Who can register / enrol?
For legal / insurance reasons, only the parent or legal guardian can enrol their children (no friends or other relatives).
What if someone drops out - can we join the program?
No – there is no capacity to add children through the season.
But what if we know the people who have dropped out?
We’re sorry, but no. While this might seem unfair, bear in mind that literally hundreds of families need to be managed, and several hundred fail to make it into the program. It’s a relief when the enrolment process is complete and our volunteers can focus on enjoying the program.
How much does it cost?
This depends on how many children are participating and what clothing the family requires. The exact figure is calculated at the end of the enrolment process, and here's how we break it down:
Child registration (1st child) $175
Child registration (2nd child) $175
Child registration (subsequent children) $100
Adult Rashie $23
Child's rashie $32
Girls swimmers $37
Boys swimmers $27
Can we use an Active Kids voucher from Service NSW to secure a rebate?
We're sorry, but this isn't possible because we're not part of a Surf Life Saving Club and therefore wouldn't qualify. Hopefully your kid(s) are involved in other sports where they can take advantage.
How should we pay for the program?
When you get to the end of the enrolment process, you can pay either by PayPal or major credit card. It’s easy to set up a PayPal account at http://www.paypal.com before completing your enrolment.
Is there a refund policy?
We do not offer refunds so please be sure before you commit.
What's a blue rashie / green rashie?
A blue rashie (formerly a 'red rashie' - we changed the colour) is a parent or guardian who helps their child's age manager with smooth running on the day. We ask all parents and guardians to pull on a blue rash vest and take personal responsibility for their child, especially in the water.
A green rashie is a voluntary member of the Nippers organising committee (a.k.a. Nippers crew). They're available to answer questions on the beach, and are responsible for organising the whole program from sponsorships to IT, from events to finances, from council relationships to champs, and more.
How quickly will kit be delivered?
After the ballot has closed, we work through the kit delivery process with our suppliers. All kit will arrive at latest one week before the season commences.
How do I find my cap number?
Please find a handy guide here
What’s the relationship with the Balmoral Beach Club?
Members of the Balmoral Beach Club founded this nippers program. The BBC continue to be our main supporters, providing us with storage facilities for all our materials as well as a useful meeting space for our organising committee, and much more.
Do you have any guidance on clothing sizes?
Yes! You can download a handy guidance document from here (PDF).
Is Balmoral Nippers part of Surf Life Saving Australia?
No, it's an independent program that's been running for nearly 20 years.
How many children participate?
We had over 700 children in last year's program, and we're now limited by the amount of space on the beach that we're allowed to use as determined by Mosman Council.
Why can’t I make contact by phone, or with a named representative?
Having a single point of contact makes the entire program easier for the volunteers to manage. We endeavour to reply to emails as quickly as possible.
Do you need any help?
Yes please! We lose about 20% of our age managers each year as their children grow out of the program. We also welcome support in our organising committee - there’s plenty of work that needs doing, and it’s a fun team with the occasional social event too. Drop us an email if you’d like to get involved.
What age group should my child be in?
Their age group will be determined automatically during enrolment.
What happens on their birthday?
They remain in the same age group - no need to move around from one group to another during the season.
What if my child has two groups to chose from?
Usually we have enough children in each age group to split them into two groups. The age managers will split them up on the first day (each group will still have a dedicated age manager), and then the child stays in the same group they’re assigned to for the rest of the season.
Where exactly should we meet?
On your first Nippers day, meet at the Balmoral Beach Club (map), close to the North End of the beach. After the first week, you’ll start each Nippers session by meeting next to your age flag, or if you're helping with set up you meet on the grass to the North of the club.
A map showing where the different age groups are located is below:
Any questions, ask the volunteers in the tent on the day (you can’t miss it!).
What happens if there’s bad weather?
Nippers runs every week, come rain or shine. We think poor weather is a great opportunity to teach our kids about commitment, and the sea is the same temperature anyway! The only exception is if there are electrical storms in which case Nippers will be cancelled. Check the website beforehand, if there are no special notices then Nippers is ON!
What time does it run?
Nippers itself starts at 9am each Sunday, but the age groups take it in turn to set up and pack away. If your age group is responsible for this, please be on the grass to the North of Balmoral Beach Club by 8.15am. Check the timetable and watch the weekly emails for updates on whose turn it is to help.
Which cap colours should my child wear?
Caps will be assigned automatically during enrolment - here's how the colours are assigned to age groups:
Bottle green 4
Royal blue 6
Jade green 10
Sky blue 11
Bronzies no caps
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a handy checklist for you each week:
- Make sure your Nippers wear plenty of sun cream
- Bring a full water bottle for each child
- Bring goggles if your child is 5 or over
- Bring a change of clothes and a towel in a waterproof bag
- Make sure they’ve got their correct nippers outfits (they can’t participate if they’ve got the wrong clothes)
- Watch for unsportsmanlike behaviour. We don’t like the kids to be aggressive or disrespectful to the age managers when decisions or results don’t go their way.
