woodside nippers

Welcome to the Swanny Woodside Nippers program

Welcome to the Swanbourne Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club Woodside Nippers program – or Swanny Nippers!

Our Woodside Nippers program introduces children aged 5 to 13 to surf lifesaving. It is a fun outdoor activity that grows a child’s confidence, teaches valuable life saving skills and surf knowledge.

Our Nippers are the future of Surf Life Saving, and the program pathway teaches lessons and skills allowing them to continue in lifesaving and sport as they grow older. Woodside Nippers is a great way for children to make friends, be active and enjoy the beach in a safe environment. It is also a great activity all the family can be involved in.

Woodside Nippers at Swanny Surf Club runs every Sunday morning 8.45am -10am from late October until end of March, with a break over the Christmas period and public holiday weekends.

Our Woodside Nippers program relies heavily on parent help and there is a role for everyone regardless of swimming ability and surf experience.

For new family memberships follow the process here – How to join / New Members

Renewing family memberships here – Renew Membership

Important Dates:

Pool session at Claremont Pool (for all Nippers) – Sunday 28 October 8am
Nippers begins (first beach session) – Sunday 7 November, 7:45am


Contact the club officers using our Contact Us form

Junior Development Manager
All Woodside Nipper and general club queries
Erin Gallagher
m: 0408 575 755

Club Administrator (Wed, Thurs, Fri 9am – 5pm)
Membership and general club queries
Jacqui Ross
P: 9384 0020


Children must be 5 years old as at 1 October to join the Woodside Nipper program. Sorry, no exceptions can be made.

Woodside Nipper age groups

Nipper age groups run from Under 6 to Under 13, with a dedicated and enthusiastic Age Group Manager responsible for each age group. Age groups for the 2020/2021 season are;

Age GroupDate of birth
Under 61/10/2015 – 30/09/2016
Under 71/10/2014 – 30/09/2015
Under 81/10/2013 – 30/09/2014
Under 91/10/2012 – 30/09/2013
Under 101/10/2011 – 30/09/2012
Under 111/10/2010 – 30/09/2011
Under 121/10/2009 – 30/09/2010
Under 131/10/2008 – 30/09/2009

Thanks to the partnership between Surf Life Saving WA and Woodside, all Nippers will receive their very own cap, hi vis vest, beach bag and hat. Kids MUST wear their cap and hi vis vest to every session – the caps and vests help our Age Group Managers and Water Safety team keep track of the kids. Both are crucial to the safe running of our program.

No cap, no hi vis vest = no participation

We will have a very limited number of spare caps and vests, so please ensure all your children bring their own each Sunday.

All Nippers are encouraged to wear a long sleeve rashie during beach activities. Please also bring a water bottle and make sure your child is covered in sunscreen. Wetsuits are fine if your child feels the cold.

Club bathers and rashies are available from the Swanny clothing store. Any brand bathers and rashie can be worn but we find most kids like to wear the Swanny gear. Boardies, ill-fitting rashies and t-shirts are not suitable to wear during Woodside Nippers.

The type of activities your child will be involved in include water activities such as swimming or board paddling, beach activities such as sprints and flags, lifesaving education and fun water/beach games.

Set up, 8.30am
Many hands make light work. Whilst we advertise our Woodside Nipper sessions as starting at 9.00am, we always appreciate having extra hands at the boatshed by 8.30am to assist with getting the equipment down to the beach.

Water safety briefing, 8.45am
All parents assisting with water safety need to attend a Water Safety Briefing prior to each session. Our Water Safety Officer will run through the conditions on the day and highlight any potential risks and how these will be managed. This briefing ensures everyone is on the same page when it comes to keeping our kids safe in the water.

Session begins, 9am
Children must be signed in by a parent or guardian. Please do not put caps on until your child has been signed in.

Session ends, 10am
All our Woodside Nippers must be signed in and out by a parent or guardian. Once your child has been signed out, their cap must be removed and the children become your responsibility. If we can’t see you at the end of the session your child will not be able to leave. Every Sunday our Nippers enjoy improving their board paddling skills. If your Nipper has paddles a board please make sure they carry it back to the boatshed, wash it and place it back in the correct location. Our Age Group Managers are not the ones paddling, so it’s not fair that they are left to carry all the boards back.


