Mostly sunny, 5° - 17°

Tides - 4:05am - 0.36m | 10:01am - 1.37m | 3:28pm - 0.58m | 10:03pm - 1.97m |

Swell - 06:00 1.5m SSE, 8" | 12:00 1.3m SSE, 8" | 18:00 1.1m SSE, 8"

Welcome to Killcare Nippers!

Killcare Nippers 2023/24

Download the 2023/24 Welcome to Nippers Handbook


Nippers is first and foremost about having fun. That said, the aim is to teach important lessons that will stick with your kids for life, keeping them safe, helping them keep other beachgoers safe and possibly helping them save their lives or the lives of others.

There is a competitive element which has long been an integral part of surf life saving, however it's a sideline to the main aims of Nippers and is strictly optional. No matter the age or ability of your nipper, our aim is for everyone to be involved, get something out of the program and excel in one or more aspects of the program.

The aim of Nippers is to take them through a structured program from 5 years old to 13 years old at which time we hope to see them graduate to the Junior program under the supervision of the lifesavers, get their Surf Rescue Certificate, then their Bronze medallion and become active, patrolling members of the Club.

That said, of course kids are welcome to join at any age and the progression through the ranks is by no means mandatory - this isn’t the Army. However if they stick with it they’ll gain knowledge and skills, learn teamwork and the value of community service, make lifelong friends and have more fun than they can handle.

As they progress, Surf Life Saving at club, branch (SLS Central Coast), state (SLSNSW) and national (SLSA) level provides some incredible formal opportunities for leadership development which of course are useful on the beach, but are also invaluable in career and personal development.

These begin with the U/13 / U/14 Youth Leaders Program. The Club is allocated a number of places at this program and for successful applicants the costs are borne by the club and branch.


Dates & Times

15 October - 8:30am Preliminary swims at 5 Star Swim Schools, Kerta Rd Kincumber

22 October - Nippers at Putty and Killcare

17 December - Last Session before breaking for Christmas

28 January - Back on the Beach

17 March - Final day and presentation party

We run every Sunday, rain, hail or shine from 9.30am until about 11.00am (closer to 10.30 for the U6’s & U/7’s).


Age Eligibility

The age groups are determined by the age of your child at midnight on the 30th of September this year. We have some flexibility in the group your child is placed in, if for example their friends are in an age group immediately above or below them, they can be placed with that group. For official purposes however (primarily competitions and level awards) they will be in the group determined by their age on September 30th.



Most of the membership fee for nippers is immediately expended on things like insurance coverage and fees we must pay to branch, state and national SLS bodies. As such, should your nipper not be able to complete the season for whatever reason, we are unable to refund membership fees. If they have an injury, we would still love for them to participate as much as they’re physically able.


Water Proficiency

Safety is always our number 1 priority. As such, there are minimum proficiencies required for water activities. These are...

  Preliminary Evaluation Competition Evaluation
U6 From a standing position in waist deep water perform a front glide and recover to a secure position. Perform a back or front float holding a buoyant aid and recover to a secure position. (no competition eval)
U7 From a standing position in waist deep water perform a front glide, kick for 3m and recover to a secure position. Perform a back or front float for a few seconds and recover to a secure position. (no competition eval)
U8 25 metre swim (any recognised stroke), 1 minute survival float (no competition eval)
U9 25 metre swim (any recognised stroke)
1 ½ minute survival float
Minimum 150m open water swim
U10 25 metre swim (any recognised stroke
1 ½ minutes survival float
Minimum 150m open water swim
U11 50 metre swim (any recognised stroke)
2 minute survival float
Minimum 288m open water swim
U12 100 metre (any recognised stroke) 2 minutes
2 minute survival float
Minimum 288m open water swim
U13 150 metre (any recognised stroke)
3 minutes survival float
Minimum 288m open water swim
U14 200 metre (any recognised stroke) in 5 minutes
3 minute survival float
Minimum 288m open water swim

It is mandatory that the preliminary evaluations are done and entered into the SLSA system within the first 3 weeks of Nippers starting. If you are unable to attend the preliminary evaluation session and your child is in a learn to swim program where a qualified instructor is able to certify the proficiency appropriate to their age group, this must be done no later than November 30th. Click Here to pick up a form that you can have the instructor sign and return it to Emily Buckley.

