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Riversdale ‘nipper’ off to nationals

Keoni Tiley, a junior member of the Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club, is set to represent the club at the National Oceans 24 Festival of Junior Lifesaving later this month.

The festival is the largest surf lifesaving competition for those taking part in the nationwide surf lifesaving ‘Nippers’ programme, which is aimed at kids aged from five to 13 and teaches them water safety while getting them exercising – including competing in various competitions.

Keoni, who is 10 years old, recently took part in the Central North Island championships at Fitzroy Beach, which was attended by 22 other clubs and where he scooped up five medals from six events.

It’s thanks to this impressive performance that he is now heading off to Mount Maunganui for the national competition [February 22 to 25].

“We were blown away because some kids only do one event, but he did every one of them and came away pretty successful from that,” a Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club spokesperson said.

“Everyone was talking about this one kid from Riversdale doing well.”

Keoni’s best result was winning a silver medal in the beach flags race, which involves competitors lying on sand and then pushing up, turning around, and sprinting to dive for a flag.

He also scored bronze medals in the beach sprint, knee board race, run and swim, and ‘the diamond’, which is a run, swim, and board race back-to-back.

There was also a swim in the surf race in which he came fourth.

Riversdale Beach’s Nippers programme has been very successful this summer, with a total of 220 kids participating in daily training over four weeks during December and January.

“The sessions focused on water safety and confidence, fitness, wellbeing, and surf lifesaving sports,” the spokesperson said.

The club also held a surf lifesaving carnival on Wellington Anniversary weekend, which was attended by six other clubs based in the Greater Wellington and was a great success, with over 30 local juniors participating.

The club also staged a triathlon and various fundraising events, including a quiz night and a fish auction.

Daily patrols finished on Waitangi Day, but the north end of the beach will still be patrolled in February on the weekends.

On Saturday, patrols are from 12pm to 5pm, while on Sundays they’re between 10am and 3pm.

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