Surf Sports

Surf Lifesaving


Sydney Water Premiership Series Carnivals. 5
South Coast SLA Interbranch Team. 5
South Coast Branch Championships. 6
NSW SLS Championships. 6
Nipper Proficiencies. 7
Registration & Payment of Carnivals. 7
Parent Contribution. 8
Equipment. 9
Education. 10
Coaching and Training. 10
Skills Development Camps. 11

Competitions & Development Opportunities. 12
Events. 12
Equipment. 13
Officials. 14


Surf Carnivals

In addition to the regular Sunday morning Nowra-Culburra nipper sessions and the (4) club point score sessions, there are a number of junior (and senior) surf carnivals which take place on Saturday mornings at various beaches in the South Coast region.

All children in nippers groups U8s and above are encouraged to participate in carnivals. It further develops their surf lifesaving skills, encourages teamwork and is a great way to make new friends both within our club and with Nippers from other clubs. Whilst there is no emphasis within the Nowra-Culburra club that competitors are expected to place or win, it is good that the children experience the friendliness and rewards that these types of competitions bring.

Club members who wish their children to participate in carnivals or to be considered for team selection should speak to their Age Manager and/or the Surf Sports co-ordinator.

Sydney Water Premiership Series Carnivals

Over the past few seasons Sydney Water have generously sponsored a series of four carnivals in the Illawarra that are popular with both local clubs and those outside our branch. A website has been set up with all the information you need at: Sydney Water Surf Series.

The entry fee for the Sydney Water carnival series is $60 (whether you do 1 or the 4 carnivals) which must be paid by participants at the season’s registration to enable entries to be submitted by the cut-off date (all club entries must be submitted in early October each year). A special Sydney Water competitor singlet will be issued at the first carnival. Alternatively, members can elect to pay a subsidised carnival fee of $70 up front at registration which covers the fees for all local carnivals. Your name will be recorded on the club entry form and a receipt given.

Late entries will be accepted at each round of the Sydney Water series. Competitors will need to pay the $60 fee directly to the carnival organisers, and will also incur a late admin fee of $20.

South Coast SLA Interbranch Team

The NSW Interbranch carnival is an annual event involving the 11 SLS Branches in NSW. Nowra-Culburra nippers (U12+) who wish to be considered for the South Coast Interbranch team should register and compete in the Sydney Water Series, as the first two rounds of this series will also serve as selection trials for places on the South Coast Interbranch team.

Three boys and three girls (2 water/1 beach competitor) from each of the U12, U13 and U14 groups are selected based on their results at the Sydney Water Series carnivals. Any nipper in the U12s to U14s who is interested in nominating for selection should contact the Nowra-Culburra Surf Sports co-ordinator early in the season and ensure they are correctly registered to participate in the Sydney Water Series.

South Coast Branch Championships

The South Coast Branch carnival is restricted to SLS Clubs within the South Coast region – from Warilla south to Mollymook, inclusive. Clubs will compete at both junior and senior levels to determine champions of the South Coast.

This is a fun carnival open to all age groups, and is great for members who have not previously competed in surf carnivals. Nowra-Culburra encourages as many participants as possible to join in, which in turn will enable relay teams to be entered. Being part of a relay team is generally the most fun and the most competitive, and Age Managers will help organise and train our teams in advance.

Nipper nominations will be handled by the respective Age Manager during normal nipper sessions; however, parents will be asked to assist with the training, registrations and logistics involved with participating at this carnival. This may mean transporting equipment, setting up tents, providing refreshments, cleaning and packing boards, applying sunscreen or competitor numbers, or simply co-ordinating the Nippers to ensure they are at the right event at the right time.

No experience is needed for any of these roles – but many hands are required!

NSW SLS Championships

The NSW Championships comprise three separate carnivals – Age Championships, Open Championships and Masters Championships. Members from Nowra-Culburra SLSC are welcome to participate at any of these events.

The NSW Age Championships is generally a huge event (attracting as many as 5,000 juniors), with many heats and a jam-packed schedule. It is open to all interested Nippers U9+ and it is an exciting event in which to participate.