If your nipper can’t pass the proficiency it DOES NOT mean they can’t participate.

It simply means that we will have to arrange closer supervision during water activities. But we need to know that up front.

If your nipper is planning to compete at carnivals, something we actively encourage, they will then go onto do the competition evaluation listed above. Obviously being open water this will be done on the beach on a day deemed to have appropriate conditions. This must be done prior to the first carnival.

Even if they’re not planning on competing, the competition evaluation is a great challenge we encourage them to take on.


On The Beach

To put it bluntly, Nippers is not day care. Parents are required to be in sight of the group at all times in case your child is injured, sick, needs to go to the toilet etc. Age Managers could usually do with some help from time to time so we’d love you to pitch in and hold a rope, put flags in the sand or just encourage your child and the group.


In the Water

You may only enter the water with your child or the group if you hold a current Bronze Medallion or Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC). If your child isn’t confident without you, this could be a perfect opportunity to build that confidence, however no exceptions can be made. We always maintain mandated ratios of water safety personnel to nippers so please be assured they will be completely safe. If confidence is lacking it is often possible to team your child up with a lifesaver who will guide them one-on-one and encourage them within their limits.


Club Championships

The U/6 & U/7 age groups are purely fun and learning with some casual competition. From U/8’s onward, we run a Club Championships split over 2 days where Nippers compete in a range of events. Points are accrued over the 2 champs days to determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings in each age group which are announced at the end of season presentation. There is also an Age Managers award for each of the U/6 - U/13 age groups, which is awarded on the spirit, enthusiasm and attitude of the nippers.

Club Champs days are scheduled for the 17th of November and the 9th of February, however are entirely dependent on conditions. Should the conditions on those days be deemed not suitable they will be rescheduled, or just the beach events run.



To be eligible for the Club Champs, you must maintain an attendance in excess of 70%,. Carnival participants are credited with attendance if they are at a SLS carnival.


Branch Carnivals

The club will pay the entry fees for anyone who wishes to compete at Branch (SLS Central Coast) carnivals provided we are notified by the Sunday prior to the event.

Late entries MAY be available on the day, however you will be responsible for entering your child and the entry fee, which will also include a late entry levy (payable on the day to SLSCC).

We will advise the carnival schedule when it is released.


Officials At Carnivals

When you see the scale of the carnivals, you might find it surprising that it is entirely volunteer run. As such, each club is required to provide officials for the day at the ratios below. The penalty is simple - ALL of the club’s competitors on the day are disqualified;


Officials Water Safety
Competitors Officials Competitors Water Safety
0-2 Nil   0-5 Nil
3-8 1   6-10 1
9-16 2   11-20 2
17-24 3   21-30 3
25-32 4   31-45 4
33-40 5   46-60 5

The preference is for accredited officials, however if the club does not have those available, there are plenty of jobs that can be done by anyone and will be counted against our quota.

This is the parents of competitors responsibility.

If your Nipper is competing at a carnival, you will be required to contribute. Done fairly, this should be required probably only once or perhaps twice during the season.

The mechanism is...

Click here to volunteer as either an official or water safety. You’ll see a list of carnivals, select the carnival then fill out the form. This closes 2 weeks before the carnival. Once we know the numbers of officials, we’ll be able to determine the team size we can take.

In the meantime you can click here to register to compete, however the team size will be limited by the volunteer registrations and preference will naturally go to volunteer's nippers.



If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact The Director of Junior Activities. (Email is preferred unless it’s something urgent).

Craig Sheppard
0407 994 177