SURF SAVERS: Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien with nippers from the Coolum Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.
SURF SAVERS: Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien with nippers from the Coolum Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Kat Donaghey

New boards for our nippers

SURF LIFESAVING: Coolum nippers will have more lifesaving boards to train and compete with this season thanks to a Federal Government grant.

The Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club will have its annual sign-on August 26, with record numbers expected to register.

The popular club has been booming with new members but did not have enough nipper boards to go around.

Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said he was pleased to secure $4365 through the Stronger Communities Program for the club to buy new paddle boards and rescue boards.

"These paddle boards and rescue boards are designed especially for nippers to use during weekday training, at the Sunday morning program and at carnivals and competitions,” Mr O'Brien said.

"Nippers use these boards to learn basic surf lifesaving skills and hopefully stick at it and become adult surf lifesavers in the future.

"It's great that clubs are building their nipper ranks but also important to have enough equipment to cater to the membership and hopefully retain kids into the future.”

Coolum Surf Life Saving Club lifesaving administrator Carla Gilbert said the club had experienced a 28 per cent increase in nippers membership last season, with 200 nippers in total.

Ms Gilbert said the membership was expected to increase again during this year's sign-on period in August. Children must be seven years old before September 30 in order to join the nippers program.

"We didn't have enough boards last season and the nippers had to share the boards around and of course over time there is also wear and tear,” she said.

"We are always looking for more boards because lifesaving equipment is expensive. We need sufficient equipment to cater to and retain our new members.”

Ms Gilbert said nippers training was designed to improve fitness and teach water and beach-based skills.

The young trainees also had the opportunity to compete in local, state and national competitions.

Coolum Surf Life Saving Club was one of 20 organisations in Mr O'Brien's electorate of Fairfax to share in $150,000 of grants.

The Stronger Communities Program distributes funding to community groups for projects that encourage participation and contribute to a vibrant society.

Round 4 of the Stronger Communities Program is expected to open in coming months.


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