Please notify the Nowra Surf Sports co-ordinator if you or your child wishes to attend any of these three Championships. Entries are lodged through an online carnival system and managed centrally. Please be prepared to volunteer as an official or water safety, as entry numbers are tightly linked with qualified support personnel being in attendance.

Please refer to the NSW Surf Lifesaving website for additional information.


Nipper Proficiencies

Prior to entry in any carnival, all nippers must have gained their competition proficiency to be able to compete. Please speak to the Age Manager or the JAC for confirmation.


Registration & Payment of Carnivals

Please see the separate Competitions page for information on payment for carnival entries.


Parent Contribution

The parents of junior nippers are expected to contribute to either the running of the club or the running of the carnivals.

There are a number of roles needing to be conducted within the Nowra-Culburra SLSC itself and you will always be warmly welcomed to become a committee member or to hold a club position. Please see Ron Denovan, secretary, for further information.

Nippers itself cannot be run without the support from parents and family members. Apart from assisting the Age Managers on a Sunday, there is always the need for families to assist with the canteen, BBQ, general fundraising and the setting up/putting away of the nippers’ equipment. Please speak directly to the JAC for information on how you can help; however, each age group will also be rostered to assist and you may wish to take a lead role in organising these activities.

If you intend for your child to participate in any of the South Coast or NSW carnivals, then at least one member of each participating family will also be required to contribute to the overall success of these events. This might mean undertaking your Bronze Medallion qualifications and being available to provide water safety or to act as an age manager, or completing a Level One Officials course and officiating at these carnivals.

Surf Lifesaving New South Wales and Surf Lifesaving Australia have introduced rules which require each competing club to provide a certain number of carnival officials and water safety personnel at each carnival, based on the number of competitors. The number required can vary, but typically it is based on 6-10 competitors: 1 official and 1 water safety, with an additional official and water safety required for every 5 additional competitors.

For example: for the NSW Country Championship, if Nowra-Culburra SLSC expects to enter around 90-100 entrants (junior + senior), this will mean that we need to supply a minimum of 10 officials and 10 water safety personnel, as well as 1-2 IRB driver and crews.

If the required number of officials and water safety is not met, then the club can be fined (usually $500).

In order to comply with this requirement, options are that we either increase the number of qualified officials and water safety people within the club or we limit the number of competitors at these carnivals, depending on the number of officials and water safety available. If the latter, then priority will be given to competitors whose parents are able to be officials and provide water safety at the carnivals. After those competitors, priority will be given based on the order of return of entry forms (and payment where required). Please be pro-active in ensuring that you can contribute in some way to these events, otherwise you may not be able to register your child.

The club trainer or Surf Sports co-ordinator can provide you with training dates or you can find further training information here.



Nowra-Culburra provides nipper boards and racing mals for all Nowra-Culburra club events. This includes all Sunday nipper sessions, point score events, and the South Coast Branch Carnival. Equipment will also be available to nippers attending the NSW Country Championships.

For those nippers wishing to compete in the Sydney Water Series, NSW Interbranch, NSW State Championships and other non-club carnivals, arrangements will need to be made to either purchase or use your own nipper boards and racing mals, or to request a loan of equipment. Unfortunately the club is not in a position to guarantee race-quality equipment, and equipment will not always be available for loan during the nippers season.

A bond and surety will be required for all loan equipment and the full cost of repair for any damages. Please contact the Equipment Stewart for a Loan Equipment application.



Nowra Culburra has a dedicated group of qualified trainers who regularly conduct a range of surf lifesaving courses. Largely this will depend on the needs of the club and will focus on ensuring the club has suitably qualified patrol members at all times.

We will also be conducting advanced training courses as well as a Level One Officials Course at the beginning of the season. Further information about the club’s training calendar can be found here.


Coaching and Training

The Club will run an informal u15+ cadet training session each Sunday morning under the direction of the club coach and volunteer patrol members. This will focus primarily on water events and will largely depend on the overall needs of the attending group.

A number of skills training sessions will be conducted for ‘March Past’ and Relay events prior to the Country Championships. Nowra-Culburra will also invite qualified NSW coaches to provide specific skills training to U8-U14 nippers during our normal nipper training sessions.


