WE WERE THERE: Saving lives on the beach, having a ball
We Were There is a series that revisits the Observer's in-depth coverage of the major events that shape the Gladstone region. Today, we take a look at our surf lifesaving club nippers.
OUR beaches are patrolled by lifeguards from our local surf lifesaving clubs.
Many of the guards are volunteers who give up their time week after week to make sure swimmers are safe on our beaches - and they save lives in the process.
The normal way to become a lifeguard is through the nippers program - a feature of all surf clubs where youngsters come and learn a host of skills, and have fun at the same time.
Nippers spend a lot of their time learning how to run on the beach; they learn about the surf and what type of water denotes a rip; they learn to use boards and boats - in fact they learn all manner of skills which they will hold on to all of their lives.
Competition is a major part of the lifestyle, and club members - usually parents - travel for hundreds of kilometres so that their kids can take part in competitions around the state.
Reporters and photographers from the Observer are quite often at the beach with the nippers; recording the competitions and carnivals.
The kids love seeing their photos in the paper as they skate through the sand to grab flags before the next kid.
Next time you're at the beach, take time to think of the great nipper training the lifeguards received.