- Encourage them to have a go at the different tasks
- Inform the age managers of any health issues or special needs
- Be ready to supervise them 100% of the time
- Encourage them to have fun
- Bring your own Blue Rashie!
- Plus a smile! Remember a lot of the experiences on the beach are new for children and it may take a few weeks for them to enjoy the experiences - this is normal! Speak to your age manager if you are having difficulty encouraging your child to participate.
I can’t locate login / registration information..?
It’s possible you typed your email address incorrectly during registration, or the email went to your junk folder. You can try retrieving your password by clicking the link on the login page, and if the problem persists drop us a line.
What happens if we forget or lose our kit?
For safety reasons, it’s a strict condition that children wear all of their designated Nippers kit so we can track them easily, and the same goes for parents so we know the right carers are involved. We can’t make exceptions. If you need kit, let us know (ideally beforehand by email) and we can check our stock to see if we have replacements in the sizes you need. The volunteers at the tent can help with this. It is essential that all nippers wear their rash vests at all times including in the championship events.
What’s the tent for?
The tent is run by some of our volunteers to make sure the event goes smoothly. You can go there to ask questions, get some emergency sun cream / water, make enquiries about kit, get medical help, or just to say g’day!
Who looks after safety?
We have Professional life savers on the beach at the Balmoral Beach Club, as well as St.John’s Ambulance representatives at the tent for medical emergencies. However - and we can’t stress this enough - your child is YOUR responsibility. We don’t accept any responsibility for the welfare of your children. Put that coffee down and get in the water.
Our safety policy is here
Is there a code of conduct?
Yes there is. As parents and guardians, we commit to follow the Australian Government Junior Sports Code of Behaviour and encourage our children to follow suit.
Do we need to sign ‘working with children’ forms?
For regular Blue Rashies: we’ve checked with the authorities who have confirmed that this isn’t necessary so long as parents or legal guardians are in the same group as their children. This is a strict condition of participation, accepted via the T&Cs during the enrolment process.
For age managers and crew: you need to obtain a Working with Children Check and Number – reflecting the fact these leaders will oversee groups of Children on the Beach. This is standard process for many Schools and Clubs now. It is very easy to obtain:
2. Then go to Service NSW to confirm.
3. All Complete.
4. Advise The Crew or Balmoral Nippers Admin of the Number and date of expiry.
Do you have special events?
Yes! We’ve had special visits in the past from the army, the Warratahs Rugby team, not to mention Santa! Plus we sometimes have a sausage sizzle at some point in the season. Events vary each year, so watch the emails for details this season.
What is Carnival Day?
Carnival Day is an optional event which gives kids a sense of what Surf Club carnivals are like. It's a fun introduction to competitive activities for kids of all ages (unlike Champs which is limited to certain ages), and there are about 60 events taking place up and down the beach, with ribbons awarded for a variety of achievements.
It's held at the midpoint of the season (see Timetable) and gives children in all age groups a chance to test the skills that they have been busily learning and practising. Ribbons are given out for first, second and third places. The 4s compete in three events (Flags, Wade, Run), 5s compete in 3 events (swim, flags, run) and 6-11's compete in 4 events (Swim, Flags, Boards, Run). All children in 4-7's get a special participation ribbon, any older children who would like a participation ribbon can collect one from the tent. There isn't a bronzies education session but their participation is encouraged to help in the other age groups.
Participants should bring the same kit as normal Nippers days (see above). A jumper may also be helpful if the weather is cool or windy.
The format of the day is a little different so please try to arrive 5-10 mins early so you can find your age group lollipop marker. The session may take a little longer than usual but there is no champs on this day. If you do need to leave early please let your age manager know so that the roll can be updated.
Following the carnival there may be a very special visitor chanting ho ho ho putting in an appearance...!
What are the optional water activities?
During the Summer break we've been running dedicated paddle board sessions for those in age groups 8-11 interested in improving their skills. This coming year our intention is to extend water activities to all age groups. Details are still in the process of being worked out - watch your inbox for updates.
What happens when my child is too old for Nippers / What is ‘Bronzies’?
Nippers who graduate from the 11s age group are encouraged to participate in the RLSSA Bronze Medallion program ("Bronzies"). This is a two year program where the children learn more about surf lifesaving and the more practicable aspect of the skills needed. It is supported by Life Guards who also support the Beach Club. If children are keen, they can then go on to earn their SLSA Bronze Medallion at a surf club. We have established a link with Freshwater SLSC - contact us for more information. Please note however that we are not affiliated with any SLSA - we run an independent program.
Are awards given to the children?