Skills Development Camps

The South Coast Surf Lifesaving Branch and NSW Surf Lifesaving will periodically conduct training camps, athlete development sessions and a range of skills development opportunities both for our U8-U14 nippers and our U15+ cadets.

Generally, it will be up to the family to notify the club if you are interested in your child being considered for application. In most cases, the club will need to endorse the application and the family will be required to meet any additional expenses of fees involved in the child participating in the camp/session.

Please refer to the associated NSW Surf lifesaving websites for further information or speak to the Nowra Culburra coach or Surf Sports co-ordinator for further information.


Pool Rescue

Surf Lifesaving Pool Rescue is a fast developing sport for our qualified nippers, cadets and seniors, with many of our world-class ironmen and women now participating in both as part of their national selection process.

Although strong pool swimmers will have the advantage in some ways, specific coaching and training sessions can be provided in the 10 weeks leading up to competitions to prepare competitors for the unique events.


Competitions & Development Opportunities

Each year Pool Rescue competitions are held at State, National and International levels of competition. Participating in the NSW and Australian Championships is open to all proficient surf lifesaving nippers, cadets and seniors. These events are generally held in the off-season for the beach-oriented surf lifesaving events, and focus on the rescue aspect of what surf lifesaving does.

Athlete development training clinics and development opportunities are also hosted by NSW SLSA throughout the autumn-winter period and are open to all proficient u12+ nippers and cadets. A central participant registration and payment process is also in place. Please contact the Surf Sports co-ordinator if you or your child is interested in participating in this completion sport.

Similar to beach and ocean selection, the National Pool Rescue team is selected based on results over the season.


Line throw – a timed event where the competitor throws an unweighted line to a team member in the pool and then pulls him/her 12metres back to the poolside.

The Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC) – this event involves teams of four lifesavers reacting to a simulated emergency scenario within a two minute time limit. Teams receive points based on their performance in the scenario.

50metre Manikin – a competitor swims freestyle for 25mertres then dives to recover a submerged manikin and then carries it to the finish edge of the pool.

100metre Manikin Carry – a competitor swims 50metres freestyle wearing swim fins to recover a submerged manikin located at the 50metre mark. The manikin is then carried back to the pool edge to finish.

200metre Super Lifesaver – a competitor swims 75metres freestyle to recover a submerged manikin, and then continues carrying the manikin to the turning edge. The manikin is released, fins are put on and the competitor tows a rescue tube 50metres. At the pool turning edge, the rescue tube is placed around a floating manikin which is towed to the finish end of the pool.

100metre Rescue Medley – this event involves swimming 50metres in freestyle, turning and swimming underwater (20metres for men and 15metres for women) to a submerged manikin. After recovering the manikin it is carried to the finish edge of the pool.

200metre Obstacle Swim – this event consists of swimming freestyle a total of 200mentres passing under eight immersed obstacles.

100metre Manikin Tow – a competitor swims 50metres freestyle with fins towing a rescue tube. At the turning edge of the pool the rescue tube is placed around a floating manikin and is towed back 50metres to the finish line.

100metre Manikin Carry – after a 50meters freestyle swim with fins, competitors dive to recover a submerged manikin and swim back to the finish carrying the manikin.



Whilst the same rescue tube is used both in pool rescue and beach surf lifesaving events, competitors wear goggles and swim caps, and are allowed fibreglass (and rubber) swim fins for specific events. Rescue events may also involve an orange rescue manikin for cadet and senior events, and junior competitors retrieve a ‘brick’ from the bottom of the pool.

Cadets and nippers wishing to compete will be required to provide their own training goggles and rubber fins; however, the club will provide the competition rescue manikin, rescue brick and fibreglass fins.



Level One and Two surf lifesaving Officials are qualified to officiate at both beach and Pool Rescue events with no further formal instruction required.

The same requirement applies to competitors participating in both beach/ocean carnivals and Pool Rescue competitions whereby clubs are expected to also supply officials and ‘pool setters’, as per a set participant ratio. In turn, this again means that either our competitor numbers will be restricted to the number of officials attending the event, or that each family will be expected to contribute a qualified official or water safety/pool setter.

Please see the Surf Sports co-ordinator if you are interested in participating in Pool Rescue events.