We can’t run Nippers without plenty of parent help. Every Nipper family must have at least one parent actively helping on a Sunday morning. For the younger groups (Under 6 and Under 7) this means getting wet up to your chest and acting as a marker for water activities.

For the older age groups (Under 10 to Under 13) one parent from each family will need to complete a simple Nipper Rescue Certificate, giving you the skills to provide basic water safety should a child need assistance.

This Nipper Rescue Certificate course is easily completed by anyone with an average swimming ability.

This course takes only an hour or so to complete, with a course scheduled for November 2020.

Upon completing this course you will be rostered on to a Nipper water safety patrol (called a Cygnet patrol) once a month. We find most parents are keen to get in the water every Sunday, which is greatly appreciated. Kids simply love having Mum or Dad helping with their group.

If you’re not a strong or confident swimmer we have plenty of other important tasks for you to help with – setting out flags, giving high fives as our Nippers cross the finish, and helping keep the kids together as a group. There is a job for everyone so please speak to your Age Group Manage

Also called Surf Sports, Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) run several Little Nipper (Under 8 and Under 9) and Nipper (Under 10 to Under 13) carnivals each season. These are held at various clubs in the metro area and one Country Carnival each season.

Our Junior Competition Officer will email all Nipper parents prior to each carnival. Simply advise if your child wishes to participate. You’ll then receive any additional information relating to that carnival closer to the date.

Please note that parents help is always required at carnivals.
Duties include marshalling competitors, recording names and general kid wrangling. Every surf club must provide one parent helper for every 10 Nippers competing. No parent helpers mean the kids can’t compete.

All Nipper carnival entry fees are paid for by the club to encourage lots of Swanny kids to compete. Please note that if you are entered into a carnival and do not compete, you will be invoiced by the cub for your entry fee.

Each season we have a great core group of kids who compete strongly across all disciplines at carnivals and the State Championships.

We have been incredibly fortunate to receive a lot of new soft boards and fibre glass boards thanks to SLSWA partners LotteryWest, AGL and Woodside.

These boards, and all Nipper equipment, are to be used for official Nipper sessions only, ie Sunday morning sessions, club training sessions and carnivals.

All equipment has a designated space in the boat shed and we appreciate your help in making sure boards are cleaned and stored properly after each use.

If your child happens to damage a board, which can happen in the Swanny shore break, please tell their Age Group Manager or the Nipper Gear Officer.

Children of all ability and confidence are most welcome with Nippers placed in groups according to age not swimming ability. Prior to each season all our Nippers attend a ‘pool proficiency’ session at Claremont Pool so our Age Group Managers can get an understanding of individual swimming levels and our Water Safety team know who may need a little extra attention.

Below are the swim tests that are conducted at the pool prior to the first beach session. Preliminary Evaluations are for club activities, those wishing to compete in water based events at Surf Life Saving WA carnivals must also complete a Competition Evaluation.

Age GroupPreliminary EvaluationsCompetition Evaluations
Under 6Front glide and recover to secure position. Back or front float holding a buoyancy aid and recover. 

Not applicable

Under 7Front glide, kick for 3m and recover to secure position. Back or front float for a few seconds and recover.Not applicable
Under 825m swim (any stroke)

1 minute survival float

100m swim in 9 minutes

(demonstrate in pool and ocean)

Under 925m swim (any stroke)

1 minute survival float

100m swim in 8 minutes

(demonstrate in pool and ocean)

Under 1025m swim (freestyle)

1 ½ minute survival float

150m swim in 12 minutes

(demonstrate in pool and ocean)

Under 1150m swim (freestyle)

2 minute survival float

288m swim in 9 minutes

(demonstrate in pool and ocean)

Under 12100m swim (freestyle)

2 minute survival float

288m swim in 9 minutes

(demonstrate in pool and ocean)

Under 13150m swim (any stroke)

3 minute survival float

288m swim in 9 minutes

(demonstrate in pool and ocean)

See our How to Join Swanny page or Contact our club administrator.

Nipper & Junior News