Lifesavers of the future

Many Carlton Park members commence as children, or as parents of young children. The focus of our Nipper program is building confidence and skills in and around the surf, promoting an active lifestyle, teamwork and community spirit.

Our Nipper program runs each Saturday morning, beginning at 10:00am. The first session for season 2023/24 is Saturday 11 November. To ensure that Nipper activities can commence promptly at 10:00am, all children are requested to assemble on the concrete area behind the club rooms at 9:45am. As we are still working on Return to Sport planning, the Junior Activities team will review this procedure and notify parents or guardians of any changes.

A typical Saturday morning involves a quick group meeting to share news and updates and then the children break into their age groups, which are led by an Age Manager. The Age Manager is a volunteer, usually a parent of one of the children in that particular age group, who will take the children to each activity and organise them as required. Each group then rotates between Beach (flags, sprints and relays), Board (foamie or nipper boards depending on their age group) and Surf Swim (or wade for younger age groups). At various times throughout the season, each age group spends time in formal education sessions with our Education Officer. Topics covered in these sessions may include surf lifesaving signals, identifying and dealing with rips, first aid skills and rescue techniques.

Nipper parents are required to join the Club as an Associate member and assist where possible with the management and coordination of training days.  By joining the Club, parents are covered by insurance against accidents on the beach, at carnivals and sanctioned surf club activities, and have access to the Club facilities and functions. 

Nipper Calendar 2023/24

Parent Help

Help is always required at Nippers and parents are required to remain on the beach at all times. Nippers is not an activity where children can be dropped off. Please maintain responsibility for your child at all times and be aware that our Age Managers and Trainers are all volunteers and do not know the water proficiencies of your child as well as you do. If your child requires extra assistance in the water, please enter the water with them, rather than assuming our volunteers will be able to look after them.

Parent help is always needed in the canteen, BBQ, beach set up and pack down, gear storage and many other jobs. Please put your hand up – if you’re not sure what to do, someone will be happy to show you. We are all volunteers and the experts amongst us have only learnt by jumping in and having a go.

Water safety

Parents are very welcome, and actively encouraged, to join in the fun in the water with their children. The more adults we have in the water the better. We do have volunteers who opt to provide water safety at Nippers, but we can always do with more – and your child will love it if you become involved! There are levels for everyone – if you are not a competent swimmer, there is always a need for people to remain in the shallows to help retrieve boards and ensure children exit safely.

Please note, surf lifesaving is not a learn to swim program. It is expected that your child is a competent swimmer for their age.


The Club maintains a variety of boards for use by Nippers. These include ‘foamies’, Nipper Boards and a small number of Mals. Purchase of your own board is not necessary, however, please be aware that we cannot always supply an individual board for everyone and that sharing is sometimes required. Many families choose to purchase their own board, but this is not compulsory.

It is expected that children who borrow Club boards take full responsibility for them, ensuring they are looked after in the surf, washed with fresh water after each session and safety returned to our indoor storage racks. Parental supervision is required in order to ensure this is achieved.


Each season a number of statewide carnivals are held across Tasmania, culminating in the State Titles in early March. All Nippers are encouraged to participate, but this is not compulsory. Carnivals are a lot of fun and children quickly make friends with other children from other clubs across the state. Children will compete in events in their age groups and there are a range of individual and team options. Each child may compete in as many, or as few events as they wish. 

Age groups for competition are minimum age of 7 years (U/8) up to a maximum age of 13 years (U/14) on a seasonal basis. The age group for the season is determined as at midnight on 30 September at the commencement of that season (36th Edition, Surf Sports Manual).

Many Carlton Park families travel and stay together for carnivals, making them great social occasions. Local caravan parks along the north west coast are often full of Carlton Park members across carnival weekends – you can imagine how much fun that is for the kids! We also get together for meals when attending carnivals in the north of the state. It’s all part of being a member of the Carlton Park family.


A child may join our Club as soon as he/she turns 5 years of age. No Club is to accept membership of a child until they have reached the age of five years to comply with insurance requirements. A child who reaches five years of age after 30th September may join Nippers after their 5th birthday; however, this child will be required to stay in the U/6 Nippers age group the following season. It is the club’s responsibility to explain this to the parents of the child.

Seahorses provides a gentle introduction to the surf through fun activities and group games. The aim of the program is to build surf awareness. Typical activities include wading to waist depth, racing in and out of the shallows, shallow water games and plenty of beach activities.

Seahorses runs on Saturday mornings from 10:00am. Parent help is warmly encouraged and no specific skills are required.

Rather than the Carlton Park skullcaps, our seahorses wear green skullcaps, so that we can readily identify this younger age group. The green caps are provided by the club each week. Pink high-vis rashies are required.

What to bring

For general training sessions, we recommend you bring the following items:

Pink rashie
Wetsuit* (not compulsory, however many children get cold quickly and this directly impacts their enjoyment of the sport)
Swim googles
A t-shirt (to cover up from the sun when participating in beach events)
A hat (as above)
Water bottle
Healthy snack

For competitions – add your club bathers.

*During competitions officials will make a decision on the day as to whether wetsuits are permitted. This will dependent on the conditions and the relevant age group of the children.

Nipper Uniform

Carlton Park members take pride in wearing the club colours of red, white and black. A number of items are available for purchase and a uniform order is placed leading into the beginning of each season.

Members are required to wear Club bathers when representing the Club, such as at statewide carnivals. A variety of additional uniform items such as hoodies, shirts and shorts are also available as option extras.

Go to our Uniform page to find more information, including order forms and contact information. 

PO Box 44
Dodges Ferry, 7173