for all as well as enhancing your child’s enjoyment of Nippers.

Active Parent involvement in any part of nipper activities is a unique and essential component of Nippers. Such ‘activities’ could include running in a race with your kids on the sand, to holding a flag in the water or helping out on the BBQ.

At the beginning of each season, training is arranged for parents interested in obtaining their Bronze Medallion. This has proven very successful over the past few seasons. It is essential that as many parents as possible obtain their Bronze to meet the minimum water safety requirements for SLSA.

Many parents have then gone on to obtain their ARC, (Advanced Resuscitation Certificate), IRB Licence, IRB Crewman’s Certificate, or many more awards. It helps teach our children, as well as being a great example to them.

Parents without lifesaving qualifications also have a role to play as –

  • Committee members
  • Age Managers
  • Age Managers assistants
  • Setting up the beach
  • Carnival assistants

Club Equipment

Equipment is supplied by the club and is available for the use of all registered junior members when taking part in nipper activities. The age managers are the sole people responsible for allocating equipment at Sunday activities.

If you use it, then it’s your responsibility to wash it and put it back after Sunday junior activities.

Wet Weather Policy

Nippers will be run in wet weather.  However it will be cancelled in the event of thunder and lightning storms. In all other conditions Nippers will still be on.

Nippers take place on Sunday mornings- Start Dates to Be confirmed