From the age of 5 years children can join their local Surf Life Saving Club to participate in Junior Surf Lifesaving.  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.  It’s about developing tomorrow’s lifesavers and opening up a whole new world to children.

If your children would like to become involved in Nippers, contact your local surf life saving club.

Junior Development Awards

The Junior Development Program pathways knowledge and skills learning outcomes through lessons that are tailored to each of the age groups; ensuring the content is relevant, in line with lifesaving and surf sports most up to date training standards and most of all exciting! The program is based on participatory evaluation and not assessed on competence; this means your child must only be actively involved in each of the lessons to be eligible for the award. We believe this is the best way to introduce juniors to surf life saving where fun takes priority over being ‘tested’.

Below is a summary of each of the junior development awards:

Surf Play 1 & 2 (Under 6 & Under 7)

Surf Play is the program designed for the most junior members. There is no award for Surf Play – the focus is on play, participation and fun. Activities and games will be the focus of the sessions with a number of simple beach safety and awareness lessons available such as: basic safety practices during activities, what makes up a beach environment, sunsmart guidelines, the importance of having an adult with them at the beach, what a lifesaver is and what they do, wading, beach sprinting and beach flags.

Surf Aware 1 (Under 8)

Surf Aware 1 is the first of the junior development awards. The focus is on understanding, identifying and demonstrating sunsmart guidelines and dangers that relate to themselves, as well as what it means to feel safe. They learn to recognise whether they are, or someone else is, in an emergency situation and how to get help. Ecosurf discusses the beach environment and communities surf lifesavers operate in. Surf sports skills focus on; bodyboarding, wading, dolphin-diving, beach sprint starts and beach flags starts.

Surf Aware 2 (Under 9)

Surf Aware 2 builds on Surf Aware 1. Personal Safety Networks are introduced so participants are comfortable asking for help; Ecosurf talks about the impact surf lifesavers can have on the beach. Safety of self steps up a gear by introducing safety tips and the ability to identify hazardous surf conditions. As an U9, participants can begin to use a nipper board, so basic board positioning and paddling is introduced. Other surf sports skills focus on; body surfing, sand running technique and diving for a beach flag.

Surf Safe 1 (Under 10)

The first of the Surf Safe awards Surf Safe 1 begins to get a little more specific in its lessons introducing a number of new topics. Participants will identify adults at the surf clubs they can ask to help them, in Ecosurf they focus on water conservation and in sun safety the spotlight is on the consequences of skin damage. Participants learn about rips, recognising unsafe behaviours and relating these areas to preventative actions. Resuscitation is introduced for the first time with an opportunity to experience CPR on a manikin. Rescue techniques are also introduced for the first time as participants learn to use body boards to assist distressed swimmers and experience rescue tubes. Surf sports skills focus on; entering and negotiating the surf on a board and beach relay baton changes.

Surf Safe 2 (Under 11)

Surf Safe 2 takes a significant step up in the level of content. As U11’s they have the ability to learn more technical aspects of lifesaving and are able to be more physical in surf sports skills. Participants are encouraged to persist when needing help and Ecosurf gets into energy conservation. There is a strong focus on recognising ‘at risk’ people and recognising and managing patients suffering from a range of basic first aid cases. As a 10 year old participants can learn how to perform CPR and there is an opportunity to work towards a Resuscitation Certificate. There is also a strong section on communication both interpersonal and through beach signage. There is a significant percentage of surf sports skills which focus on; board dismounts, catching waves on a board, board relay, surf swimming techniques, crouching beach sprint starts and ironman/ironwoman and cameron relay transitions.

Surf Smart 1 (Under 12)

Surf Smart 1 continues similar to Surf Safe 2. Participants begin to learn about their rights and responsibilities as a member of SLSA, the Ecosurf lesson looks at how weather impacts on the beach environment. Personal health & wellbeing and sun safety is focused on skin cancer and staying fit and healthy respectively. The role of patrols is first introduced to this award as is the managing rips and using them to assist in rescues. As an 11 year old, participants can work towards a Basic Emergency Care Certificate (as well as a Resuscitation Certificate). This certificate comprises of lessons in the human body, complete basic first aid and resuscitation. Some more signals are introduced that compliment the first set previously learnt. Previous board skills come into play as participants learn how to conduct a board rescue. The focus of surf sports skills is to complete all the skills in each skill set and includes; rolling under a wave on a board, diving under large waves, beach sprint arm and leg drive and beach flags race strategies.

