Before a child can participate in any Nipper's event, they must complete the Preliminary Skills Evaluation.

To maintain safety and lifesaving standards, SLSA has set a minimum level of proficiency that Nipper members must achieve before being eligible to compete in carnivals.

It's important that all Nippers complete their respective swims every year for their respective Age Groups as the following rules apply:

  • "Higher Level of Supervision with Water Activities for Nippers with No Proficiency Swims Completed"  and
  • "No Sand or Water Competition for Competitors with No Competition Swim Evaluations Completed"

Season 2023/2024, Proficiency swims will be conducted in Maroubra Seals Sports and Community Club pool on Sunday 17th September between 9.00am and 3.00pm with no other closed pool sessions being held this season.

If a Nipper is unable to attend this session then they will need to attend  a session which will be conducted in the first few weeks of the season in open and/or flatwater conditions  (such as Mahon Pool or Frenchmans Bay) . These may be conducted prior to Nippers  Sunday activities beginning at 6.30am.

Children will have the opportunity to complete their Competition Skills Evaluation during the first few weeks of Nippers.  

Junior Preliminary Evaluations

For the 2023/24 season an updated Preliminary Skills Evaluation has been introduced nationally.

This has been redeveloped to reflect industry standard research in aquatic skills, and there is a greater focus on foundation skills in the water which assist in making rescue ready lifesavers.

Many activities that will be completed by children as part of Junior Activities will be conducted in the water. To ensure that all children have a suitable swimming ability to allow them to participate in these activities, SLSA has developed a Junior Preliminary Evaluation for each age group. Every junior member is required to participate in this evaluation prior to any water-based activities being undertaken. Clubs can set standards that go over and above the requirements set by SLSA, but not below this standard.

Note: It is not an assessment which if not completed competently precludes the child from becoming a member or continuing with junior surf education or training activities. Any child that does not meet the required evaluation level will require a higher level of supervision when involved in water-based activities at the discretion of the club.

SLSA Age Group Evaluations and Surf Education Awards

The following tables outline the national standard for preliminary skills evaluations.

Stage 1: Under 6, Under 7 & Under 8

Stage 2: Under 9, Under 10 & Under 11

Stage 3: Under 12, Under 13, & Under 14

Conducting the Evaluation

Evaluations should be conducted in a low-risk environment, as determined by a completion of a pre-activity risk assessment. 

All new junior members should be supported by a 1:1 water safety ratio (water safety personnel: activity participant) when completing their evaluation. For all returning junior members, where knowledge of their ability is known by the SLSC, a 1:5 water safety ratio (water safety personnel: activity participants) may be used (Refer to SLSA Water Safety Procedure 1.01).

The pool evaluation conducted “in a safe constructed pool environment with a water safety ratio as per the SLSA Policy 1.01 – Water Safety – a 1:5 water safety ratio is to be implemented for all members under evaluation.” may now also be conducted in open water (ocean, rock pools and ocean baths) away from surf conditions for both new and returning nippers, effective

In instances where evaluations cannot be completed a qualified and accredited swim coach can be endorsed to sign off the preliminary skills pool assessment.

  • Swimming coaches are required to provide their Australian Swimming Teachers and Coaches Associate (ASTCA) number, their name and email address and the name of the children who have successfully completed the swim.

Junior Competition Evaluations

From the age of 7 (Under 8) juniors can begin to compete in intra-club, inter-club and branch competition, while from the age of 8 (Under 9) juniors can participate in state competition. To ensure that all junior members that wish to compete in any inter-club, branch, state and national events/championships have the required ability, strength and fitness to compete they must be able to complete the junior competition evaluation for their age group.

Note: The definition of ‘Open Water’ is sourced from NSW Maritime and refers to ‘navigable waters’ which includes beaches. It does not include inland and coastal rivers, lakes and enclosed bays, harbours or rock pools.

SLSA Age Group Competition Evaluation:

The following table outlines the national standard for competition skills evaluations.

Branch and State Competition Requirements

Any competitor wishing to compete at Branch or State carnivals (water and/or beach events) must have successfully completed:

• Junior Preliminary Evaluation
• Junior Competition Evaluation
• Appropriate Surf Education award for their age group by 31 December 2023.

Junior Activities members (i.e. members comprising Under 14 and below), are not required to perform patrol hours to compete in junior activities competitions.

However, if eligible members wish to compete in Under 15 competitions, they must fulfil their patrol hour obligations as set out in SLSA Policy 5.04 – Competition Eligibility. This Policy can be found in the SLSA Members Area.

These three components must be entered into SurfGuard prior to close of entries.