Wanda Red Fins Inclusive and Accessible Nippers, Cadets and Seniors 

The Red Fins program is an integral part of Wanda Nippers and Wanda's One Club Culture – Across Juniors, Senior and Masters  - Members wear the Wanda Uniform and are a part of the Wanda family. Season start date is the 9th of October, and we will run into the new year to get in as many sessions as possible.

Wanda Red Fins Nippers is an Inclusive and Accessible Nipper and Surf Sports Program which runs alongside Mainstream Nippers on Sunday Mornings and is for Kids, Young Adults and their Families that deal with challenges; such as Autism, Physical\Intellectual Disabilities, Mobility\Access issues, Vision\Hearing impairments, and is focused on providing a more relaxed program with extra support for the members and removing the barriers of getting to the beach and in the water. 

Program Outline

  • All Fun \ No Pressure
  • 10 Week Program – Runs until at least XMAS
  • Modified activities tailored to the members ability, goals and sensory challenges 
  • Specialized Equipment to enable anyone to participate (Surfboards, Sand-cruiser Beach Wheelchairs, Beach Matting)
  • Small Group with increased support across the beach – 1:1 Safety Ratio
  • Clear and consistent routine with visual instructions and visual schedules
  • Visual Support Guides for Home – “How to Nipper!”
  • Regular breaks to for the members to unwind and release excess energy
  • Flexibility for members to take breaks and return to activities as needed
  • Parent or support carer participation required – Bronze Medallion training provided free of charge
  • The option to compete in Inclusive events at Carnivals
  • Pathways to becoming a Life Saver at Wanda with supported education programs and adaptive technology



Wanda subsidizes the Red Fins Program and the registration fees is $50 per member (for the first 3 members and the 4th is free) or You can use NDIS funding or your active Kids Voucher (for the first 3 Children and the 4th child is free) and this includes the Nipper Parent General Membership - Registration includes Cap and Hi-Vis Rash Shirt.

Register your participant for the season as per the registration links - http://www.wandanippers.com.au/register.aspx - In the Payment section of the Registration website enter “Red Fins & your Family name” in the “Payment Details” and the total in the Amount (e.g. $50 for one child, $100 for 2 Children, $150 for 3 or more children) – Refundable if the season is reduced \ Cancelled - Please note, we cannot give change from a the Active Kids Vouchers, but we do use the money to help us subsidize other Families. 

For more information or to discuss your participants needs, please contact the Red Fins Manager - Denny Rowlands – 0401 688 221 or denny.a.rowlands@gmail.com

Red Fins FAQ




Who can I contact in regards to my, or my participan's varying needs, or if I need access to Beach Matting, Adaptive Technology, Parking, Beach Wheelchairs, etc.)

Do I need to be there to support my Child?

  • Yes – No one knows your child better than you - We require a parent or carer to be there to support the child during nippers

Do I \ they wear the Wanda uniform so they feel part of the club? 

  • Wanda has a strong One-Club culture – Across, Juniors, Senior and Masters  - Participants  will wear a Wanda Uniform and are a part of the Wanda family
  • Registration includes Cap and Hi-Vis Rash Shirt - Same as other members (All age groups have different caps for identification - Red Fins have their own cap)
  • We are not separate and the kids will have the opportunity to do the 5 Nipper events each week - Swim, Board, Wade, Sprint & Flags and do the education session that every other nipper does
  • There is lots of Wanda apparel (Swag) for sale too - Swimwear, Towel, Bags. etc. 

What do I bring?

  • Swimwear (Wetsuit if needed)(PFD if needed) 
  • Nipper Cap
  • Towel
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen (Apply at home)
  • Hydration
  • Anything needed to deal with sensory needs (e.g. Water bottle or wipes to remove sand, Towel for laying on sand, Ear muffs if sound is an issue, etc.)  

How do you encourage reluctant kids?

  • Our philosophy is about participating and having fun - We try to get the particpants to set their own limits and encourage them to break through them - It can be a slow start, but they all make progress across the season.

What should I do if there’s a meltdown, refusal, we’re having a bad day or running late?

  • We take our lead from the Parents or Carer on the beach - If at any time your child needs a break, that's ok.
  • Some days just don't work at all, so don't feel pressured to be there (or even On-time) if there's a refusal/meltdown going on - There's always next week, and sometime just getting there is the "Win"

My children love the beach but we aren't that used to waves.

  • Red Fins is an Inclusive \ Relaxed Program - We work with you and the child on their goals - We are about having fun, participating and making friends, not trying to become the next NutriGrain Ironmen\Women

Can I transition my Child into the mainstream Nipper \ Surf Sportsprogram?

  • Yes - Red Fins is a side by side program that runs at the same time as mainstream nippers - We operate as an age group and do all the same activities other age groups do. Kids can move between mainstream and Red Fins (needs to be organized & tracked for safety purposes) and we can provide support for transitioning to mainstream full time - Normally in the new year

We were hoping that whilst at Red Fins our child could join in with their age group with support, to allow for socialisation and not feeling segregated.

