Published on 25 August 2023

First Nations Nippers take to the water

Local First Nations children will take to the water this summer as Surf Life Saving’s newest Nippers.

The 22 children aged from seven to 12 are part of the Parnggi Yarluwar Porlar or Water Ocean Kids program, run by Surf Life Saving SA and the Tjindu Foundation.

Each child takes part in 20 weeks of swimming lessons during terms 2 and 3 at the Noarlunga Aquatic and Recreation Centre followed by 20 weeks in the Nippers program at the Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

“The program is free and gives children water confidence and helps improve their safety around water. It’s also a direct pathway into surf lifesaving,” says Acting Coordinator at the Noarlunga Aquatic and Recreation Centre, Adele Geyer.

“The children start off here at the centre with swimming lessons and then, from fourth term this year, spend some of their summer days as new Nippers at Christies Beach.

“They will learn all the skills of lifesavers – wading, running, swimming, board paddling and lifesaving skills, with the opportunity to work towards resuscitation and first aid qualifications.

“Surf lifesaving is also a great social outlet – playing and working with others in a great outdoor setting.”

Adele says the response from all of the children and their families has been extremely positive.

“The best part about being able to provide this program is the pure joy and happiness on the children’s faces as they attend lessons each week,” she says.

“There’s also their excitement when they progress to the next level in our learn-to-swim program.”

The Parnggi Yarluwar Porlar program is helping 200 First Nations children aged seven to 12 years from across the state to learn to swim and to become Nippers at their local surf lifesaving clubs.

First Nations children have a higher rate of fatal and non-fatal drowning compared with non-Aboriginal children.

“The program is not just about free fun,” says Adele. “It’s about helping First Nations’ children to be safer around the water and maybe one day be the ones looking out for the safety of others.”

Parnggi Yarluwar Porlar has been funded through the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing’s Active State Collaboration Program.

Find out more about the program at the Tjindu Foundation. To get involved in surf lifesaving, visit the Surf Life Saving SA website.

The Noarlunga Aquatic and Recreation Centre is open seven days a week. 



Parnggi Yarluwar Porlar participants proudly receive their swimming certificates at the Noarlunga Aquatic and Recreation Centre

From top: Lucas Vivar-Lawrence, Aria and Leon Measures, Luka Perrotta, Dakota Wanganeen, Brenton Goldsmith, William Summers, Savannah Humphries, and Brenton Mitchell


Lucas Vivar-Lawrence cropped 2.jpg