Back in 2013, after being diagnosed as bipolar, Grant Trebilco did what many surfers do in times of personal struggle–he went surfing. Although surfing is by no means a cure-all for mental health issues, which absolutely require consultation by trained medical professionals, spending time in the water and discussing your struggles with your friends between waves certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
That’s the premise of One Wave Is All It Takes, a non-profit group founded by Trebilco that has spent the last 6 years raising awareness for mental health issues with programs like Fluoro Fridays, in which surfers dress up in brightly-colored attire and paddle out to share a few waves and offer support to one another.
One Wave’s latest initiative, the Free the Funk Board, continues in that same spirit of using surfing as a means to connect people and talk about mental health, this time offering access to surfing to those who may not already have their own equipment. Through a partnership with surfboard subscription service Awayco and three-time world champion Mick Fanning’s MF Softboards, One Wave is offering surf rentals free of charge for people in need of some quality time in the water.
"From personal experience, I know how getting into the water to have a chat with mates about what’s going on can genuinely change your life," said Fanning in a press release. "I think the Free The Funk Board is a great idea and I can't wait to see more of these boards on the beach."
The pilot program for the Free the Funk board is currently underway, and for the next eight weeks you can find these colorful soft boards available for a session at Awayco in Bondi, Cronulla Surfing Academy and Maroubra Surf and Skate. To take one of these new softies for a spin, you just need to head over to Awayco.com and sign up.
"The Free the Funk board is going to give more people the chance to ride waves and openly talk about mental health,” says Trebilco. “Sometimes one wave really is all it takes.”