With all the Olympics going on, we felt we should continue the theme with a 'sporty' blog today! This is North Devon's weekly mini-olympics for our kids...

Surf Life Saving is an international organisation for 8 - 13 year olds, known as 'Nippers'. There are many Nipper clubs across the UK and the world. We hadn't come across them until we moved to Devon and then discovered there are 4 clubs in North Devon; Croyde, Woolacombe, Saunton and Bideford. We decided to join the Croyde Surf Life Saving Club, being our most local (and the best, of course!). 

We have 3 members of the Pickwell Family who love Nippers and go along twice a week; Zac, Molly and Liza. Zac has been a member for 2 years, and Molly and Liza started this year. Steve and Richard are adult members (more on that in a future blog post).

In the Summer, Nippers meet twice a week on Croyde beach. We all meet at the hut next to the national trust car park to sign in, get in to our groups, collect boards and then head down to the beach. Once there, everyone has to do a warm up run across the beach and back, before starting games and activities in the water and on the beach.

The children are taught about safety in the sea, how to cope in different conditions, what rip tides are, how to duck dive waves, how to wade, how to swim in the surf, how to body surf and how to ride and race on paddle boards. It really is great fun and the kids love it. Parents get involved and get in the water too. Sometimes you wonder who is enjoying it more? The adults or the children?!

There are 5 opportunities to compete in Nippers competitions throughout the year. The Devon Pool and the National Pool championships, the Devon Beach and the National Beach competitions, and the Goldcoast.

This years Devon Beach competition was held at Putsborough and Zac and Molly both took part.
Competitors have to wear their club hat - black and orange are Croyde's colours. If you think Zac looks funny, you should see it when the adults have to wear them for their competitions! Hilarious! Steve whipped his off before i could see and take a good for our marriage though on the bright side:)

The events range from swimming, paddle board races and relays to beach runs, relays and 'flags'. Flags are my favourite thing. Everyone has to lie down in a line facing away from the flag (which is a bit of wood or pipe they stick in the sand) then on the whistle they have to jump up, turn around and run to grab a flag. Its a bit like a beach version of musical chairs. Each round there is one less flag so 1 person goes out.  

The Pickwell gang ended up bringing home 2 silvers and 2 bronze medals. Well done guys! Obviously its all about the taking part and not the winning ;)

Overall at this particular competition Croyde came in 3rd place, behind Saunton and Woolacombe. At the end of August we go to Portreath for the Nationals. 

Come on Croyde!