Competitions

NIPPER CARNIVALS

The Victorian Junior Surf Carnival season begins in December and culminates with the Junior State Championships in March each year. There are many events that may be contested at each carnival, although programs will vary at each event.

Nipper carnivals provide an opportunity for Nippers to further develop their “surf skills” and offer a range of beach & water based individual & team events. Nippers require their “Competition Competency Certificate” to compete in ocean based events. Participation in carnivals is encouraged but is not compulsory.

Individual Events

  • Surf Race
  • Wading Race
  • Surf Board Race
  • Ironman/Ironwoman
  • Beach Sprint
  • Beach Flags

Team Events

  • Surf Teams
  • Wade Relay
  • Beach Relay
  • Board Relay
  • Aqua Cameron Relay
  • 2 person rescue and resuscitation

*** For more information on the above events, see the Beach Carnival Events descriptions at the end of this page.

Competition Skills Evaluation

From the age of 8 (Under 9), junior members can begin to compete in swimming and board events at junior carnivals. To ensure that all juniors have the ability, strength and fitness required to complete the course they must pass the Competition Skills Evaluation specific for their age group, as determined by SLSA.

The Competition Skills Evaluation is based on the swim competition distances as set out in the SLSA Australian Surf Sports Manual for that age group and is standard in the form of an open water swim (times & distances are set out below). The evaluation is carried out in an open water environment (assuming the child has already passed & submitted the age appropriate Preliminary Skills Evaluation) and involves a continuous effort of swimming (freestyle) around the course. This assessment is done (U/9 – U/14 only) during the first few Nippers sessions, but is not compulsory, & only children who wish to compete at carnivals are encouraged to do the swim. This evaluation must be completed prior to the award being processed and prior to the candidates competing at carnivals.

The Competition Skills Evaluation is mandatory for U12 – U14 to compete in ANY event and U9 – U11 for water events only (excluding wade).

Age Group Distance & Requirements
Under 8 NA (this age group only competes in beach and wade events)
Under 9 Minimum 150m open water swim in 12 minutes
Under 10 Minimum 150m open water swim in 11 minutes
Under 11 Minimum 288m open water swim in 12 minutes
Under 12 Minimum 288m open water swim in 10 minutes
Under 13 Minimum 288m open water swim in 9 minutes
Under 14 Minimum 288m open water swim in 9 minutes

If the Nipper can complete the above distance for their age group, they are eligible to compete in all competition events in their age group (excluding State Championships). The Competition Skills Evaluation is mandatory for all age groups (except Under 8s) to compete in any event. To be eligible to compete at State Champs U14 Nippers must hold both their U14 Comp Skills & SRC.

The following events are scheduled during the Nipper calendar:

Fairhaven/Lorne Nipper Carnival

This is a much anticipated annual event that provides an induction to carnivals for Nippers from the Fairhaven & Lorne SLSC’s. It is scheduled during the Nipper calendar, but is run separately to the Nipper sessions & involves both individual & team events.

Torquay (Cosy Corner) Nipper Carnival

If the Nipper can complete the above distance for their age group, they are eligible to compete in all competition events in their age group (excluding State Championships). The Competition Skills Evaluation is mandatory for all age groups (except Under 8s) to compete in any event. To be eligible to compete at State Champs U14 Nippers must hold both their U14 Comp Skills & SRC.

State Qualifying Carnivals

There are 2 Nipper Carnivals during the season that serve as State Qualifiers (QC1 & QC 2) for certain events. Non- qualifying events (open entry) for the State Championships include: 500m/1km Run, Beach Sprint, Beach Relay, Surf Teams, Surf Race, R&R, Wade Race and Wade Relay.

All qualifying events will be held at both qualifying carnivals – so competitors have two opportunities to qualify – if a competitor is disqualified in an event at QC1, they can compete in that event at QC2, so they can have another chance to qualify.

Qualifying Events No. Qualifying Process
Flags 40 Top 20 from each qualifying carnival
Iron 32 Top 16 from each qualifying carnival
Aqua Cameron Relay 32 teams Top 16 from each qualifying carnival
Tube Race (U14 only) 18 Top 9 from each qualifying carnival
Board Rescue 18 teams Top 9 from each qualifying carnival
Board Race 128 Must compete at a carnival during the season (excluding the 2 qualifiers), if entries exceed 128, clubs will be allocated positions.
Board Relay 48 teams All 3 team members must qualify for the board (as above) to be eligible for the board relay. If more than 48 teams enter then clubs will be allocated positions.

State Championships
This will be held at Warnambool SLSC on March 10/11th 2018.

Club Championships

A session of our Nipper Program is allocated to Club Championships. To be eligible to be a Fairhaven SLSC Age Group Champion the nipper must be:

  • a current member of Fairhaven SLSC
  • competing in the appropriate age level (cannot go up or down an age level)
  • have participated in at least 50% of the Nipper Program for that season


*** Beach Carnival Events

Event Description
Beach Flags Beach Flags is a traditional event that has existed since the very beginning of Lifesaving. It involves a group of lifesavers competing for flags (pieces of hose-pipe). An athlete is ‘knocked-out’ each time and eventually there is a run off between two lifesavers. The one who wins the flag, wins the event.
Beach Sprint Beach Sprint involves a sprint over a distance of 70 metres.
Beach Relay Beach Relay is held on the sand and consists of a team of four competitors and a rubber piece of hose. Members 1 & 3 are stationed at one end of the lanes whilst members 2 & 4 are at the other. The object is to successfully complete the race without dropping the baton and exchanging within the set boundaries.
Wade Race Wade Race is a skill designed to teach lifesavers the art of proficient running into the surf. The skills they learn enables them to lift their legs high and swing out over the waves to enhance their ability to increase the response time in entering the  water in the case of a rescue. Competitors begin on the beach start line and on the starters signal enter the water and either wade, dive and or swim around three Life savers usually standing waste deep in the water and then run to the finishing line on the beach.
Wade Relay Wade Relay involves teams of four who conduct a tag style of race over the same course as the wade race.
Board Race Board Race uses a nipper or Malibu board. It also involves negotiating the break and then following a set course of buoys. You then return to shore surfing the waves back to the beach. First over the line is the winner. The board race requires balance, strength and endurance.
Board Relay Board Relay consists of three paddlers completing the board course as above in a tag system. The first team to successfully pass all the buoys and cross the finish line will be declared the winner.
Surf Race Surf Race involves swimming around a course of buoys placed out in the ocean and swimming to shore
Iron Nipper Iron Nipper   This event trains lifesavers with the ultimate endurance ability.   It consists of a board paddle, a swim (or a wade for younger age groups) and a run to the finish line.  The carnival referee will determine the order of events on the day.
Aqua Cameron Relay Aqua Cameron relay is an event where 4 members complete the legs of the Iron Person race. Three of the members will either swim, wade or board paddle while the fourth member will run and tag each member after each leg of the race.
March Past Team March past team  – a team of 11 marchers from each life saving club carries a reel and club flag, marching to music around a set course and are judged on their timing, marching ability, overall appearance and presentation.
Belt & Reel Race Belt and Reel race is a beach event and involves two competitors (one runner and one reeler) and an approved life saving reel.  (U12 and above)
Board Rescue Board Rescue – each team consists of two competitors, a swimmer and a board paddler.  On the starters signal the swimmer enters the water and swims to their allocated buoy and signals to the  board paddler to “rescue them”. When the board paddler has picked up the swimmer, the two competitors paddle to the beach where they must cross the finish line.