Future lifesavers hit sand for another summer
FROM a distance they look like a mass of soldier crabs on the beach, but the nippers of the Clarence Valley are hitting the sand in a wave.
The Yamba Surf Club Nippers had their first official day on Sunday and organiser Kerry Lee said the children were right into it.
"We've had between 150 to 200 nippers on the beach," said Ms Lee.
"It's a great morning for them, they get fit and they have fun and, especially the little kids, it really gets their confidence up on the beach."
The nippers' program is tailored for each age group, with the five-year-olds starting with beach skills and running, while older age groups learn water skills and other activities.
"And the older kids just love the boards. It's definitely the favourite," said Ms Lee.
Although the nippers are in for a good time, there is a serious side to the activities, with all the activities based in beach safety and other lifesaving skills.
"These kids are the lifesavers of our future," said Ms Lee.
"As they get older they learn their craft and become members of patrols.
"And it's a real family thing. Some families have three or four generations within the surf club."
At Minnie-Water/Wooli Surf Club the nippers will have their first official day this Sunday, with the club expecting more than 80 children to take to the beach.
According to co-ordinator Lana Elward, they were raring to go.
"They love being on the beach and they make some great friends down here too," said Mrs Elward.
The club sends some of its juniors away to competitions, and while Mrs Elward said some nippers were there just to have fun, others strove to better themselves.
"The competitions really help them hone their skills and make them better lifeguards," she said.
"And the other kids really aspire to the levels those kids set as well, so it's a great experience for all of them."
The nippers' groups are all run by volunteers and the clubs are always looking for more help.
"We can always use more volunteers," said Ms Lee.
"The parents come down and run it, and even if you're not proficient in the water, we'd love to see them down here helping us with the kids."