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Confidence in the water swells for the groms

Student from Bogangar Public School surfing as part of the Sporting Schools programme

Image: Student from Bogangar Public School surfing as part of the Sporting Schools program

There is a wave of excitement at Bogangar Public School in NSW about their Sporting Schools surfing program. Assistant Principal Pauline Tobin could not speak more highly of program that had children enthused from the start and learning new skills.

“We had so many students who wanted to join the program and their confidence being in and around the water has improved significantly,” Pauline said.

“I am absolutely thrilled with the Sporting Schools program; it means that we can offer the Weet-Bix SurfGroms program to double the amount of students than we could before. More students are learning how to read the surf, when and where it is safe to swim, and what to do if they are caught in a rip,” she said.

Pauline believes she saw a huge difference at the students’ end of year pool day where almost all of the 130 students were swimming confidently.

“Before we started the program the non-swimmers outnumbered those who could confidently swim 50 metres,” Pauline said.

The Sporting Schools Weet-Bix SurfGroms program includes learning about Ocean and Beach Safety so that the students are able to gain an understanding of the conditions and environment.

“Our school is very much a part of the beach culture being a coastal town and most of our students use the beach before school, after school or on the weekends, while some students belong to the Cabarita Beach Nippers Club,” Pauline said.

Coaches Josh and Belen also believe the Ocean and Beach Safety part of the program is imperative for the local children to learn because the communities between Fingal Heads and Pottsville Beach have no permanent patrolled beaches.

“It helps parents feel more comfortable taking their children to the beach knowing that they have been given an education around how to stay safe while having fun,” Belen said.

“We love the Sporting Schools program. We feel that it is a wonderful asset to children in the community that would never have the opportunity do it outside of school,” she said.

“Not only do the kids learn the importance of working in teams and supporting others, it teaches them independence and how to overcome not only the physical challenges but the mental challenges too,” she said.

Sporting Schools is a $100 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a Surfing program at your school? Check out all the details on the Surfing Australia page

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