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The Albatross Nippers Story

This is the story of the Albatross Nippers, a small group of nippers with special needs, and their march towards creating history.

In 2015, Nobby’s Beach surf club coach and local physiotherapist Nick Marshall set about creating an inclusive environment within the surf club and greater Gold Coast community. The value and importance of this creation resulted in Nick being recognised as the 2020 Australian of the Year—Local Hero for Queensland. From Nick’s vision of inclusion was born the Albatross Nippers: the first inclusive surf lifesaving nipper program, designed to provide children with special needs—who were previously unable to join surf clubs and participate in nippers—with an avenue to come to the beach.

This book highlights the socially isolating and at times tragic nature of living with special needs and the increasing health gap that occurs between those living with a disability and those who are not; a gap that is often created by physical inactivity and the inability of those living with a disability to access areas to recreate, such as the beach. The book highlights how a combined effort sought to correct this problem and improve beach accessibility.

The Nobby’s Beach surf club’s colourful, and sometimes tragic, history provides the perfect backdrop for the program’s success both locally and nationwide. Follow the Albatross Nippers, and a small group of loyal Albatross army volunteers, as they create history in becoming the first team of nippers with special needs to participate in a major surf lifesaving event: the Queensland State Championships. On 3rd March 2019, the 50th anniversary of nippers in Queensland, the Albatross Nippers March Past team marched into the State Championships and demonstrated that not all victories are rewarded with gold medals, some are simply about being included.

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