Fluro surfers have fun highlighting mental health issues
IF YOU happen across a group of fluro-coloured surfers at The Pass, Byron Bay, tomorrow it may look like they are just having fun.
However, those fluro amigos may also be saving lives.
Fluro Friday is an initiative of ONEWAVE, a community of surfers which aims to raise awareness for mental health through surfing, good vibes and fluro.
Its founder, Grant Trebilco, 32, was hospitalised and diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2012 and he turned to the ocean for relief.
"I moved back to New Zealand to be with my dad, who also has bi-polar, and I surfed for three months," Grant said.
"Surfing got me through. If I could just catch one good wave that day, it gave me hope."
It was in the surf that Grant also started talking openly to his friends about his depression and anxiety, something he says was crucial to his recovery and management of the illness.
"Being open with my mates helped me and people started to open up about their own experiences."
When Grant returned to Sydney, he and a mate decided to help others affected by mental illness.
The pair started up ONE WAVE, a non-profit surfing community with the aim to raise awareness for mental health through "surfing, good vibes and fluro".
"Our aim is to raise awareness and start the conversation about mental illness - and to get people into the ocean.
"One wave could change your whole day; your whole week and your life," he said.
After starting up in Sydney, One Wave's Fluro Friday theme has spread to Byron Bay with more than 30 local surfers joining in its inaugural meet.
Tomorrow is Fluro Friday again, with all surfers invited to wear bright colours and meet for a surf at The Pass at 6.30am.
"We are aiming to get Fluro Fridays running in as many beaches and countries as we can," Mr Trebilco said.
"So far we have had Fluro Fridays running in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, USA, Spain and Indonesia."