How Surfing Saved Grant Trebilco’s Life
Four years ago, New Zealand-born Sydneysider Grant Trebilco combined his love for surfing with mental health, and founded a non-profit movement known as OneWave, which runs regular events known as “Fluro Friday”.
The idea is that surfers come together, dressed in fluro, to share their stories and enjoy the soothing effects of surfing.
“I thought [about how] fluro makes people happy, but it also makes an invisible issue visible,” Trebilco says. “It gets people asking questions about mental health.”
Trebilco and his friend Sam Schumacher, a surfing instructor who studied aerospace engineering, have helped build Fluro Friday into a global phenomenon that has spread to more than 100 beaches in over 20 countries.
Trebilco says his 10 days in a Manly Hospital mental health ward – the worst experience of his life – inspired the idea.
“I was just angry at the world,” he says. “But it was in there that I started to think – shit – well at least I know I’ve got bipolar. At least I don’t have to hide it any more.”
Trebilco is now an in-demand speaker, spreading the word at schools and corporate workplaces including Westpac, LinkedIn and RedBalloon.
Trebilco, who hasn’t missed a single Fluro Friday in four years, says he probably would “have been screwed without surfing”.
“But once you get out there … it’s like the saltwater just rinses off all the bad vibes and it makes everything that little bit easier.”
Original article by Larissa Ham, The Daily Advertiser, March 23, 2017.