NEW MEMBERS / NIPPERS
Children can join Nippers from 7 years old. We run fun, safe sessions teaching the kids how to be safe in the water and how to help others be safe too.
Due to high demand and very low club membership attrition we are only able to take nippers who are 9 years old or younger (min age 7 years) as of the 1st of May in the season which they want to join.
All new nippers will need to be able to swim (in the pool) 100m in under 2min 30s with a recognised stroke. This will be assessed each year in late March/early April at a scheduled swim assessment event prior to allowing a new member to join the club. This is for members own safety and to help coaches manage individual groups as new members progress to the ocean.
We coach a whole range of lifesaving skills to give them the knowledge and skills to look after themselves in the ocean and to be able to advise others to keep safe and eventually to rescue people in trouble.
What we need from you.
Because we aren’t a swim club, we recommend that children continue to go to swimming lessons separately to help them develop their technique and to help them pass the swim assessment at the beginning of the season they are hoping to join the club.
We expect a parent/guardian to be present on the beach for all children under 12 for the whole of each training session – this is so that if a nipper feels unwell or gets cold they can be passed over to the parent/guardian quickly and safely allowing the session to be able to continue without too much interruption (we work strictly to national governing body guidelines on ratios of coaches/lifeguards to participants).
What will the Nippers be doing?
We coach a whole range of skills in Nippers: from how to swim through a breaking wave to how to spot a rip tide. Lifesaving skills such as swim and board rescues and general surf skills including catching waves on paddle boards and body surfing. As they progress and get older they will also learn first responder skills such a first aid and CPR making them young lifesaving ambassadors in the community.
When do our sessions take place?
Our main Saturday morning session is focused on lifesaving skills, general fitness and older nippers will also develop first aid and CPR skills.
We follow a progressive programme which has been developed by our National Governing Body – Surf Lifesaving GB. As a nipper you will aim to progress each step of the programme year on year. The relevant nipper award passed will be presented to each member at the club’s end of year event in September.
If nippers wish to compete in Surf Lifesaving Events we have a separate training session on Wednesday nights – this is subject to an additional £25 fee (covering the whole season). This session is more physically demanding and focuses on the key competitive skills that are tested in regional and national surf lifesaving events (beach and ocean events).
The club’s beach season runs from May to September on Sidmouth main beach (south end) where are club base (the Arches) is located.
All members are expected to attend our Club AGM and season Briefing which is held before we go back onto the beach in the late Spring – usually April (although due to Covid regulations the briefing for 2021 will be on the beach on the first session on May 29th).
The club’s nipper training times are:
General Lifesaving - 9.00am-10.30am on Saturday Mornings (Main club session).
Competition Squad - 6.15pm – 7.30pm Wednesday evenings (subject to an additional fee and commitment of participants to take part in regional and national events).
N.B. once a month over the summer the competition squad train at Exmouth - so that we can practice beach events in the sand.
What you will need to participate.
You'll need a club swim hat (purchased from the club at £5), this is so we can keep an eye on you in the water, and while nippers don't have to wear goggles in the sea we would recommend a good pair to help them see in the water.
A full-length wetsuit (recommended autumn/winter quality 4/3mm). No shorties - as these do not keep youngsters warm. The club can help you to choose too if you have never owned a suit. Staying warm is essential for a young person’s enjoyment of the session and safety.
Nippers will also need boots at the beginning of the season - which also protect your feet when walking over Sidmouth’s pebbles.
Wetsuit gloves may be a good idea at the beginning of the season (you will know how your child reacts to the cold water and if these are likely to be necessary).
What you need to do for each session.
- Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the session
- Come dressed in wetsuits
- Bring change of clothes as there are no or limited changing facilities (weather dependant), these should be in a waterproof bag
- Training takes place in all weathers/conditions but may be amended shortened depending on condition (another reason why parents need to stay on the beach)
- Bring water and a snack in order to keep hydrated - and you will be hungry after your session!
- Read and follow club code of conduct prior to starting club sessions.
Cost of Sessions
The cost of club membership is £70 for the season. This is made up of the following:
- £25 goes to SLSGB for registration which covers insurance
- £5 goes to SLSGB for Nipper Pathway registration (this is the training programme which all our nippers follow).
- The balance of £40 goes to the club to runs its services and provide and maintain equipment) – working out at ~ @£2.30 per session.
- If a nipper wishes to join the competition squad on Wednesday nights there is an additional cost of £25 for the season.
- There are also additional cost payable to SLSGB (National Championships) or Devon SLS (Devon Championships) for competition fees.