Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC Junior Activities

Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC Nippers 

What is Nippers?

The more correct name, Surf Life Saving Junior Activities, gives you an idea - it's Surf Life Saving for children between the ages of 5 and 13 years.

Most Surf Life Saving Clubs offer a program of surf awareness, skills coaching and competition over various levels, similar (though modified) to the events Australia's Surf Life Savers participate in.

Children from 5 to 6 may join on an educational basis, while children from 7 years up may join in inter Club Competitions that are conducted at our Lennox Head beach, or in Far North Coast Branch Carnivals involving neighbouring Clubs, through to NSW Country and State level Championships.

While competition is an important element, the surf awareness and education aspect is a primary aim. Children are taught from the youngest ages how to respect the surf, read the surf and use the surf to their advantage.

This is done in an environment of fun, healthy lifestyle and camaraderie, which is unique to Surf Life Saving.


Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC NippersWho Can Join Nippers?

Any child, boy or girl, may join Nippers. They do NOT have to be super competitors or super athletes - in fact, one of the best features of Nippers is seeing young children who are scared of the water develop through their training - long before the end of the season, these children are joining in with the others.


Age Groups

Age is taken as at midnight on 30 September each year. Therefore, if a child turns 10 on or before September 30, he or she would be in the Under 11 age group for the whole of that season.



Every junior member is required to participate in the Junior Activities Preliminary Skills Evaluation, conducted by the club.  This is required prior to any junior water activity training or competition being undertaken each season (1st July to 30th June). 

To be eligible for competition, junior members must complete an open water swim, Competition Skills Evaluation, which replicates the junior swim distances specified in the 33rd edition of the SLSA Surf Sports Manual.  This competition evaluation (open water swim) must be achieved before members are eligible to compete in inter-club competition. This is a minimum standard water proficiency requirement.

At Lennox Head-Alstonville Surf Life Saving Club we encourage all children to participate in structured swim training throughout the year.  This will assist to ensure they have the ability to participate in the full aquatic activities of Nippers.


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.


Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC Nippers

A Typical Sunday Morning

At Lennox Head-Alstonville Surf Life Saving Club Nipper activities commence at 9am and conclude by 11am. The idea is to have children out of the sun before the hottest part of the day.

Under the control of their age managers the children participate in a variety of activities that range from instruction in surf awareness, surf safety and surf skills using the Surf Life Saving 'Surf Ed' program. Each child is required to have participated in the 'Surf Ed' program for their age group before the end of the Season.  Competitive events on the beach and in the water also form part of the overall Sunday morning program and are dependant on conditions and Carnival scheduling.

It should be remembered that while 'Surf Ed' is compulsory, competition is not. No child is forced to compete in any event for which they are not trained, not capable or if conditions are inappropriate.

Overall, the emphasis in Nippers is to have FUN!

Typical Nipper Events

Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC NippersBeach Events


BEACH RACES - running over a set distance on the sand (50m - 70m depending on age)
FLAGS - lying flat on sand, then getting up and running a short distance to grasp lengths of hose standing in the sand.
BEACH RELAYS - teams of four run a relay over similar distances to the beach races.
SURF WADE - running through shallow water around a heavily supervised course (usually for younger age groups).

Water Events


SURF SWIM - swimming from the beach, around a "U" shaped course approximately 80 meters long, and back again.
BOARD RACE - similar to the surf swim, but paddling Rescue type boards around the course.
RUN/SWIM/RUN - a race combining two sprints along the beach separated by a swim leg.
IRON MAN/IRON WOMAN - 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.

What Does It Cost?

The membership fees charges are determined each year and payable upon joining (usual ‘sign on’ days are late September).

Equipment Required

Lennox Head-Alstonville is fortunate to have most, if not all, equipment needed (for example surfboards) by a Nipper member. Those that are serious in their commitment to the Competitive level of participation often choose to buy their own equipment, but that is entirely up to them. About the only equipment needed are swimmers, a towel - and a smile!!

Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC NippersParent Involvement

Parents are actively encouraged to participate in the organization and running of the events and, indeed, the Club itself. Many parents of course are former (or current) members of Life Saving Clubs and assist with the provision of water safety for events. Other parents act as age managers or committee members.

How Do I/They Join Nippers?

That's the easy part!! Simply go along to the Lennox Head Surf Club on a Sunday morning and ask anyone in the Nippers area on the beach (look for lots of kids) or in the Clubhouse, who to see to join up. They'll point you in the right direction!!