Join in and experience Same Wave Nippers program at Pambula

Tom Weston testing out the water wheelchair for the first time with Peter Bootes on Saturday, February 9.
Tom Weston testing out the water wheelchair for the first time with Peter Bootes on Saturday, February 9.

Pambula Surf Life Saving Club’s (SLSC) Same Wave program is calling out for more volunteers.

The Same Wave program, formerly known as Special Nippers, was developed at Pambula SLSC and has successfully run over the past 19 years. 

Coordinator Michelle Bootes said the program has now launched at many other surf clubs around the country.

“Pambula was the first club to begin the program, now there are clubs all over Australia who are involved,” she said. 

More than 50 surf clubs in Australia are all aiming to be more inclusive by taking part in the Same Wave program which is designed to meet the needs of all participants.

The program is for people with additional needs which may include physical or intellectual disabilities and is open to participants of all ages and abilities. 

It's more than just physical exercise for them, if you look at the joy on their faces it’s the emotional experience and the connections they make...

Michelle Bootes

The program began at Pambula with only five children and ten volunteers. Ms Bootes said this season, the club has received a lot of interest for new participants to join.

“We currently have 18 enrolled and there are more who want to join although we cant take them because extra help is needed,” she said.

The program provides a range of activities throughout the morning, both on the sand and in the shallows. 

Ms Bootes said anyone who is “reasonably healthy and fit is able to volunteer”.

“When we started everyone needed to have their bronze medallion, but as we have got to know the kids and their ability we can pair up people accordingly,” Ms Bootes said.

Life saver Ash Braden and Same Wave participant Katie Harris, Katie has attended the program since day one 19-years ago at the age of five.

Life saver Ash Braden and Same Wave participant Katie Harris, Katie has attended the program since day one 19-years ago at the age of five.

“A lot of young retirees have joined in the program, teenage kids are also doing a brilliant job in the program.”

The Same Wave program provides water safety experiences for both volunteers and participants.

“It is really important for these kids to get into physical exercise, because they often do not fit in with regular sporting teams,” Ms Bootes said.

“But it is more than just physical exercise for them, if you look at the joy on their faces it’s the emotional experience and the connections they make with each other and their helpers.”

The program runs each Saturday throughout the first term of school from 9.30am to 10.30am.

If you are interested in helping out in the Same Wave program, contact Michelle Bootes via email, m.p.bootes@gmail.com