Latest Nipper News


We are looking forward to another great season of Nippers, which kicks off as usual on Dec 27. Due to when Christmas falls this year & other events like our Tim Gates Run & the Lorne Pier to Pub, it will be a fairly intense 10 day program, ending with Club Champs on Saturday Jan 5. I am thrilled to announce that Robyn Marshall will be helping me run the program this year. She brings a wealth of competition & particularly surf swimming experience to the program, so I am very excited that she has agreed to join me in running Nippers & leading our Comp Team through to States on Feb 23/24 in Lorne. A big thank you again to Matthew Chun for all his years of involvement with the program, we certainly wish both him & Rebecca a very well earned, restful summer.

Main season dates & competition season dates (for those who are keen to extend the season!) are below.

AGM’s & Specialist Coaches

For the main season, we again have a fantastic team of Age Group Managers (AGMs) lined up to manage the groups. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated group of AGMs, many of whom return season after season to run our Nipper groups. This year Bron Cohen will lead her spectacularly loyal, devoted & successful U13 boys group into their final season of Nippers. Bron has been with the boys since Mozzies & I think many a collective tear is likely to be shed when they walk off the beach together for the last time as Nippers this season.

We also have a couple of very familiar faces returning to, or joining the AGM team this year, in Bruce (aka the Shark) Cohen (Mozzie boys) & Nancy Joseph (Mozzie girls). Wow, what a power team they will be (someone please, please come & get me for the first round of Tug-Of-War!!). Harriet Fulton, who has come through Nippers herself now, will help with Mozzies again this year.

We also welcome John & Penny Middenway to the program who, having enjoyed Nippers as children, are joining us this year with Jackson in U7 & Olivia in U9. They are hitting the ground running, sharing the role of AGM to U7 boys.

As always, the AGMs are ably assisted by a group of enthusiastic parent & sibling beach helpers, as well as Admin Assistants, Gear Stewards, Water Safety & Specialist Coaches. This division of labour really is what makes the program run the way it does, so I thank every single one of you for what you have volunteered to do. Whether you are turning a sausage, marking a role-call, selling a hoodie, on a board helping a Nipper navigate a big set out the back, setting up a disco ball or bandaging an ankle, you all help make such a difference to what makes our program so special.

U6 Nancy Joseph Bruce Cohen
U7 Ben Chan John & Penny Middenway
U8 Melissa Vallence Ned Halliday
U9 David Dunstan
Guy Callaghan comp season
Tim Chandler
U10 Mariko Francis & Fiona Kelly Simon Doggett
U11 Andrew Mackintosh Guy Callaghan
Marcus Reid comp season
U12 Paul James & Paul Mapley Tony Symons
U13 Markus Zeimer Bronwyn Cohen

Noel Duncan is stepping in as Head of Water Safety & will have a great team of parents & kids who all have their Bronze or SRC, doing their bit to keep our kids safe in the water. Thank you so much for filling this important role Noel. We are also very lucky to have amazing Specialist Coaches helping the kids hone their skills & improve their confidence in the water & on the beach. This year, taking over from Marty Maher, we have Dave Findlay (surfing) & Marcus Reid (boards) as Board Coaches. Robyn Marshall, Andy Duncan & Simon Magasanik will be helping the kids navigate the swims & on the beach we have Damien Angus, Chloe Hardman, James Cornwell and Simon Hirth. What a team!

U14/U15 Helpers: not surprisingly, after 8 years of Nippers, the kids know a thing or two about navigating Fairhaven waves, riding a board or what makes for a good game on the sand. So we all benefit enormously when they give up a bit of their own summer to come back to help out in passing on some of their knowledge to our current Nippers. This year, helping out with boards/surfing we have Oscan Duncan, Charlie Chun, Taylah Doggett, Maddie Marshall, Kit Winstanely, Gus Crawford & Sam Bray. In surf swimming we have Ella Jordan, Remy Church, Olivia Richards whilst Lachie Hirth will be teaching the kids the finer points in Flags. Harriet Fulton will be assisting in the Mozzies again. Any other sibling help is greatly appreciated so just let me know if anyone is keen, even for a session or 2.

Main Season Dates

Thursday, 27 December Session 1
Friday, 28 December Session 2
Saturday, 29 December Session 3 / River Swim
Sunday, 30 December Session 4 / Cosy Rego
Monday, 31 December Session 5
Tuesday, 1 January Door Knock
Wednesday, 2 January Lorne Shield / Nipper Disco and Open Mic
Thursday, 3 January Session 6 / March Past
Friday, 4 January JCosy Corner (U8-U14)
Saturday, 5 January Nipper / SRC Club Champs (U7-U14)
Sunday, 6 January Tim Gates Classic Fun Run

Junior Carnival Dates

Junior Carnival #1
Sunday Nov 25, Altona

Junior Carnival # 2
Saturday Dec 15, Mt Martha

Junior Carnival # 3
Friday Jan 4, Cosy Corner (Torquay)

Junior Carnival #4
Saturday Jan 19, Bancoora (States Qualifier Board Rescue & Iron)

Junior Carnival # 5
Sunday Feb 3 Mordialloc (States Qualifier Board & Flags)

Junior Carnival #6
Sunday Feb 10, Apollo Bay

Junior State Champs , Lorne Feb 23/24

The carnival qualification system has changed again this year, the main changes for Nippers being that there are;

  1. Only 4 events that require qualification for States. These are Board Rescue, Iron, Boards & Flags
  2. There is only 1 opportunity to qualify for each of these events, see schedule above.
  3. Lastly, U14s are now part of a new “youth division” which only allows them to compete at 2 Junior carnivals this season; Cosy on Jan 4 & Bancoora on Jan 19.

