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Bondi’s Feel Good Surfing

Apr 3, 2018  ·  3 min read

Surfing is therapeutic, something that OneWave is very well aware of.

A satisfying mix of adrenalin, movement, breathing and nature, it’s an unintentional practice in mindfulness – try thinking of anything else but the present moment when flying across the glassy face of a breaking wave.

Then there is the time in between sets. Bobbing in the ocean, often at sunrise or sunset, waiting for the next wave to roll in is the perfect time for contemplation and a chinwag. And when the post-surf natural high kicks in, you’ll be consumed by the thought of getting salty again.

Ask anyone who regularly hits the “early”, buys Mr Zogs Sex Wax and believes shampoo isn’t needed because salt water cleans their hair, and they’ll tell you that surfing is good for the mind, body and soul.

After 10 years of battling with mental health issues, Grant Trebilco was hospitalised and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For him, this was a turning point. Instead of living in shame about his condition, as he had been his whole life, Trebilco decided to speak openly about mental illness and used surfing as his platform. Hitting the early surf with his mates and chatting about such issues was a defining point in his journey towards finding a healthier headspace and it led to the realisation that one wave can start the journey to feeling better.

Trebilco pondered the idea, “Maybe if I share the simple recipe of saltwater, surfing and talking about mental health I can prevent people from ever feeling the way I did”, and put it into action. He recruited surfing instructor/aero-space engineer, Sam Schumacher, and together they founded OneWave and the Friday morning Fluro Fridays surfs.

What started out as a South Bondi sunrise surf and chat about mental health has since spread worldwide, and five years later people are getting their Fluro Fridays fix at California’s Venice Beach, Wellington’s Lyall Bay, and spots all over Australia, from Yallingup to The Pass, Exmouth and Mujimba.

The mantra is simple. Have a chat. Raise awareness about mental health. And wear fluro because it makes people smile.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a bumbling kook, the next John John Florence or somewhere in between, everyone froths on (surf talk for “really, really enjoys”) the feeling you get when riding a wave. It’s about unwinding, feeling good and hopefully scoring the odd barrel. 

If you want to get involved in OneWave and Fluro Fridays get down to South Bondi Beach, and if you’ve got something fluro, be sure to wear it. There is also yoga for those who prefer to stay land-bound.

Where: Meet at South Bondi Beach ramp

When: 6:30am each Friday

How much: Free

words by niall roeder

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