Our Aim

Our comprehensive program is designed to teach the skills that are required for our local conditions.  We feel that it is very important for our children to be safe and confident at their local beach.

The Junior program teaches surf awareness, respect for the conditions and how to use the local surf to advantage.  We use competition events (carnivals) to test ourselves in a meaningful and fun environment.

About Nippers

Sunday Activity Days Kick off at 9.15 for 9.30am. All children assemble in their age group and the Age Managers then mark the attendance role. Scheduled activities are undertaken at the beach or in Shaws Bay but are subject to change dependent on beach/ocean conditions. Activities conclude around 11 am with each Age Manager marking the attendance role. Each child removes their cap once their name is marked off.

The Under 6 and Under 7 age groups participate in various events to introduce them to beach and water activities, such as water and wade relays, beach flags and fun water events. They are also introduced to surf safety principals (Surf Education Program). The Under 8 and Under 9 age groups are introduced to water and beach activities.

Our club supplies all equipment needed for Sunday Activities and Carnivals. All members assist with cleaning and packing away the gear. This teaches the nippers about “team work” and keeps the equipment in good condition (especially our Junior Lifesaver boards which are expensive to replace).

The regular Sunday morning sausage sizzle is ready about 11 am and it helps if each parent can pitch in. This raises a few dollars towards equipment purchase and allows parents to socialise and meet other members.

It is important that parents and/or carers never leave their child unattended at nipper events. Your child remains your responsibility. Please introduce yourself to your child’s Age Manager. We need all the help we can get in organising the children and support from willing parents/carers will ensure the success of all activities.

The role of parents is critical to the nipper’s wellbeing and ongoing involvement. Supportive parents provide essential care, education and enthusiasm. A challenge for parents is getting the right balance between disinterest and overbearing involvement, and being able to read their child’s changing support needs. Age managers will outline the expectations in relation to supporting the children and assisting with activities.

Our Age Managers and Office Bearers are parents too – they have volunteered so our kids can participate in junior lifesaving activities. Any help is appreciated, from setting up the beach equipment to cooking the BBQ and helping out on the beach. For our children to enter the water on Beach Activity Days and/or compete at carnivals, we are required to provide water safety personnel. This requires those parents with “bronze medallion” or SRC qualifications to undertake water safety duties. Our senior club members also offer assistance with patrols and water safety. If you have a Bronze qualification (or are willing to obtain one) please let your child’s Age Manager know and help out.

Children interested in competition are encouraged to use their natural skills at a series of carnivals held throughout the season. This promotes fellowship, fair play and enjoyment whilst giving the children the opportunity to learn valuable life long surf skills.

The emphasis in Junior Lifesaving is on fun and education . Children in each age group gain a Surf Education Award at the conclusion of the season.

General information is available in link to SLSNSW webpage Become A Nipper. You can also view NSW Safeguarding children information here. 

New members are always welcome at anytime during the season. See below for information on how to join.

Parents/carers/guardians are advised that as a voluntary organisation the Club requires assistance from you to make our nipper program an enjoyable experience. For this reason each nipper applying for membership with the Club includes an accompanying application for Club membership by a parent/carer/guardian, with the expectation that the parent/carer/guardian will assist in some capacity with the Club’s nipper program. See the Club Policies page for more information.


Come and Join us to!

  • Learn about surf awareness and safety – respect, read and use the surf to their advantage.
  • Gain a better understanding of our beach environment.
  • Train in basic CPR skills.
  • Enjoy fitness in a fun & healthy outdoor activity with friends: swimming, dolphin diving, body surfing, board paddling and beach sprints.
  • Progress through the Surf Education program from basic surf lifesaving skills to the completion of the Surf Rescue Certificate.
  • Compete for our Club on the beach and in the ocean against other clubs on the In the Far North Coast and across NSW.
  • Become surf lifesavers of the future.

While competition is an important element, surf awareness and education are our primary aims. One of the best features of Nippers is seeing young children overcome their fear of the ocean and through encouragement, education and training develop confidence in the surf.

The Nipper Program does not teach your child to swim.  Nippers should be encouraged to do regular swimming lessons so that they can enjoy ocean activities.

The skills gained in Nippers will be carried for life.

Who Can Join?

Any child aged 5 to 13 (on 30 September) can join. Age is determined as at 30th September each year. Proof of age must be shown for all new members.

  • Under 6 and Under 7 Age Groups participate on an educational basis.
  • Under 8 to Under 13 age groups may also join in friendly competition at club or inter-club carnivals in the region.
  • Under 14 junior members have the opportunity of gaining the Surf Rescue Certificate award.

Transition from Nippers to Cadet Lifesavers

Over recent years, Ballina SLSC has developed a program for U14 nippers with the key aims of retaining membership and participation in club activities and developing leadership and surf life saving skills for our cadets. All U14 members will be encouraged to participate in the SRC program according to their interests and abilities. The program is described in the attached document.


Sun Safety

Slip Slop Slap – Our aim is to teach the children about all aspects of surf/beach safety – including sun protection. Parents and carers should set an example – don’t forget to bring plenty of sunscreen and a water bottle for each family member, and wear a long sleeve shirt and a hat.


All nippers re now required to wear a long-sleeved shirt, wide- brimmed hat and shorts between events at surf lifesaving competitions in the far north coast region in accordance with the Far North Coast Sun Safe Policy. Competitors will be required to wear their sun-safe attire to the marshalling area before an event.

It is a Surf Life Saving requirement that all junior members who participate in water events will wear a high visibility pink vest.

Safeguarding of Members

SLSA takes seriously its responsibility to deliver a safe, fair and inclusive environment for Children & Young People involved in Surf Life Saving.


Surf Life Saving (SLS) is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all Children & Young People (CYP) who are involved in SLS. Our policies and procedures seek to address risks to child safety and to establish child safe culture and practices in line with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

We promote equity, respect and diversity by:

  • actively anticipating CYP’s diverse circumstances and responding effectively to those with additional vulnerabilities;
  • providing all CYP access to information, support and reporting processes;
  • empowering CYP by giving them a voice and encouraging them to speak up on decisions that affect them;
  • creating a fun and positive environment for CYP to be involved in; and
  • paying attention to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CYP, CYP with a disability, CYP who identify as LGBTIQ and CYP from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The SLSA Board endorses the Child Safe commitment to keeping CYP safe from abuse and neglect.

John Baker ESM
SLSA President

This Child Safe Policy aims to assist all SLS Entities uphold its responsibility to create a safe, fair and inclusive environment for all Children & Young People. contact