The full comp schedule is available at

Nipper Gear Packs

New Nippers will receive a full gear pack (bag, blue & pink rash vests, towel, skull cap, & broad brimmed hat). Returning Nippers will receive a blue & pink rash vest & towel (don’t flip your lid but we have gone a rather bright blue this season, just to mix it up!) Other items in the gear bags as well as club bathers (non compulsory) will be available for purchase in the Merchandise shop from Boxing Day. As always we thank our major sponsor Clarendon Lawyers for their financial contribution towards these gear packs.

Gear pick up will be at the clubhouse on Dec 27, prior to the first session, details TBC.

For those who have offered to help out with gear sorting on Dec 26/27 pick up / merchandise & BBQ, the rosters can be viewed online at

SRC /U14’S

Again this year we have a large SRC group with a relatively full training schedule, so rather than trying to run a Nipper program on top of that, sports sessions will be incorporated into the SRC schedule. We also hope that U14 athletes will continue to train in our afternoon sports training sessions, for details on Comp Training see below.

Cosy Corner Registration

Cosy Corner, as many of you may know, is one of the Junior Carnivals (Nipper Competitions) that run during the season. It is the only carnival that runs during our main Nipper season, so we always submit a large team of kids from U8-U14. This is an optional event, but gives kids a terrific opportunity to compete in events that they enjoy, whether they be sand or water based. This is not an “all or nothing” event, but rather children can select to participate in as few or many events as are available in their age group. To be eligible to compete at Cosy a child must be

A. Be in age groups U8 & above

B. Competitors in under 9’s,10’s and 11’s must successfully complete
 a Competition Evaluation swim to be able to compete in water events (except wade) at any carnival. We plan to run these open water swim evaluations during Sessions 1-3 (150m for U9-10, 288m for U11 & above), & depending on conditions we may move beach locations to achieve this, but families will be notified accordingly.

C. Competitors in under 12s 13s and 14s must successfully complete a Competition Evaluation (288m open water swim) to be able to compete in any event at carnivals.

D. Parents who would like their child to compete at Cosy Corner will need to present to the clubhouse during session 4 on Dec 30, to specify which events they will enter. A carnival entry fee of $10 per child (cash only) is paid & is non refundable. AGMs & their Admin assistants will have event info for your age group.

Competition Season & Training/ New Boards

As previously mentioned, Robyn Marshall will be our comp manager this season. Robyn, her husband Marcus, Chloe Harman & myself have been busy getting organized with some fantastic equipment for the upcoming season, including new boards & a re-fitted Nipper trailer (thanks so much Marcus for all your work on the trailer fit out!!)

In 2014 we introduced surfing to the Nipper program, with the purchase of 40 foam “G Boards” which we continue to use each year, much to the delight of the kids. As well as surfing, Nipper board training is a key element of the program as it allows the children to develop important skills which are integral to their future as young lifesavers. It has been many seasons since we invested in foam Nipper boards, but this year we are very fortunate that the committee has supported a significant spend on boards & equipment including

  • 22 foam Nipper boards
  • 11 carbon comp boards
  • 3 nipper Rescue Boards

It goes without saying that we thank you in advance for looking after the boards & caring for them as if they were your own. We need to make sure that they are available & maintained for many seasons to come. The carbon comp boards (at over $1000 per board ) are only for Nipper carnivals & Robyn will manage their use & care. No Nipper boards should leave the club unless they are going to a training session or carnival, the “unofficial borrow system” hasn’t really worked in that we have just lost too many boards.

During the week starting Jan 7 we will be running afternoon comp training, open to any children U8-U14 who wish to be involved, details TBA via What’s App. Just let me know via text if you would like to join the Comp Training What’s App feed, by sending me a text on 0409644435.

Succession Planning

This season I only have 1 Nipper left in the program, with Lachie in U11. Bella is doing SRC & Sara will do her Pre Christmas Bronze, so it feels very gratifying that Scott & I have 2 teenagers ready to take the next step as young patrollers. Whilst my work is not yet quite done, I am getting close as far as Nippers goes… I am sure you would all agree it would be a little odd if I stayed on running Nippers beyond my own children’s involvement. So if someone is out there who would like to be more involved & potentially share the role with me to a transition in 2 seasons time, please let me know… it’s an amazing thing to be involved with!

Wishing you a happy & safe festive season & I look forward to seeing you on the beach VERY soon!

Kirstin Charlesworth