December 04, 2020 4 min read

How long ago did you start OneWave?
We created OneWave in 2013. OneWave is a non-profit surf community raising awareness of mental health through saltwater therapy, surfing and fluro. We run Fluro Friday events, School Programs and Corporate Programs to give more people the chance to ride waves and talk about mental health.
What is the motivation behind starting OneWave?
When I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2012 it was surfing and good people that helped me most. Sometimes one wave really is all it takes. I wanted everyone to have the chance to ride waves and talk about mental health without being judged. 
When and what was the first OneWave event?
One Friday morning in March 2013 I decided to dress up in a shirt and tie and go surfing solo at Bondi to try and start some conversations about mental health. That was OneWave’s first Fluro Friday and luckily I have been joined by a whole lot of good people who are all just as passionate about raising awareness of mental health and we haven’t missed a weekly Fluro Friday for the last 7 years. 
Luckily Sammy the frother jumped on board and we have been working together on OneWave ever since and we have been joined by a whole lot of fluro legends who have started/attended Fluro Friday's at their local beach.
How many Fluro Friday's operate globally?
Fluro Friday's started at Bondi Beach in 2013 and have now been held at more than 200 beaches across 40 countries, from New Zealand to Norway. We have volunteer OneWave Tribe Leaders, who have created OneWave communities at their local beach and it's thanks to these legends that Fluro Friday's have spread to more beaches around the world.

Everyone is welcome at Fluro Friday's you can head to onewaveisallittakes.com find out more and if you can't find your beach on the Fluro Friday map we would be so stoked to chat to you about starting a Fluro Friday at your local beach. 
What are the highlights and lowlights from OneWave's  history?
We have met the most amazing humans in the OneWave community. Some have shared their personal struggles with mental health for the first time. Some have supported their family and friends through the toughest times. Some have sadly lost family and friends. What we all share is a massive passion for helping others, by giving more people the chance to ride waves and openly talk about mental health.

Here is a message we got from one of the OneWave community in NZ, an absolute legend who came over to Australia for OneWave's birthday and shared her powerful story with 500 people at Bondi Beach...
"I don't even remember how I heard about you guys, but living in New Zealand, I didn't have access to the gatherings you guys are holding in Oz. However with your encouragement I went and got myself a new brightly coloured wetsuit and ensured that no matter how dreadful the conditions, I got out on the waves at least once a week. I owe my life, and my sanity to a lot of things. Doctors, and treatment teams and specialists. But you guys have helped me understand that surfing is not escaping my troubles, it is another form of therapy, another form of prayer. And surfing has truly given me my life back. Shot for the great work you're doing raising awareness and lifting stigma cos hell everybody thinks I'm just a whingy insecure teenage girl when they find out I have anorexia and don't realise its a real illness that isn't my fault."

Where do you see the future of surfing and mental health?
Surfing is the best escape and funnest thing ever. Combine riding waves with having a chat with your mates and it can honestly change your life. The ocean and surfing can have a massive impact on your mental health and it is unreal to see the power of surf therapy being shared more and more around the world. OneWave is super proud to be part of the International Surf Therapy Organization (ISTO). 
ISTO is a global community of surf therapy practitioners & researchers harnessing the power of collaboration and the ocean to advance the use of surf therapy as a mental and physical health intervention.
Also check out this podcast which talks to surf therapy charities around the world sharing the stoke of surf therapy. 

Advice for people going through a challenging time?
Life is awesome, but it can be really shit sometimes too. This year has been hectic like no other. 
Everyone is different, but some of my go to free the funk tips are:
  • Be kind to yourself - I've learnt that being happy doesn't mean you have to be happy all the time. Just like the weather or the waves, feelings are temporary. Go real easy on yourself - it's totally ok not to be ok.
  • Talk it out - When I'm doing it tough the worst place I can be is stuck inside my own head. One thing that always helps free the funk is telling at least one person how I'm really feeling.
  • Get a check up from the neck up - head to your local doctor/mental health professional to get a mental health check and work out what professional support you need to help get the stoke back.
  • Do more things that help you free the funk – One of the key things in my recipe for freeing the funk is surfing, but I think everyone has their surfing whether it’s music, yoga, running, meditation. 
What's the last board you rode?
I rode my brother's mid length at Raglan yesterday. So fun!

If you could only ride one board for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
That's a hard question haha. I've been surfing a 9'4 longboard lately because the waves have been pretty small back home and that's been so fun. But once we can travel again it might be a bit hard to lug that thing around, so I would go with a CI mid length.

If you could book one beach or wave out for you and your mates what would it be?
I would get all the crew over to NZ and surf indicators at Raglan. That would be so epic!
Grant Trebilco
Founder
 
 
 
Raising awareness of mental health through saltwater therapy, surfing and fluro.

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