Wet'N'Wild Nippers First Season A Big Success

NSW’s newest Nipper club located at Wet’n’Wild Sydney will celebrate the final day of a highly successful first season on Sunday 30 March 2014.

The partnership between Surf Life Saving NSW and Wet’n’Wild aims to bring beach safety teachings to a whole new generation of kids growing up away from the beach and targets a known blackspot demographic for coastal drowning’s. Over 300 kids and their parents have taken part for 2013-14 and will finish the season with participants showing off their skills in a mini carnival.

Jo Stubbs, whose son Harry is in the Under 10s group, says she is extremely impressed by the standard of instruction given by the surf lifesavers conducting the program.

“We live so far away from the beach but my son loves it so we thought it was really important for him to be beach aware and safe. The focus on things like rips, swimming between the flags and even CPR is amazing – it is such a comprehensive program, which really surprised me,” said Ms Stubbs.

Harry has enjoyed the program so much that his parents have now invested in his very own nipper board and are looking to take his passion for surf lifesaving even further.

Wet'N'Wild Sydney General Manager, Chris Warhurst, is extremely happy with the way the program has been rolled out and sees positive things for its future.

"I couldn't be happier with how the Wet'N'Wild Nipper program has resonated with local families this year. In it's first year it has really been embraced and to see that 300 kids from Western Sydney got to experience the full Nippers experience without having to travel to the beach is fantastic.

"This is a truly unique program and hopefully will continue to grow as we look ahead," said Chris Warhurst.

In a major coup for the program, forty parents have taken part in the initial step to a four part training plan to have them ready to act as Age Managers in conjunction with SLSNSW staff next season. Parents attended an information session to gain knowledge about the program and Surf Life Saving and went on to complete their Resuscitation Certificate under the guidance of trainer Doug Hawkins from Coogee SLSC.

“Parent involvement is a key focus to the future success of the Sydney Wet n Wild Nipper program and next season aims to have nippers led by a combination of Parent Age Managers & Qualified Surf Lifesavers. Our participants will enjoy the additional involvement from our trained family members and parents will continue developing their coaching and teaching skills. It will also see the start of our higher level award training as these parents proceed to complete the requirements of their Surf Rescue Certificate. This allows us to prepare for our first batch of nipper graduates to become fully qualified junior lifesavers in Year 3 of the Sydney Wet’n’Wild Nipper program,” said Mr Hawkins.

It wasn’t only the parents who were trained in these vital lifesaving skills but also more than 50 Nippers who completed the requirements for their Resuscitation Certificate in February this year, under the tutelage of SLSNSW trainer Stuart Massey.

“Nippers learnt how to call an ambulance in an emergency situation and how to perform CPR. What was most pleasing during the training was the enthusiasm of the participants and willingness to learn new life saving skills that could one day save a life,” said Mr Massey.

Surf Life Saving NSW prides itself on being an inclusive movement and strives to give all children equal opportunity to foster a love of the beach and learn about surf safety. The incredibly popular Ripper Nipper program caters for children that have disabilities and additional needs.

Ripper Nippers enjoy the same fun weekly activities as their peers with additional assistance and support provided by an experienced and caring team.

Dianne Batcheldor, whose son Sebastian takes part in the U11 group, says he has picked up many new skills along the way.

“Sebastian is part of the kids classified as having special needs as he is deaf and autistic however he is in the U11 group with the other kids and takes part in all the same activities. He is behind a little bit in picking things up but he is picking them up eventually which I think is just amazing,” said Ms Batcheldor.

“Safety in the water was the initial reason why we enrolled Sebastian in the program however since taking part the additional benefits like the friendships and camaraderie as well as all the skills is just invaluable,” she added.

“I love that Sebastian is surrounded by the committed young surf lifesavers that have been a real influence on him and have mentored him through the entire program”.

Tue 25 Mar 2014