Surf Carnivals involve both water and beach events with  individual and team events. Not all children wish to compete in carnivals, however competition is encouraged as it builds surf skills. For the majority of children, participation is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. We encourage all Nippers (U9 and above) to represent our Club. We also take pride in our teams and enter as many teams as possible to represent MLSC. Remember good sportsmanship takes precedence over winning. Unsportsmanlike behaviour by Parents or Nippers will not be tolerated. Carnival Entries for carnivals open 3-6 weeks before each event and the links for registration will be posted on Facebook & Team App. Following the links below to find out more about Competing in Surf Life Saving.


Carnivals are run by Sydney Northern Beaches (SNB) Branch as a competition between the Nippers (U9 and above) of different surf clubs culminating with the SNB Branch Junior Championships.  This is followed by the NSW Age State Championships. Parents/carers of Nippers competing at Carnivals are expected to help out with set up, pack down, officiating or Water Safety (must hold SRC or Bronze Medallion).  Each club is required to provide a minimum number of water safety and carnival officials so please volunteer to ensure the carnival is a success. Please click here for more information on volunteering. Other SLS Competitions are also held in which Manly Nippers may compete. As with all Nipper activities each Nipper remains the responsibility of their Parent/carer and all Nippers and their Parents/carers are bound by the Rules & Regulations of SLSA, SLSNSW, Manly LSC and by the Code of Conduct signed by all at registration each year. Any breach of these Rules and Regulations or the Code of Conduct by Nippers or Parents WILL result in the child and parent being removed from the beach. Manly Nippers Carnival Checklist is a quick guide to what to take/do on the day of a carnival.

Carnival Events

Nippers are eligible to compete in the following events dependent on their age group. More details on all the events are available in our Manly Nippers Carnival Events flyer. Team events are in italics. *Indicates mixed gender teams




Beach Events
March Past – 10-15 person*Y Y Y
1 km Run Y Y
Flags Y Y
Sprint Race Y Y
Sprint Relays – 4 person Y Y
All Age Beach Relay – 6 person* Y Y
R&R – 2 or 5 man teams* Y Y
Water Events
Surf swim Y Y
Surf Teams race- 4 person Y Y
Board Race Y Y
Board Relay – 3 person Y Y
All Age Board Relay – 6 person* Y Y
Ironman/Woman Y
Board Rescue – 2 person Y
Cameron Relay – 4 person* Y
Brace Relay (rarely included) – 2 person Y

All junior competition and events are conducted under the rules and regulations specified by the Competition Rules of SLSA and SLSNSW.  The Rules are available from the Club.

Team Selection

Teams will be selected by Age Managers in consultation with the Coaches based on ability, performance at carnivals over a period of time, and other factors. Nippers learn important values as part of a team such as working together, mateship, and sharing in the highs and lows of competition. It is therefore a Club policy that team events take priority over individual events. If a competitor does not wish to be considered for a team event please inform the Age Manager and Coaches (for team events at Branch and State this notification must be given by 30 November). Manly Nippers Competition Policies contains further specifics about the Clubs Team selection Policy

Entry Fees

A Training and Competition Levy is payable to Manly LSC at Nipper Registration.  This offsets some of the costs of providing coaches at SNB carnivals and SNB carnival entry fees. Other Carnivals will incur additional registration costs which will be made clear when promoted by Manly Nippers on Facebook or Team App. Parents may be required to reimburse the Club for entry fees in the case of non-attendance or withdrawal from an event. Late entries may be possible and will normally incur additional costs.  Please talk to your Age Manager or Competition Manager. For more detailed information see our Manly Nippers Competition Policies


If a competitor feels he/she has been unfairly impeded by another competitor or that an irregularity has occurred, there may be grounds for a protest. However, the “luck of the prevailing conditions” is an integral part of surf sports and is not grounds for protest.

  • Any protest about the course must be made prior to the start of the event.
  • A protest must be lodged within 5 minutes of the end of a race. The Age Manager/Team Manager should be notified immediately if a protest is being considered.

Competing Outside Your Age Group

In general competing outside Age Groups is not permitted in individual events. Nippers may compete up in some team events subject to:

  • the competitor holding the Pool & Surf proficiency qualification for the older age group; and
  • the approval of the JAC Chairman, Superintendent, Coaches or Team Manager.

SNB Branch Championships

SNB Branch Carnival is the final Carnival of the season in our Northern beaches area and is used to select the Ironman/woman and Board rescue qualifiers for NSW State Carnival. To compete Nippers need to have

  • passed their Pool & Surf proficiency,
  • completed their Surf Education requirements by 31 Dec, and
  • attended 8 Nipper Sunday Activity Days.

U14s may also compete in U15 team events at the Branch carnival for the Opens as part of the Senior Club. They will need to have completed the required number of patrolling/water safety hours to do so. Manly Nippers U14s Transition flyer has further information. Branch Medals are awarded for Gold, Silver and Bronze in each event.

NSW Age State Championships

When 7th-10th March

Where Queenscliff Beach, NSW

Sydney Northern Beaches Requests for State Championship entries will be posted on Facebook in early January.

