Nippers are Lifeguards in training between the ages of 8 and 14.  It’s fantastic way to get and stay fit and improve core strength, agility and coordination.  Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club is a friendly place to learn the importance of team work, promoting a healthy, active, FUN outdoor lifestyle while making new friends. 

Nippers offers the opportunity to learn basic First Aid, Water Safety and training of varied water skills like surf swimming, body boarding, and knee boarding and how to compete as part of a team

Fish Hoek Surf Life Saving Club has a professional management and coaching team and is a fun and competitive family club.


Nipper training times

Nippers kick off their winter training (rain or shine) on the second Sunday in August.  The Lifesaving season officially opens in October and ends at the Easter weekend in April.  From October, trainingis every Sunday from 10h00 - 12h00 and Tuesdays from 17h30 - 18h30.  In January, to prepare for WP and SA Champs, Thursday training is added from 17h30 - 18h30.  So from January through April, training is on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Since swimming is the basis of Nippers, there is pool training beginning in October on Monday and Wednesday evenings.  Children who already train with a swimming squad do not need to come to pool training. 

Lifesaving calendar year

The lifesaving year begins on 1 October, unlike our school year.  Your child’s age group is determined by their age on 30 September.  For instance a child who is 10 on 30 September, will be in the U11 age group, even if he/she turns 11 during the season.  He/she will remain in that age group for the duration of the season.

Orientation group

Every Sunday there will be an ‘orientation’ group for all children wanting to try Nippers out, as well as for those who have not yet passed their swim test.  We need to be 100% sure that all the children on the beach are safe. The main aim of this group is to build confidence, learn the basics of the ocean and allow them some time to orientate themselves with the beach and Nippers.   If your child has not passed the swim test (i.e., would not be safe to swim out or paddle out beyond the breakers) they will stay in this group until they get stronger.  This group will most certainly do hard training and learn how to paddle, swim and run as a Nipper.

Cost of Nippers for the season?

The basic cost per Nipper for the season is R880 for the first Nipper in the family, which includes a family social membership, entitling all members of the family to the use of the facilities and bar for those over the age of 18.  The second Nipper is R520, third and fourth are R165.  


The cost for Starfish and Micro-Nippers is R440, which does not include a family social membership. Family Membership is R330. 


The Membership Fee includes coaching for the entire season, access to the club, use of club craft, and registration fees to all competitions.  Items not included in the cost are kit & exam fees, tour fees for SA Champs and social functions.



To test our skills as lifeguards-in-training there are local, provincial and national competitions (or carnivals as lifesaving competitions are called) where our club competes against other clubs to see how we’re doing on our various skills in swimming, running, board use, team relays, etc.  It’s a great way to give the children a goal to work towards and they love the teamwork.  To participate in competitions, the children have to pass a qualifying exam.


Coloured Swim caps

We require our children to wear swim caps during training for a couple of reasons.  It keeps them warmer in cold weather/water and our safety officers on the safety craft can see them more easily with brightly coloured caps on.  We try to enforce “NO cap/NO training”.  The caps are colour coded per age group so that it’s easier for the coaches and parents to spot the different age groups.  The appropriate colour cap is given to the children once their membership fees or subs have been paid (or an arrangement for payment has been made).

Children who do not want to participate in competitions

Our number one goal is always to have fun while learning the essential skills to be safe in the water.  Children are welcome to train and not participate in competitions.  However, we cannot stress enough that it is essential that our children are safe in the water.  That means mastering certain skills in open water swimming and basic first aid.  We do require all the children in the U9 to U14 age groups come to the pool to train, practice their swimming skills, and pass their age appropriate swim time.  If he or she has not passed the swim time or exam they will remain in the orientation group. 

Competition Events

Micro-Nippers and Starfish do not participate in competitions. There is a Micro-Nipper Carnival at the end of the season for any Starfish or Micro Nipper who wishes to participate.  Nippers may only compete once they have turned 8 and passed their exam for their age group

U9 and U10 Nippers

·         individual events:  surf swim, body board, beach sprints, flags, long run

·         team events:  beach relay, taplin relay, swim relay, and body board relay

U11 and U12 Nippers

·         individual events: surf swim, body board, malibu board, beach sprints, flags, long run

·         team events:  beach relay, taplin relay, swim relay, malibu relay and body board relay

U13 and U14 Nippers

·         individual events:  surf swim, body board, malibu board, beach sprints, flags, iron nipper, long run

·         team events:  beach relay, taplin relay, swim relay, malibu relay and body board relay

Not all the events are done at every competition except at WP Champs and SA Champs where  all events are contested.  Nippers are not required to participate in all events, but it is highly encouraged.  The impetus is toward participation and completion of events to build confidence and self esteem.


There are many ways to help.  The lifesaving club is a huge volunteer army from top to bottom.  Parents are needed to help with:  safety during training sessions; crowd control on the beach; being buoys and helpers for Starfish and Micro-Nippers; serving hot chocolate; working behind the bar; running the tuck shop; organizing events and the list goes on.  When you register your child, your name will be added to the roster list and you will be added to the rotation to help in the various capacities at the club.

Basic year overview of events, socials and competitions

A newsletter is sent out weekly with competition events for the season listed at the bottom.  In addition to these there are lots of social events for the Nippers.  There is a great social side to the club and it is a wonderful community of like-minded people who are also looking for a healthy lifestyle.  It’s a great place for you and your child to make new friends.  Our annual events include an Open Day, team sleepover, Parents vs Nippers competition called the Currie Cup which has become a favourite over the years, Starfish and Micro-Nipper competition, a Christmas celebration, end of year prize giving and celebration, street collection for fundraising to expose the community to Nippers, and other “fun-raising” events.


Rules and non-negotiables

“Nippers” is not a baby-sitting service or drop and go.  The beach/sea is a place where the more adult eyes watching the better.  Your child, even up to the age of 13 or 14 still needs you when they get cold or injured.  In addition, the coaches need help on the beach.  Everyone at the club is a volunteer, including the coaches.


Stay connected and up to date

·         Team App is our main communication tool. It is available for any iPhone and Android device. For those who do not have a smart phone, you can access the info via the TeamApp website

·         Like the Facebook page - Fish Hoek SLSC Nippers

·         Our email address is info@fishhoeknippers

·         Meetings - we often have a quick info meeting on Sundays before training.

Nipper Contacts

Nipper Officer – Andrea Cleworth 082 307 3086
Vice Nipper Officer - Naomi Miell  082 572 0560
Head Coach – David Reid  084-627-9735
MicoNippers & StarFish - Penny Brouckaert – 072 300 2557