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Nippers get taste of lifesaving

By Jake Beleski

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Some of Wairarapa’s future lifeguards are being put through their paces at Riversdale Surf Life Saving Club’s Nippers programme.

The club held its first session at Riversdale Beach on December 28, with more sessions being run on every weekday until January 20.

Club committee member Madeleine Taylor said it had been a huge success so far.

“It’s been going really well.

“We have 36 enrolled in the 5-to-7-year-old age group, 45 in the 8-11 group and 38 in our cadet squad (12-14).”

Each session goes for an hour, and is designed to teach confidence in the sea as well as safety in the water and on the beach.

“They learn to look at the water and understand how rips and waves work,” she said.

“It teaches them about swimming between the flags, being with adults and how to manage themselves in water situations.”

There are eight professional lifeguards helping to run the sessions, alongside volunteer guards when additional resources are required.

Swimmers of all abilities are welcome.

“We have a ratio of 1:5 in the water which means there’s always people with them,” she said.

“If they want to come on the day they are welcome, but they do need to be there before the session starts because we need to be able to make sure we have a list and everybody knows where everybody is — they can come into the club at 8.30am to register.”

This Saturday there is a kids’ triathlon at the beach that people could register for, she said.

“People can sign up at the club either Friday night or Saturday morning.

“It’s a $10 entry fee, and it’s for kids between 5-17 years old.”

The start times for the triathlon are staggered, with the youngest group starting at 9am, the middle group at 9.45am and the oldest group at 10.30am.

“More FM are coming out to do a beach day with spot prizes — it should be a great day.”

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