A large team of Manly Nippers are encouraged to take part each year. To be able to attend Nippers (U9-U14) need to have:

  • passed Pool & Surf Proficiency and Surf Education requirements by Dec 31;
  • completed their SRC – U14s only;
  • a parent/carer who is volunteering in some capacity -– water safety, IRB, official, Set up, committee or age manager;
  • been committed to training and reasonably competitive – this Carnival is the highest level of competition in NSW; and
  • competed in two prior SNB carnivals and attended 8 Nipper Sunday Activity Days (except at the discretion of selectors)

If you need to borrow a Club board, please contact the Gear Steward or your Age Manager. State medals are awarded for Gold, Silver and Bronze in each event.

Northern Beaches Development Squad

After the NSW Age State Championships, high performing Nippers (U11-U14) can apply to be included in an elite development squad for our Branch. Those who are selected are invited to participate in additional training sessions with members from other clubs on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Expressions of interest will be requested on Facebook and Team App.

SNB Interbranch Team

Every year a Sydney Northern Beaches team (U12-U14) is selected to compete against other branches across NSW at the Interbranch Carnival held in early December. Selection into this team is based on nominations and performance at past carnivals. An Interstate team (U14 and above only) is selected to compete in January against teams from other states across Australia. Nominations for Interbranch will be posted on Facebook and Team App.

NSW Junior Development Academy

The Club may nominate high-performing U12-U14 Nippers to be considered for selection in a 3-day residential training Academy run by SLS NSW.  This is a highly competitive program as athletes are selected from across the State.  It is normally held at Narrabeen Sports Academy during the Spring school holidays. Details will be posted on Facebook and Team App over the Winter.

SLS NSW Pool Rescue Championships

In this competition Nippers, U11 and above, test their rescue skills with events such as manikin tows, obstacle swims and tube swims carrying patients. The event was originally aimed as an opportunity for elite lifesavers to display the skills that keep them rescue ready for the start of the patrol season. Manly Nippers does not field a team for this event although individual entries are welcome.  It takes place during the July school holidays.

SNB Junior Lifesaver of the Year Program

Each year Manly Club selects an Under 14 male and female Nipper to participate in the SNB Junior Lifesaver of the Year Program.  This program aims to support and develop a team of confident future Club leaders. The participants take part in a Lifesaving Workshop and have the opportunity to participate in other Branch organised events. Expressions of interest will be posted on Facebook and Team App.

SLS NSW Surfboard Riding Championships

U13s and above may compete in this surf competition.  More than 125 surfers from 38 NSW Surf Life Saving clubs from Narooma SLSC to Cudgen Headland SLSC compete over three days of competition.  Manly Nippers does not field a team for this event although individual entries are welcome.  It takes place in August.

Other SLS Competitions

There are many additional carnivals around NSW that Nippers can attend which will be posted on Facebook and Team App over the season. Registration fees will apply. Many of these carnivals include Ironman/woman events that U9 and U10 are eligible to compete in.

  • Forster Professionals weekend of Surf (U9-Opens) A 2-day full Carnival competition hosted by Forster SLC which many Manly Nippers attend on the way back from the Spring Camp. A good pre-season warm up.
  • Coolangatta Youth (11-16 by age on the day) A longer than normal ironman/woman course for Nippers during the Long weekend when the Coolangatta Gold is held.
  • Sydney Water Series (U8–Masters) A series of 4 carnivals all held south of Sydney between October and December. With great prizes on the basis of a cumulative point score.
  • Kracka Ironperson Challenge (U9-U17) An ironman/woman event normally held in November at Swansea Belmont SLSC. It is sponsored by Kracka who donate Boards as lucky door prizes. At least two races: one swim board iron and a board swim iron.
  • Newcastle Permanent Junior Ironman series (U10-U17) This is a three round competition based on the Central Coast with rounds normally in Nov, Dec and Jan. Winners are based on the 3 events cumulative point score.
  • Catho Board Challenge (U10-Opens) This is a board only event with three races – endurance, eliminator and sprint. It is held at Catherine Hill Bay SLSC normally on the last Sunday before Xmas each year. The winners are based on the 3-race point score and there are normally cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The event is sponsored by JM Paddleboards so lucky door prizes include boards.
  • Wamberal Gardner Junior Ironperson (U9-U15) This is a long course ironman/woman event with board relays which normally takes place at Wamberal SLSC in early January. It is sponsored by Gardner Boards so lucky door prizes include boards.
  • Manly Nipper Nats (U8-U14) Manly LSC hosts Nipper Nats in January every year. It is the biggest Nipper carnival outside of the state championships and competitors from across Australia can take part. Medals are awarded to place getters.  It is usually held around the Australia Day long week end.
  • Wanda “One Club” Surf Carnival (U8-Opens) Full event carnival for all Nippers. Normally in early February.
  • North Cronulla Australia Day Junior Ironperson, (U9-U15) An ironman/woman competition on Australia Day with prizes.
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