Surf Smart 2 (Under 13)

The last of the junior development awards, Surf Smart 2 looks to wrap up the skills and knowledge learnt in all the previous awards. Participants learn about what the SLSA Member Safety and Wellbeing Policy is, and in Ecosurf they tackle the issues of Global Warming and Climate Change and how they will impact on surf life saving. Surf Safety is wrapped up into the 10 Surf Safety Tips, Communication focuses on the importance of communicating with beach users, Patrols identifies other professional emergency services and participants will experience performing a tube rescue. Participants can work towards a Basic Emergency Care Certificate (as well as a Resuscitation Certificate). This certificate comprises of lessons in the human body, complete basic first aid and resuscitation. The focus of surf sports skills is on bringing all the skills learnt in previous awards together to participate in an event for each of the disciplines: board race, board rescue, surf race, run-swim-run, beach sprint, beach relay, beach flags, ironman/ironwoman and cameron relay.

How do we become involved?

Each Club runs its own Junior Surf Program.  For contact details of Surf Life Saving Clubs around Tasmania click here

Most Clubs run their Junior Surf Education program on Sunday mornings from October through to March, joining is as easy as heading down to the beach and signing up! 

Surf Life Saving Clubs provide regular Junior Surf competition events for those members who want to take part in events and have fun testing their skills against those from other Clubs.


For the Junior Activities - How to Guide for 2020/21 click here

Safeguarding Children and Young People Program

Our commitment to the protection of children and young people under the age of 18 from abuse, harm and exploitation.


The Safeguarding Children and Young People Program assists Surf Life Saving (SLS) in our commitment to the protection of children from abuse, harm and exploitation.

The program builds the capacity of SLS to protect our children and young people by providing resources and education to support clubs to provide a safe environment for all members. Clubs can achieve the Australian Sports Commission Child Safe standards through the development and implementation of the following key strategies:

  • A statement of commitment to child safety
  • Implementation of the code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour when dealing with children
  • Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
  • Educate and inform members of the signs and indicators of child abuse
  • Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
  • Regular communication, awareness and promotion of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Program
  • Strategies to identify and remove risks to children and young people
  • Strategies to communicate and promote the participation and empowerment of children within the club

Resources, webinars and an online training course have been developed to assist all Clubs to achieve these standards, these resources are available via the Surf Life Saving Australia Safeguarding Children and Young People web page.

The Safeguarding Children and Young People Program is underwritten by the Surf Life Saving Australia Member Protection Policy (MPP).

Volunteering with children in Surf Life Saving Clubs

The Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 aims to protect children from harm by providing
the highest standard of compulsory background checking for anyone involved in child-related
work or volunteering in Tasmania. It does not matter whether the role is paid or unpaid, supervised or

Working with Children Registration applies to people within all sectors including club and association activity.
Sport and recreation plays a pivotal role in children’s development. It is important that safe environments
are provided for all children who participate in this sector.

Not only is it up to the individual to make sure they are registered to work with children but employers and
volunteer organisations have a number of responsibilities and obligations under the Act including
the responsibility to ensure that their staff and volunteers have a valid registration to work with children.

For more information on volunteering with children in Surf Life Saving Clubs download the SLST & Swimming Tasmania Fact Sheet by clicking here or visit the Justice Tasmania website   

About Play By The Rules

Play by the Rules provides information and online learning for community sport and recreation on how to:

  • prevent and deal with discrimination, harassment and child abuse, and
  • develop inclusive and welcoming environments for participation.

Click on the logo for more information about how your club can use the resources on Play by the Rules to promote inclusive, safe and fair participation.

Play by the Rules is a unique partnership between the Australian Sports Commission, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, all state and territory sport and recreation and anti-discrimination agencies and the Queensland Commission for Children, Young People and Child Guardian.

The information on Play by the Rules is not intended to be, nor should it be relied upon as, a substitute for legal or other professional advice.

 Play By The Rules