Nippers season sees the kids back in training on the beaches

Nipper Riley Burgess with Newcastle Permanent branch manager Joshua Freeman on Woolgoolga beach.

AROUND 1,000 children along the Coffs Coast have returned to their local beaches this month as Nippers season gets underway.

The Nippers surf life saving program for kids aged five to fourteen will run most Sundays from October until the end of February, across all eight North Coast SLS clubs from Nambucca Heads to Minnie Water-Wooli.

North Coast Surf Life Saving (SLS) president Les Pepper acknowledged the branch’s seventeen-year partnership with Newcastle Permanent saying it is a vital support for the local Nippers programs.

“As well as funding support Newcastle Permanent also supplies surf life saving clubs with mandatory hot pink Nippers rashies to make the program more affordable for families,” said Les.

“Nippers learn lifesaving and CPR, as well as surf safety, awareness, and rescue skills while completing fun surf sport activities such as catching waves, board paddling, beach sprints and flags.

“It is a fun and healthy activity for parents and kids to do together, and a great way to make new friends.”

One Nipper glad to be back on the beach for the start of the season is thirteen-year-old Riley Burgess.

The Sandy Beach resident has been doing Nippers with Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club since he was five.

Riley is one of the youngest members of his club to complete his Surf Rescue Certificate.

He will do his first patrol as a junior lifesaver this month.

“I love doing Nippers because it’s fun.

“I love the competition, but it’s not just all about the competition, it’s about learning the skills that could one day help me save a life in the water,” Riley said.

Newcastle Permanent branch manager Joshua Freeman said Nippers is a vital community program that offers personal development skills for young people and helps make beaches safer.

Joshua said Nippers gives kids skills to keep themselves and others safe when at the beach, such as being able to identify rips and rescuing someone in trouble.

“Nippers is also the recruitment and training ground for our future surf lifesavers, who patrol our beaches to keep us safe every weekend,” Joshua said.

“At Newcastle Permanent we’re here for the community and Nippers benefits everyone in the community.

“The young people I meet from Nippers are impressive and confident because it gives them teamwork and leadership skills.”

To find your nearest Nippers program visit

All clubs accept Active Kids Program vouchers for payment of registration fees.


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