The nippers from Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club finished fourth out of 34 teams at the SA Lifesaving Championships – ending the best season in the club’s history on a real high.
The 68 fielded nippers, aged between 8 and 14, travelled to Port Elizabeth last week to compete against strong opposition.
The team was led by captains Lee Anderson and Chelsea Beaton, who are in their final year as nippers before heading to the junior team next year.
Fourteen-year-old Lee was the second top-point scorer in his age group.
A proud moment for the club came when two of the youngest nippers, Harry Day and Finn Murphy, received commendations from SA Lifesaving for abandoning their chances of winning points in a surf-swimming race, in order to help two nippers from a rival club who were struggling in difficult conditions.
The team were honoured by their coaches at a special awards evening on the last night of the competition, where coaches and 45 families from the club celebrated together.
The club also paid tribute to Kit Beaton, who stepped down as nipper coach after eight years.
The result from Port Elizabeth’s Kings Beach ended a memorable season for Llandudno, which saw the nippers win their first Western Province Championships last month and saw Hout Bay hosting its first competition in 25 years.
The club hopes to host another event in the next season which begins in the spring.
Paul Broxis, the nippers officer, said the season had been quite special.
“There has been such commitment and enjoyment for the nippers, parents and coaches alike. The kids are all more confident in handling themselves in the ocean and have really done the club proud.”
Earlier in the season, six Llandudno members took part in the World Lifesaving Championships held in Adelaide, Australia, last November, competing against 5 000 competitors from 165 clubs and 38 countries around the world. They delivered stellar performances, highlighted by a world’s silver medal for Calvin Amor and Robert Shaff in the 2 x 1km beach run relay.
The season ends on April 13 with an interprovincial competition hosted at Clifton Lifesaving Club, with the following Llandudno members representing the Western Cape: Calvin Amor, Logan Eales, Tasmin du Preez and Christina Geromont in the seniors; Kari Steyn in the juniors; and Lee Anderson, Connor Slijpen, Tayla Kreymborg, Mikaela Bristow and Kai Pfister in the nippers.