Children can join Nippers from 6 years old up until 13. We run fun, safe sessions teaching the kids how to be safe in the water and how to help others be safe too.
Nippers can start as early as 6 years old, but they will need to be able to swim at least 50m with a recognised stroke (ie. not doggy paddle) for their own safety. Because we aren’t a swim club, we recommend that children continue to go to swimming lessons separately to help them develop their technique.
We coach a whole range of skills in Nippers: from how to swim through a breaking wave to how to spot a rip tide. From how to tow an casualty to how to catch a wave on their paddle boards and surf it back in.
The year is split into two: from late September to the end of April we’re in the warmth of Ilfracombe pool. From May through the summer we’re on the sand and surf of Croyde Bay.
What we need from you
If your child has joined the club and is young - ie will not reach 8 years old until after 31st December in the year - then we ask that you take responsibility for them by popping on a wetsuit and accompanying them into the sea during beach sessions, and be on hand on the poolside, as these very young children need more attention, may get cold quickly or simply need their parent for extra reassurance.
When do we train?
October to April
Pool sessions at Ilfracombe Pool
3.45 - 4.45pm Sundays
6.30 - 7.45pm Wednesdays
May to September
Beach sessions on Croyde Beach: Meeting at the club hut by the National Trust car park
All members are expected to attend our Club Safety Night which is held before we go back onto the beach in the late Spring – usually in May.
6.30 – 8.15pm Weds evenings
9.45 - 11.15am Sunday mornings
What kit will you need?
For the pool
Club swim hat
This is compulsory for safety reasons: without it you will not be allowed to join in with the session. On poolside we usually have new hats for sale.
We sell club swimsuits and jammers. NB. no Baggy shorts or 2-piece swimsuits as they are not suitable for training, diving etc.
You’ll need a good quality, durable, and well-fitting pair. There are so many types and styles available through the internet or sports shops, and it is a very personal choice, but TRY THEM ON before you buy, as they should stay pressed in place on the face for 5-10 seconds (without the use of the strap).
To avoid ‘fogging’ use a tiny bit of shampoo or liquid soap, then wipe it off well with a tissue to create a barrier. To mark them use a waterproof plaster wrapped around the back strap with your name marked on in permanent marker. Parents - please adjust goggles and make sure they fit well on your child before they come on poolside.
Take time to look around, but for most nippers try the longer blade, soft rubber fins for swim training, e.g. JPL or Keifer rubber long swim fins. This type helps to lessen the chance of leg cramps. Ask a coach for advice.
For older, more experienced youth the short–blade training fins are more suitable, and be aware that the fibreglass, stiff-bladed fins are used mainly for contests and only after carefully graded training. (We use our own club fibreglass fins in youth sessions as a build-up to competitions.) Using a permanent marker put your name on both blades so you don’t lose them.
For the beach
You'll need a club swim hat as above, this is so we can keep an eye on you in the water and while nippers don't *have* to wear goggles in the sea, we'd recommend a good pair to help them see in the water.
A full-length wetsuit (recommended autumn/winter quality 4/3mm). This is for when we return to the beach. No shorties - as these do not keep youngsters warm. Plenty of local suppliers will give 5-10% discount to club members and we have ‘try and buy’ nights with suppliers where you can get good deals - but speak to other members for recommendations, etc. The club can help you to choose too if you have never owned a suit. A special shout to Tiki who give club members a brilliant 25% discount on all Tiki own-brand suits, boots and gloves.
Nippers will also want a rash vest and boots and gloves for early season (adults too!), which also protect your feet when walking over rocks!