About Nippers - Welcome

Nippers at Terrigal is all about providing children with confidence, skills and understanding of the beach and surf environment. We are highly focused on providing an environment that is fun, family-friendly and focussed on developing each of our nippers throughout the season. Our aim is to give our nippers the skills, training and environment to become excellent lifesavers of the future.

Nippers can start once they turn 5 years old. The first two years of Nippers are spent in the Under 7's, the focus here is on fun and games on the beach which teach children basic skills and awareness of where to swim and what help is available from lifesavers.

The under 8's to under 14's partcipate in a structured program that includes skill development activities in both the beach and water environment and an integrated education program that develops basic resuscitation, first aid, rescue skills and understanding of the beach and surf.

Nippers in these age groups can compete in local carnivals several times during the season and we encourage children to do so (to test their skills in a new beach environment and enjoy representing their team) but it is not compulsory.

Terrigal also prides itself on our free and extensive club coaching program, with board, surf and beach training available on weekday afternoons, for beginners 9's through to the senior club. Our qualified and experienced coaches will develop your child's skills in these areas.

Nippers run each Sunday for about 2 hours depending on weather, conditions, program, helpers etc. Nipper events include a wade, board paddling, weimming, beach sprinting and beach flags as well as lots of fun activities and games designed to teach and improve all surf skills. Our Nippers participate in a progressive SLSA Surf Education program providing them with the skills and knowledge of beach safety and basic first aid.

It should be understood that Nippers is a voluntary organisation and is heavily dependant on parent helpers to run successfully. Each Nipper group is managed by an Age Manager (usually a parent who is given training and support) and is assisted by parent helpers and water safety (also parents and others who have completed their Bronze Medallion). We also expect parents to assist with beach setup and packup and the fundraising BBQ when rostered.

One of the highlights of the Terrigal Nipper Calendar is the annual Rescue Day, designed to give all 8-14 year nippers an understanding of rescue techniques and to actually be "rescued" by IRB/Jetski and to show off their resuscitation skills for their parents. It's all part of the preparation of Terrigal Nippers to be the lifesavers of the future.


Age of Children                                                                                                                            

Children are registered in the age group according to the age of the child on the 1st October ie if your child is 10 on the 1st October the child is in the Under 11’s. 

Children 5 to 13 years old are allowed to be registered as a Nipper. Under 6’s and 7’s children attend on an educational basis and are given a non-competitive (game based) introduction to beach and Nipper activities. 

Children in the Under 8 age group are given beach activities and wade races, on special occasions may be allowed into the water to swim. 

Children in the Under 9’s to Under 14’s compete in beach and water events and are taught water safety and surf life saving skills. 


Age Group of Managers                                                                                                            

Children are under supervision of an age manager, a willing parent. Parents must ensure that their children sign on with their age manager, and sign off before leaving their supervision. Children that do not sign on and off will not be considered as attended for the day. 


About Nippers - What is Nippers?

Sunday mornings between October and March, over 300 Nippers flock to Terrigal Beach to participate in a variety of beach and surf activities.

  • Nippers will commence promptly at 8.30am and finishes about 10.30-11am depending on weather, conditions and program.
  • Nipper events are age specific and include a wade, board paddling, swimming, iron person, beach sprinting and beach flags as well as lots of fun activities and games designed to teach and improve all surf skills.
  • Our Nippers participate in a progressive SLSA Surf Education program providing them with the skills and knowledge of beach safety rules and basic first aid.

Children in the Under 6’s and 7’s participate in a non-competitive (game based) introduction to beach and Nipper activities as well as attending a basic educational program. This program is designed to encourage these younger children to gain confidence in the water and on the beach and provide grounding to what can be expected as they grow older and take part in organised competition.

Children in the Under 8’s to Under 14’s participate in beach and water events and are taught more challenging water safety and surf life saving skills. Nippers are also encouraged to participate in Club Championship (competition) and Carnival events, but this level of competition is not mandatory. At the end of the season each nipper will be awarded a Certificate in Surf Education.

There is an expectation from U8 up that nippers will have a minimum swimming proficiency as nippers is not a swimming school. Being a volunteer organisation parents are expected to play a role. No nipper should be left unattended on the beach.

What Activities Do Nippers Do?

There are three main areas of activities: practical surf lifesaving skill development, surf lifesaving theory and surf sports competition.

•    Practical surf lifesaving skill development - nippers are taught skills in a practical manner including skills such as how to recognise a rip, how to paddle a nipper board, surf swimming, beach flags etc.
•    Surf lifesaving theory - includes development of knowledge in areas such as surf conditions and hazards, sun safety, first aid, resuscitation, signs and signals and rescue techniques.
•    Surf sports competition - includes individual and team races and events for nippers. We encourage our nippers to compete and "have a go". It helps to foster a sense of team and achievement in the nippers.  

