Copacabana Nippers

What is Nippers?

Every Sunday morning between October and March, loads of little Nippers flock to Copacabana Beach to participate in a variety of beach and surf activities. The Copacabana Nippers program is designed to teach valuable surf safety / survival skills, encourage teamwork and to ensure its junior members have a great deal of fun, week in week out. In fact, as a club within SLSA, we are leading the way with interactive, unique ideas & equipment to ensure their interest is kept all season through & that they leave each week with a smile from ear to ear. The skills taught at Nippers are excellent preparation for an eventual transition, if so desired, into the senior movement. All Copacabana Nippers also participate in a progressive Surf Education program designed by Surf Life Saving Australia. All junior members aged 8 -14 years are provided with the skills and knowledge of beach safety rules and basic first aid.

The Copacabana Nippers program has a clear focus on Participation and Fun. Our age managers will endeavour to ensure each and every child: improves their beach awareness & increase their confidence all whilst enjoying their time at the beach.

Nippers versus Child Minding
Nippers is not a child minding service and parents/guardians are advised they should remain nearby should an incident occur or should events finish early.  It is important for parents to remain on the beach for the children’s safety and confidence.  Parents should also be willing to get involved with their child's sport as helpers. The whole of the family can then enjoy being involved with Surf Lifesaving.


Water Event Conditions

The safety of the children is our first concern. No child will be forced into the water. The Patrol Captain, Junior Activities Director or Junior Water Safety officer are the only people authorized to allow water events to start or continue in the case of doubtful conditions. When children are in the water there is an official minimum ratio of water safety to children. If the level is not achieved water events will not continue.


Surf Education

At Copacabana we consider that the most important part of each Nipper’s development is that of Surf Education. It is not important whether a child is fastest or slowest swimmer in the surf or the fastest or slowest runner on the beach, but our goal is they all gain the confidence to competently swim and paddle a board in the surf.


Our Age Managers will spend a considerable amount of time throughout the year educating the children about surf awareness in order that they gain their relevant surf education certificates. All of these skills are the precursor to our children gaining the necessary skills to ultimately become the future lifesavers on the beach. More information on surf education can be found on the SLSA website.



Nippers are to wear the club swimmers, rash vest and coloured caps according to their age group. It allows age groups to be easily recognised and for safety in the water. The club cap and club swimmers are required to be worn at all carnivals. A complete range of club costumes, rash shirts, caps and clothing is available for purchase on Sunday mornings.




Water & Beach training will be held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 4:30pm for approximately 1 hour. We are really excited to be able to offer your children qualified coaches this season to assist with their skills development in these areas of surf life saving. On both of these days the children will be catered for in various groups according to their skill level.


Club Nipper Boards / Equipment Handling

Training equipment is very expensive to both purchase and repair and should be handled with care. Nipper boards can be used by members for Sunday Nippers, training and competition


Please assist younger members to carefully remove and replace boards and equipment in their appropriate places and on the racks provided


Always ensure fibreglass boards are carried and not dragged across the sand. The sand has a very damaging effect on boards, much like sandpaper. Malibu boards should be laid on the beach with the fin up. Please don’t allow children to sit on skis or mals while they are on the beach.


If you use equipment, please assist with cleaning and putting it away.

Social members do not have use of training equipment.

Parents – How Can You Help?

It should be understood that Nippers is run voluntarily and is heavily dependant on parent helpers to run successfully. Your involvement in your child’s surf club activities will only add to their Nipper experience.
All parents are encouraged to assist and participate with Nippers programs by being an age manager, water safety officer, helping with beach events or just helping with general activities each Sunday. Extra hands are always needed to assist with fundraising each week with the BBQ and in setting up beach events. 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. We need judges, recorders & just good all round extra hands. 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.


Water Safety Help

If you are interested in doing your Bronze Medallion to help us with water safety, we would love to provide you with the necessary training, see the Training and Education section of this site.


Club Kitchen, Beach Setup and Packup

Nippers run the BBQ on a Sunday morning, so please keep your eye out for a roster system that will detail each age group’s involvement. We appreciate help from parents on their rostered day, if we each assist from time to time, then everyone gets an opportunity to have the “morning off” so all parents can relax & enjoy watching their children on the beach. Of course anytime you feel you’d like to lend a hand and be involved please contact our kitchen manager.


Officials for Competitions

We need parents that are willing to do training to obtain accreditation that will allow them to become an official at competitions. We are required to supply officials according to the number of competitors we send, so more assistance is always gratefully received. If we do not have the appropriate number of officials some of our children will be turned away.