Nippers Take on the Big Waves!

L to R: Charli Langshaw, Leila Smith, Elise Chong, Molly Smith, Isabella Daniel, Jessica Schmitz, Mahua Madan

Over 900 nippers from 26 surf lifesaving clubs around Western Australia attended the Nippers State Championships. 

Of those 900, seven were Year 5 students from Santa Maria College. The girls all belong to the Fremantle Surf Lifesaving Club. They are:

Elise Chong (5.5)
Isabella Daniel (5.5)
Charli Langshaw (5.5)
Mahua Madan (5.5)
Jessica Schmitz (5.2)
Leila Smith (5.4) 
Molly Smith (5.3)

In what turned out to be challenging conditions, the girls competed with determination and gave their best. The sense of achievement from competing in such difficult conditions gave them an extra sense of pride and accomplishment.

The girls have been training twice a week before school, getting up at 5.00 am to attend early morning sessions at Leighton Beach. They have been training with Molly’s dad, Peter Smith, or Pedro, as the girls call him. Pedro is a volunteer at the Fremantle Surf Club and took on the role to train the girls throughout the season and preparing them for the competition. You’d have to agree, that’s dedication for sure!

L to R: Charli Langshaw, Elise Chong, Jessica Schmitz, Mahua Madan, Leila Smith and Molly Smith (Isabella Daniel was absent for this photo)

“Pedro trained us in the mornings to help us improve. I have done so well with his coaching and have improved a lot. Without his help, I doubt I would even be in the state final in the first place! “Thank you, Pedro!”, said Mahua.

Leila tells us about her favourite part of the competition, “It was when the RIB (rigid inflatable boat) flipped over. A giant wave came, and the RIB tried to go over but couldn’t, which resulted in it flipping over. The organisers also had to stop the board relay at one point because it got too dangerous in the water.”

With waves up to two metres, Mahua said, “The waves were massive! So many people got dumped in the waves, and I was one of them. During the ironwoman semi-final race, a huge wave came up behind me and dumped the board on my head. I learned a lesson, though – wait for the wave to break before catching it.” Charli agreed, “Yes, the challenge for me was probably the giant waves. They were about 6 feet tall!”

Isabella tells us, “What I love most about Nippers is I have fun with all my friends. It helps me improve my surf lifesaving skills and learn about the beach environment. I get to participate in carnivals and develop team-building skills. Our coaches teach us survival skills for life, and I get to make new friends as I’m part of a brilliant community.” 

Elise added, “I love being part of a team, working together and encouraging each other. I love going to the beach and seeing my friends and learning new things about water safety.”

Jessica told us there is no pressure. “You don’t have to do an event if you don’t feel comfortable. I love being part of a team and being supported by Kirsty, our age group manager.“

Congratulations to Molly, who received a medal for her surf event with her team. When asked what she loves most about Nippers, Molly said, “the best part was when I won the medal with my team and the big waves.”

We can’t get over how brave these girls are, facing these waves and just going for it! 

Congratulations, girls, you showed true grit and resilience.

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