  • Red Fins is a side by side program that runs at the same time as mainstream nippers - We are not segregated, and operate as an age group and do all the same activities other age groups do – There is plenty of socialisation
  • This also means that Siblings can join the mainstream Wanda Nippers program at the same time

My Child is a competent swimmer - Will they be able to do the Swim and Board activities like other kids their age?

  • Yes – They will be able do the Swim and Board event with other kids in the Red Fins group – We have other kids that are capable in the water, and we can discuss swimming proficiencies - More down below

Are they able to participate in the beach training outside of Nippers i.e. Sandhills and Athletics track and the Water training?


  • Yes - The Participant will have to be proficient to go in the water and be ok with operating with a reduced level of supervision during the training sessions, however we don’t send them out into the sand hills alone

Helping Out?

  • Like most sports, Nippers runs on Volunteers and the more help we have, the smoother things run and more fun the kids will have each week
  • At a minimum – Please be prepared to get a little wet helping out at the water’s edge
  • Put your hand up to become an Assistant Age Manager for the group and we welcome additional volunteers
  • If you have a carer or therapist that you work with – They are welcomed to help out too

Helping Out – Becoming Water Safety for the Red Fins


  • It would be great to have additional dedicated water safety on our team – I encourage you to consider completing the Bronze Medallion award and becoming a qualified Surf Life Saver – The course is free and you’ll learn CPR, First Aid and Surf Awareness as well as learning Surf Rescue techniques
  • You do not need to be an athlete to complete the Bronze Medallion – Many people in the club have completed the requirements (Including myself) and you will gain a base level of fitness during the course - Let me know if you’re interested

Do we compete?

  • Once a year we join up with the other Inclusive Nipper groups in our local area and run a Funday Carnival – This is a chance for the kids to experience a carnival that supports their needs and is followed up a sausage sizzle and every kids gets a medal
  • On the same day as the Funday carnival – The Local 4-Way Carnival will be taking place – There will be inclusive events at this carnival for those that want to compete at a higher level
  • The Wanda One Club Carnival runs each year and includes inclusive events
  • Other carnivals run across the season inclusive events – including Branch, State and Aussies - If you are interested in competing – Let me known

What is a Proficiency?

  • SLSA Australia has strict Water Safety Ratios for Children at Nippers
    • Water Safety is provided by a Bronze Medallion Holder - This is why we encourage parents to get their Bronze
    • Children are placed into 2 categories - Proficient and Non-Proficient.
    • Children that are not Proficient, have a 1:1 Water Safety ratio requirement when in the water
    • Children that are Proficient have a 5:1 (or better)  Water Safety ratio requirement when in the water
    • Children ages 8 and under do not go into water deeper than waist depth
    • Nobody goes into the Water when the beach is closed by the Council Lifeguards or the Active Patrol at Wanda

Does my Child need to be Proficient?

  • There is no pressure for our kids to become “proficient”, kids that are not “proficient’ will continue to receive 1:1 Water Safety from a qualified Lifesaver when in the water
  • There is no pressure for any of the children in the Red Fins program to become proficient unless they want to give it a go, and there is no pressure at Wanda for any child to complete their proficiency - We will offer guidance, support, and encouragement for any child that wants to attempt their proficiency.

If not Proficient, then what?

  • I do an assessment of each child’s capabilities in the water – I’m guided by the parents knowledge – Please let me know where you think you child is on the following list of capabilities
  • From a standing position in waist-deep water, perform a front glide, kick for 3m and recover to a secure position
  • Perform a back or front float for a few seconds and recover to a secure position
  • Float for 1 minute – Unaided
  • Swim 25m – Any Stroke - No Time limit
  • Float for 2 minutes – Un-aided
  • Swim 50m – Any Stroke - No Time limit
  • Float for 3 minutes – Un-aided
  • Swim 100m – Any Stroke - No Time limit
  • Some kids will be capable of becoming “Competition Proficient” by participating in an untimed 200m Open Water Swim – We can discuss this individually as we move forward during the season



Proficiency Requirements




  • From a standing position in waist deep water, perform a front glide and recover to a secure position.
  • Perform a back or front float holding a buoyant aide and recover to a secure position.


  • From a standing position in waist deep water, perform a front glide, kick for 3m and recover to a secure position.
  • Perform a back or front float for a few seconds and recover to a secure position.


  • 25m pool swim (any stroke)
  • 1 min survival float


  • 200m pool swim – freestyle, in less than 6 mins
  • 1.5 min survival float
  • Min. 150m ocean swim (untimed)**


  • 200m pool swim – freestyle, in less than 5 mins
  • 3 min survival float
  • Min. 288m ocean swim (untimed)*


  • SRC– 200m pool swim – freestyle, in less than 5 mins & beach based Run-Swim-Run (100m-100m-100m) in less than 9 mins
  • Bronze Medallion 400m pool swim – freestyle, in less than 9 mins & (100m-200m-100m) in less than 9 mins


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