Under 6 and 7s focus is on beach play and introduction to water.

Under 8s nippers commence beach sprints, flags and wade.

Under 9s and 10s are on foam nipper boards and commence swim and board events.

Under 11s, 12s and 13s are on fiberglass or epoxy nipper boards and also commence iron person events.

Under 14s are on Mals as a transition to becoming future lifesavers

About Nippers - Policies & Handbook

Our Nipper Handbook provides you with a comprehensive introduction to the Terrigal SLSC Nipper Program. The handbook provides you with information on the activities, expecations and opportunities that you can receive as a Terrigal Nipper.


Like all Surf Life Saving Australia activities, Terrigal Nippers are bound by the policies and procedures of SLSA. Read here for more information.

About Nippers - JA Committee

Our JAC meets monthly and its role is to manage and develop our junior program. New members are always welcome and we value the input of every parent and family. A meeting is held monthly and information is on the Terrigal Nippers Facebook page.


About Nippers - Code of Conduct

Nipper and Nipper Parent Code of Conduct

These codes of conduct have been written within the spirit of Surf Life Saving Australia's Code of Behaviour that all Terrigal members follow, so that children can understand them. You and your child will be required to sign the Code upon registration and adhere to it.


Junior Participants - I WILL

Enjoy participating, training and competing to be the best I can

Have fun, make new friends, learn something new

Respect, listen and learn from age managers, coaches and other officials

Always support my team mates

Applaud and congratulate all performances from my team and others

Be responsible for my own behaviour and actions

Look after all club property and equipment and report it if something is broken


Parents - WE WILL

Help our children to become good sports people, because not everyone can be a champion, but all can be good sports

Support and encourage, but not unduly pressure our children to do their best at all times

Be a positive role model for our children and always demonstrate fairness, respect and support for all performances

Encourage our children to respect the rules, their team mates their opposition and their leaders

Respect, listen and learn from age managers, coaches and other officials from our and all other clubs

Support and thank all the people who give their efforts in enabling our children to participate

Volunteer / assist when needed / requested so that our children can continue to participate

Foster club spirit and encourage others to do the same.

About Nippers - Gear and Stuff

About Nippers - Parents Information

How you WILL be required to HELP!

Nippers is a voluntary organisation and is heavily dependent on parent helpers to run successfully. All parents are encouraged to assist and participate with Nippers programs. If we do not get enough help to run our program, events will be cancelled. You do not have to have any particular qualification to help us – there are roles for any background and skill.

If your nipper is participating in carnivals and or club training sessions it is a requirement that a parent (or family member) is available to actively assist.

Some of our roles include age managers, competition officials, water safety, surf educators or assisting with activities each Sunday. Extra hands are always needed to assist with the fundraising BBQ and in setup/pack up. Please take the time to introduce yourself to your child's age manager, we need all the help we can get in organizing the children, support from willing parents makes life easy for all and ensures that the children have a good time. Even if you cannot commit to each week please try and fill in when and where needed. Remember that the more you participate the more your child is likely to feel a sense of satisfaction and belonging to the club.

Age Managers - Each age group in Nippers is under the supervision of a parent volunteer known as an Age Manager, who, with the help of parents, supervises the age group on the beach for the morning and at carnivals. Each group will have also have assistant age managers.

Water Safety Help - Water safety can be a very rewarding way to help nippers. If you are interested in doing your Bronze Medallion to help us with water safety, we are willing to train you, please contact the Director of Education.

Officials for Competitions and Club Championships - We need parents that are willing to do training to obtain accreditation that will allow them to become an official at competitions and on our Club Championship rounds.
A Level 0 training course is conducted by club in each year as well as courses through SLSCC. Being an Official is a great way to be involved with nippers and surf life saving. Terrigal has a proud history of nipper parents that have worked their way through to become senior carnival referees.  We must provide officials on a ratio of 1:8 and the more we have the easier it is to roster over the season. If an age group is unable to provide officials they may not be permitted to participate in that carnival.

Club BBQ, Beach Setup and Pack up - Nippers run a BBQ every Sunday as part of the fundraising for nippers.  Each week an age group will be rostered on to assist and we appreciate a lot of help from parents on your rostered days. Age Groups are also rostered on to help with "setting up" and "packing away" the equipment used each week on the beach. If your age group is rostered on then you must help as directed by your age manager. 

Other Information

  • Nippers is not a child minding service and parents/guardians are advised they MUST remain nearby should an incident occur or should events finish early. It is also important for parents to be present for the children’s safety and confidence.
  • Parents must be willing to get involved with their nippers as helpers.
  • Club costumes, competition caps, and other items are available for purchase through the club office during member service hours or on registration days.
  • All Nippers must wear the appropriate attire while participating in nipper activities.
  • High Visibility singlets or rash vests must be worn from U8 –U14