Yes, we hand out participation medals at the end of the season for all children in age groups 4-8 inclusive. Special Awards are given for Spirit of Nippers and Most Improved Nipper (all age groups). The focus for the main Nippers program is on fun and participation, and the more competitive awards are reserved for Championships.
Age managers are also given a ‘Nipper of the week’ award to distribute, which is a small prize from our sponsors. These are normally given for effort, and we try to ensure everyone gets at least one each season.
Are there any parent resources?
Yes! They're external to this website though:
What is ‘Champs’ / The Championship?
Each week following the regular program there is a competitive event for children in age groups 6-11. These events are optional. Each child who participates scores a point to acknowledge the effort made to participate in these races. The top 15 place-getters in each race also score additional points. The points are tallied each week and, at the season end, prizes are awarded for the top scoring children.
The events are designed to use the skills developed during the normal program and rotate through different skills e.g. swim, run etc. The goal of these races is to extend children beyond what can be offered in the general program sessions. It also helps prepare them for future races such as the Balmoral Swim for Cancer and gives them the experience of competing in a larger group.
How can my child join in?
Your child must participate fully in that day’s Nippers program then register in person for the champs. The registration is at the age signs near the tent and commences at 10am. Your child’s cap number will be taken by the marshall at the age flag.
What does my child need?
Your child needs goggles for the events with swimming (see the timetable). There may be a wait before your child’s race, so a towel or jumper may be useful to keep warm, plus extra sunscreen. This year all children must wear their pink rash vests. No vest, no race. This is an essential safety requirement.
Why does my child compete against other age/gender children?
The qualifying times for young children for the NSW state swimming finals and the Little Athletics Events are virtually identical for boys and girls. And, historically, the gender split in end-of-season results has been equitable. The three younger age groups (6’s, 8’s and 10’s) do have a challenge and can be encouraged to think of this season as a “practice” before the next season when they are the older kids. Although it should be noted that some top ten place-getters always come from these age groups and in some years come first! Kudos to them! Plus we only have one hour to complete our events each week. Note - the beach run events are scored separately by gender.
Can I help my child?
All children may have a shadowing parent/guardian in the water with them. In fact if your child is not confident in the water we encourage it! We do ask that all adults let the faster independent children past. Also children who are physically assisted in the water are not eligible for place-getter points.
All parents/carers may also be asked to help with judging and lining the course to ensure event fairness and the safety of all competitors. Plus assist in cheering on all the competitors, from the talented front of field to the bravely competing junior racers.
How are races scored?
Each participant receives 1 point for entering the event. Then the first place-getter gets 15 points, (i.e. 16 points total) then second gets 14 (15 in total). Until the 15th past the finish who gets a total of 2 points. The results are tallied weekly by combined age groups: Juniors (6’s and 7’s), Intermediate’s (8’s and 9’s) and Senior’s (10’s and 11’s).
The exception to this is Flags where the scoring is different (see below).
What if I/my child thinks the results are not fair?
Please remember these events are designed for kids to develop skills including the challenging one of winning and losing. All our judges/marshalls are volunteers who are endeavoring to make races as fair as possible. If you have an issue, especially if safety is a concern, please speak to a green crew member as soon as possible after the event is completed. In most situations, the on-course judge’s decision is final. Disqualifications or score adjustments may occur following interfering with other competitors or breaches of event rules.
Who gets championship awards at the end of season?
The top three place getters for each gender in each combined age group receive trophies, and the other children who finish in the overall top 15 receive medals.
In the event of a tie in the points at the end of the season, we take the top 15 individuals, unless the tie is for fifteenth in which case we take all individuals in 15th place.
What happened to the Ironkids?
This season the scoring for the Ironkids events will remain as part of the overall season total and no additional prizes will be given.
Flag scoring? Wow, that seems complicated!
Yes it is – and we have spent a lot of time to make it fair. Essentially the more rounds a child participates in the higher their score will be. Which is why after the preliminary rounds the cap numbers of children are taken as they exit the event.
- Because of the number of participants and the time constraints of running the flag races in the Championship, we split boys and girls in each combined age category until we have the last 15 of each for a given age category. Points are then awarded for how far through the flags you get.
- As an example, we might have 20 girls in the 8/9s. They would compete for 15 flags. The five who miss out get a participation point each.
- We then have 15 girls competing for 10 flags. The five girls who miss out all get an additional 2 points for placing (score 3).
- The next 10 girls then race for 5 flags with the girls who miss out getting a further 2 additional points (score 5)
- The remaining 5 girls compete against the final 5 boys (who have gone through the same elimination process) for 7 flags. The 3 participants who miss out get two additional 2 points each (Score 7).
- The final seven race for 5 flags. The two who miss out get an additional 2 points (Score 9).
- The final five race for 3 flags. The two who miss out get an additional 2 points each (Score 11).
- The final three race for one flag. The two who miss out get an additional 3 points each (Score 14) and the winner gets an additional 5 points (Score 16).