Fun mountain bike race

Strand Surf Lifesaving Club Nippers in action at a recent competition.

Strand Surf Lifesaving Club is inviting all interested parents and children to visit the club to find out more about becoming a Nipper – a lifeguard in training – or joining the club in the upcoming season.

Visit the club on Sunday October 8, at 10am, when training starts, to find out more. Training starts with learning basic water safety skills and first aid skills and progresses to learning how to use craft and compete in various disciplines as a Nipper, by representing the club at competitions.

The term Nipper is used to identify a young member of the lifesaving movement who is between eight and fourteen years old.

Lifesaving South Africa’s Nippers are an important part of the organisation and the clubs are specifically involved with the training and developing of South African youth in the primary principles of surf and pool safety. Younger family members, aged five to eight, can also take part and are called Micro-Nippers.

Nippers is also a sport and, as such, we compete against various clubs in and around the country. Children do not have to compete and are welcome to be a non-competing Nipper until such time as they feel confident enough to compete, at which time they will have to qualify. Qualifying is done all through the season and is done under the auspices of Lifesaving South Africa, according to set criteria for each age group.

Competitions and training takes place on Sundays, with the national championships taking place in Port Elizabeth next year during the first week of April, which is open to all qualified Nippers, not just those who may make a provincial team.

Competition events include various beach and surf events such as a surf swim and run swim run event, body board and knee board races, surf relay events, beach sprints, beach flags and a beach long run. Nippers can compete in the events in which they feel comfortable. Sometimes they will be competing in a team and other times individually. The top eight Nippers or Nipper teams in each event gain points for their clubs.

Training takes place from 10am to noon on a Sunday during the school term. Training is undertaken by parents of Nippers and it takes place close to the club, in sight of the lifeguards.

Strand Surf Lifesaving Club has an enthusiastic and motivated base of young members and would like to expand its nucleus of members not only to increase numbers, but to introduce previously disadvantaged children to lifesaving and develop them into competent and competitive lifesavers.

Lifesaving is a summer sport and is an excellent fitness, endurance and strength builder for the winter sports which follow.

The sea/surf training which the Nippers experience, teaches them how to read the surf, what to do when caught in a rip tide, and the extent of their own ability in the sea, and these lessons will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Strand Surf Lifesaving Club would like to appeal to the parents of children in Strand, Gordon’s Bay and surrounding areas to bring their children down and allow them to be part of the SSLC, and possibly save a life one day.

Contact Carika Meyer at carika@blockandchisel.co.za for more information.