Above: Inchydoney Nippers Brianna Horgan, Emily Moloney, Katie Cotter and Lauren Farr pic: Justin Crowley
by Justin Crowley
Cork Surf Life Saving, part of Irish Water Safety, will start its new season on Inchydoney Beach in the coming weeks.
Life Saving Sport is based on the skills and equipment used by Beach Lifeguards in their day-to-day activities. Personal safety and safety in and around the water is taught, as well as life saving rescues and basic life support, teamwork and competitive sport development. It is also a platform to further education with Irish Water Safety.
Saturdays on Inchydoney will see an influx of Nippers (born 2010 – 2005), Juniors (born 2004 – 2002) and Youths (born 2001 – 2000) with a huge army of volunteer parents and friends, coaching and mentoring these young life savers. It runs rain, hail or shine and even in the event of adverse sea conditions, the beach events are still run.
There is great friendship in Nippers and you often see members of the Irish Junior and Senior Squads down on the beach giving tips to Nippers or Juniors who are struggling, offering encouragement without even being asked. These teenagers already know the value of community and the importance of giving back.
Believe it or not but many of the Senior Team, who started out as Nippers, were once afraid of the waves, afraid of seaweed and jellyfish and not able to put their heads in the water because of the cold. Slowly they improved, discovering their talents and soon were gaining confidence swimming out around the buoys and paddling Nipper Rescue Boards out through and over the waves. Fortunately and with lots of encouragement from coaches and parents they persevered with life saving sport, came up through the ranks, passed the relevant exams and will now work on Inchydoney and other West Cork beaches this summer as Beach Lifeguards.
This year the Irish Water Safety Sports Commission will have a separate competition with new events for Juniors (those born 2004, 2003 and 2002). In this age group the teenagers use hard rescue boards and complete board rescues. They will also learn how to use Rescue Tubes and Rescue Surf Skis.
We do not teach children to swim. Our aim is to develop their skills in the ocean and on the beach. All new members must complete a 50m swim in the sea unaided and tread water for a minute before being allowed to register. This year Registration takes place on Duneen Beach, just beyond Dunmore Hotel, Clonakilty at 6pm on Bank Holiday Monday June 4. Contact Justin Crowley on (086) 8915219 if you would like more information.