NIppers Competition FAQs

This page serves as a list of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in relation to the Nippers Competition Program.

Most questions you have may likely be answered on this page, however we will have an information session for interested nippers and parents during November.  Details will be posted to this site and circulated via email once this date is finalised. 

Carnival Dates

There are 7 carnivals plus the Junior State Championships scheduled for the 2016/2017 season.

Dates for the carnivals can be found on the Calendar page of this site or in the Junior Surf Sport Team schedule in TeamApp.

What Happens At Competition Carnivals?

Nippers will remain within their age group with nippers from other clubs and they will progressively move through the events. Typically each age group will have 4-6 events at each carnival.

For U8-U11 only heats will be conducted with no finals. The top three place getters in each heat will receive a ribbon. Most events will be complete by lunch time.

For U12-U14, heats and finals will be run. These age groups will not be finished until early in the afternoon. 

What Events Are Run At Carnivals?

  • Beach Sprint – a 70 m run on soft sand along the beach. Relays are also conducted in teams of 4.
  • Flags – competitors lay flat on their stomach facing away from a short hose (flag) that is placed in the sand 15 m from their feet. Competitors get up and race for the flag with one competitor being knocked out each round, rounds proceed until a winner is decided.
  • Wade – Competitors run about 50 m parallel to the shore in groups of 16 competitors. Wade relay is also conducted in teams of 4.
  • Board – Competitors paddle out and around a number of buoys in groups of up to 16 competitors. Distance varies with age group; U9-U10 – 270 m, U11-U13 – 400 m, U14 – 500 m. Board relays are also conducted in teams of 3.
  • Swim – Competitors swim out and around a number of buoys in groups of up to 30 competitors. Distance varies with age group; U9-U10 – 150 m, U11-U14 – 300 m. Surf teams are also conducted in teams of 4.
  • Iron – Competitors first swim around the buoys, then run 50 m to get their boards and paddle around the buoys and then run a further 50 m to finish. Distances are the same as for the individual swim and board events.
  • Cameron Relay – This comprises a team of 4 with each competitor a single leg. The legs are swim, board, wade and run.
  • Board Rescue – This event comprises two competitors. The first competitor swims out to the buoy and raises their hand, this signals to the board paddler to come and pick up the swimmer. The swimmer and board paddler together paddle the board back to the beach.

Who Can Compete?

Carnivals are open to all nippers U8 and above. The Victorian State Championship is open to all nippers U9 and above.

Qualification criteria for the Victorian State Championship are changing significantly this year due to difficulty completing the full program at some events last year.  Further information on these changes will be communicated to all competition participants closer to the commencement of the season or once this information becomes available.

What Can Parents/Carers Do?

For all nippers/families that attend carnivals at least one parent will be required to provide assistance. Roles include age managers, water safety and officials.

Age managers need to help keep the nippers in a particular age group together, ensure they don’t miss their events and hold their towels, clothes, hats and water bottles.

For every 10 nippers we need to provide one water safety person. A water safety person requires their Bronze Medallion. Bronze Medallion course will require ~20 hr of training before passing an exam.

Officials are also required, one for every 10 nippers. Officials assist in running the events. A 3 hr course is required to become an official in training. Courses are run in November and December.

Parent / Carer Responsibilities At Carnivals

Most carnivals commence at 9am. Please arrive at 8am to assist in putting up the tent, and getting the nippers and equipment organised for the day. Nippers need to be signed in and out on the Age Group Manager roll-sheet and a mobile contact number is required to be recorded. Parents/carers must be contactable at all times during the carnival. Ensure the nippers have a bottle of water and healthy energy snack available during the carnival. It is advisable to pack a small lunch box for the nippers that can be placed in their age group tub.

Uniform / Sun Safety

Nippers require their club competition cap, long-sleeve rashie/shirt and swimmers when competing. Fluro-pink singlets are also required when competing in water events. Hats (wide brim or legionnaire) are required to be worn at all times apart from when competing (caps are not sufficient). Also ensure the nippers have had sun screen applied. The combination of hat and shirt must cover at least the nippers face neck, shoulders and arms. Wetsuits can be allowed in the younger age groups (U9-U12), typically if the water is <18°C. 

Age Group Managers Role At Carnivals

Each age group will have two parents assigned (one each for male and female nippers) to marshal nippers for their events. In groups that have nippers that cannot compete in water events another parent will be assigned for the water event nippers. These parents will only be required for the duration of the water events. 

Water Safety And Officials

Water safety and officials must sign up prior to the start of carnival, on the day, at the LSV tent. You will be assigned to an age group and will typically stay with that age group for the carnival. Water Safety will be rostered on 2-hr shifts prior to the carnival. 


For most carnivals boards will be transported on the club trailer to ensure all boards arrive at the carnival and assist those families that cannot transport boards. As we have a limited number of boards, boards will be usually needed to be shared between competitors. Boards will be assigned to age groups. Age Group Managers will be informed of which boards they will be using for the day and are responsible to make sure they are cared for and returned to the tent. Any damage to a board is to be reported to the Competition Manager on the day. 

Carnival Entries

An entry fee of $23 per nipper per carnival is applicable. Parents are required to complete an entry form with evidence of payment (or cash) and drop it in the entry box before a nipper will be entered. Payments can be made via cash, bank transfer (BSB: 633000, Account: 127768844, include your surname in the reference field) or by credit card by going to go to the Members tab (2nd from the right), select Club and Member Resources, in the Quick Links table select Payment Gateway. Once there choose Altona as your club, select membership/carnival fees as the Transaction Type and follow the prompts.

Entries close on the Sunday before the carnival. If you have been entered in a carnival and you are unable to attend you need to inform the Competition Manager before the carnival or you will still be required to pay the entry fee. It is very important you inform the Competition Manager of your child’s attendance as it affects entry fees and the number of officials and water safety we need to provide.

Victorian Championship entries are $35 per nipper.  Close of entry dates will be communicated closer to the time.

Competition Evaluation 

To compete in water events (swim, board and iron) at competition carnivals all nippers must successfully complete the ‘competition evaluation’. The ‘competition evaluation’ is an open water swim (U9-U10: 150 m and U11-U14: 288 m). Nippers need to swim continuous freestyle, no rest stops, in a set time. All U12-U14 competitors are required to complete the ‘competition evaluation’ to be entered into any event (including flags and beach sprint/relay).

Surf Proficiency 

Altona will also require nippers to show their competency in waves if competing at surf beaches. While nippers may have achieved their ‘competition evaluation’ in the still bay conditions this does not mean they are competent in surf conditions. A number of competition training sessions will be run throughout the year both in the bay in afternoon choppy conditions and on surf beaches. Your child will need to be able to display sufficient surf skills to be permitted to compete in surf conditions. The decision as to whether or not your child can compete in surf conditions will reside with the Competition Manager and Coaching Team. 


Please be aware that it is LSV policy that any parents wanting to take photos on the day are to sign a media consent form and provide photo ID at the LSV tent. They will then receive an arm band allowing them to take photos.

Team Selection

The Competition Manager and Competition Sub-Committee will attempt to place all nippers, who wish to participate, in team events without preference during regular carnivals. In this way any nipper can be part of any team event with a variety of team mates, thus maximising opportunities for all to be involved.

For Regional and State Championships the Competition Sub-Committee, in consultation with the Coaching Team, will select teams based on a number of criteria including:

  • performance in individual events at inter-club carnivals and Altona Club carnivals
  • frequency of attendance at Inter-club carnivals
  • frequency of attendance at training sessions
  • surf conditions on the day

Participation in a qualifying team at the Regional Championships does not guarantee a place in that team at the State Championships.



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