Junior Surf


Junior Surf (Nippers) offers a wide range of activities that allow our Junior Members (7 years to 13 years) to learn and develop in an amazing and challenging environment. 

The SLSNZ Junior Surf Programme is designed to enrich the lives of our young members through engaging activities and active participation, leading to the acquisition of personal, life saving and competition skills, in a safe aquatic environment. The purpose of this programme is to assist clubs, junior surf coordinators, parents and volunteers to deliver a successful Junior Surf Programme.

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“It's about developing tomorrow's lifeguards and opening up a whole new world to children.”

Surf Life Saving Clubs offer a wide range of programmes to develop kids at the beach, in the ocean and in the pool.  They teach them about water survival, reading waves, negotiating surf conditions and confidence in the water.  Programmes focus on active movements and fundamental skills delivered through informal activities, play and games that make learning a fun and involved experience.  Sport Competitions are run throughout New Zealand from Club, Local, Regional and National levels.  These may involve on the beach events, in the ocean or pool rescue type events.  Ask your club about competitions in your area if you are interested in this space.


Programme Objectives

  • To learn the skills required to gain the Surf Lifeguard Award.
  • To provide the best possible life saving experience for all juniors with the view to encouraging long-term active participation.
  • To provide opportunities for juniors to actively participate in and enjoy life saving and competition in an aquatic environment.
  • To ensure our junior member are safe on New Zealand's beaches through building knowledge and experiences in the Junior Surf Programme.
  • To develop a team based philosophy encompassing leadership, camaraderie, teamwork, and fun.
  • To promote social, emotional and physical growth and development in a healthy and safe environment. 

From the age of 7 years children can join their local Surf Life Saving Club to participate in Junior Surf.   We encourage children to have fun and develop their skills, so they can enjoy the beach and one day might be able to save someone else too.  There are seven achievement levels within the Junior Surf programme providing a managed pathway for children to gain confidence in the surf.


Why does it matter?

The benefits of participation range from enhancing long-term mental and physical health, learning social skills, improving motor skills to those things children themselves already recognise like enjoying themselves and making friends.  There are many flow-on effects for the family and community; from the experience mum's and dad's share with their children to the overall value of a healthier population.

This only happens if kids continue to be involved in programme’s like this, focusing on creating positive fun environments which is crucial to delivering what kids want, keeping them active for longer and ensuring better long-term results for them and the community. 

For further information view Aktive.org.nz, or click on the link below.

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How do we become involved in a Junior Surf Programme?

Each Club runs its own Junior Surf programme. For contact details of Surf Life Saving Clubs around the country click here. Most Clubs run their Junior Surf programme on Sunday morning or afternoon from October through to March, joining is as easy as heading down to the beach and signing up!

Be involved as a parent

Junior Surf offers the rewarding opportunity to give something back to your Club and community by becoming a junior surf coach, co-ordinator, parent volunteer, patrol support, organiser or one of the other many jobs that assist in the delivery of a junior surf programme. 

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“Early childhood experiences are critical to the development of the skills, attitudes and confidence required to become an active participant in sport and recreation in later life.”

Sport New Zealand

200m Badge

All junior members who wish to use foam or fibreglass paddleboards and/or swim beyond waist depth must pass their 200m safety test. This is a mandatory safety requirement which demonstrates that junior members are confident in the ocean and capable of returning to shore if they are separated from their equipment.  For more information click here...


Weather you are a Club Junior Surf Coach, Parent or Volunteer, SLSNZ has a great Junior Surf Programme and resources available to assist in delivering an exciting junior programme for children.  Click here for more information...

Want to JOIN the Surf Life Saving community. Click here to find a Surf Lifesaving Club near you to find out more information on how to join and get involved.

The Rookie Lifeguard Programme has been designed to help junior surf members prepare to be a Surf Lifeguard. The Rookie Lifeguard Programme aims to promote "practical lifeguarding" to the younger members and develop strong ties between senior and junior members as a result of involvement.  Click here for more information...