MAKING A SPLASH: Ben Dollery, 10, at Tannum Sands beach for the local club’s first major carnival of the season.
MAKING A SPLASH: Ben Dollery, 10, at Tannum Sands beach for the local club’s first major carnival of the season. Mike Richards GLANIPP

Nippers get into first major surf carnival

TANNUM Sands beach was thriving on Sunday with 208 kids zooming in and out of the water.

Joined by just as many parents, officials and keen supporters, the young athletes were giving it their all in the local club's first major carnival of the year.

Hosting nippers from Emu Park, Yeppoon and Agnes Water, the beach was packed with the quick-moving kids, something Tannum Sands Junior Team Manager Tony Poli was overwhelmed by.

"Numbers are up on previous year, in particular Agnes Water, they have a lot here," he said.

It was the home club which had more kids competing than any of the visitors though, supplying a huge 105 of the field.

Holding their own against the best from other clubs, the Tannum Sands youngsters were nearly all of the members enrolled in the usual Sunday activities.

"It is probably 90 per cent of our kids who have passed proficiency," Poli said.

"It is the first carnival for most kids this season. They get to know other kids."

Mingling with athletes they have never seen before, like the Agnes Water competitors, the locals were ecstatic about hosting their new friends.

The clubs were also impressed with how the day progressed.

For a small club like Agnes Water, seeing the event run like clockwork gave their 26 young athletes a good introduction to the world of surf lifesaving.

Just getting that amount to an event was a big feat for Agnes Water.

"We have not had that many for a while," Team manager Kim McArley said.

"We are very happy; a lot are brand new this year."

Another newcomer with a smile that could not be wiped off her face was Camille Bebendorf.

Following her siblings into the sport, the seven-year-old was taking part in her first ever major event.

It did not take long for her to make an impact, progressing straight through to a final in her first event.

"This is my first carnival," she said. "I am very proud; I have been training twice a week.

"That was the shallow wade, we get to do the deep wade and the flags and the sprints."



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