Junior Surf

“Junior Surf is designed to nurture children’s confidence, deepen their understanding of beach and coastal environments, and enhance their skills in and around the water. ”

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Junior Surf is a great way to increase the water safety skills and knowledge of your children and whānau. Junior Surf is a key initiative of the surf life saving movement in New Zealand since our first Junior Surf programmes started in 1968. The continuous success of Junior Surf since those early days is important to the growth and sustainability of Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s (SLSNZ) 74 surf lifesaving clubs.

Junior Surf is delivered at most surf lifesaving clubs across New Zealand throughout the summer months in a safe, fun, organised and welcoming environment. It assists to build children’s confidence, knowledge, and skills on how to be safe around the water and at the beach. Children are also developing skills towards becoming future surf lifeguards and learning about lifesaving sports. 

Click here to download and view the Parents and Whānau Handbook

Children first learn about surf awareness and beach safety with fun as the priority.  As they progress through the various age groups, they pick up surf lifesaving skills like the basics of resuscitation, first aid, identifying beach hazards and lifesaving sport skills. 

At the age of 13, our juniors have the opportunity to take part in the Rookie Lifeguard Programme, which is an introductory step into lifeguarding. Rookie Lifeguards are asked to do patrols alongside a mentor, learning what it takes to become a surf lifeguard in a safe and enjoyable way.

All surf lifesaving clubs and their communities are different, so Junior Surf delivery might look and feel unique at each beach, but everyone is working towards the same key outcomes.


Check out the locations of all 74 Surf Life Saving Clubs within New Zealand with 18,000+ members, including more than 4,500 volunteer Surf Lifeguards. Our lifeguards patrol over 80 locations each summer and provide emergency call-out rescue services throughout Aotearoa, saving hundreds of lives each year and ensuring thousands return home safe after a day at the beach.  Click here


“Junior Surf is an incredibly popular programme that caters to thousands of Kiwis right around the country. During the 2022/2023 season, we had over 8,000 kids taking part.”

Belinda Slement, SLSNZ National Education Manager
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Trio Buzzing After First Rescue

For Liam Good, George Wylie and Marley Igasan, Oceans 20 was more than just a fantastic four days of competition - it's where they carried out their first rescue. The trio of 12-year-olds from Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service rescued three children caught in a rip. We're super proud of these young men.


Waikuku Nippers "Real Life" Rip Rescue

Waikuku Nippers Ana White, sisters Petra and Jade Lamont and Ruby Thoms, saved Jorja Butler (back), and her friend after they got caught in a rip at Waikuku Beach, Canterbury. Nippers are our Surf Lifeguards in the making and we couldn't be more proud - where else can you learn about beach safety and train in a sport with the purpose of being able to save a life?



Oceans: Festival of Junior Surf Lifesaving, is the biggest junior carnival of the season and aims to provide an opportunity for junior members to compete, challenge themselves and celebrate the camaraderie of surf lifesaving in a fun, exciting and safe beach and surf environment.

Since its inception in 2000, Oceans has had a proud history of being the largest, most competitive, exciting and fun Junior Surf Life Saving Event in New Zealand! The competition celebrates the very best of our future Surf Life Savers as our junior members compete with their friends and against their fellow clubs.