Surfers to raise awareness of mental health in Bermagui

LOOKING FOR A WAVE: A OneWave Fluro Friday event will be held in Bermagui, hosted by Lochy McCabe, on March 22.
LOOKING FOR A WAVE: A OneWave Fluro Friday event will be held in Bermagui, hosted by Lochy McCabe, on March 22.

This Friday, surfers of all abilities are being invited to Bermagui to dress up in fluro clothes and catch a wave to raise awareness of issues around mental health. 

"Every time I go surfing I've always known I feel a lot better coming out of it opposed to when I go in," surf instructor Lochy McCabe said.

"When someone stands up on a board for the first time, they just get a feeling of pure happiness.

"And for surfers that never goes away. That feeling can make you forget everything if even for only one second."  

While the OneWave initiative is in its sixth year overall, Mr McCabe is hosting the first connected event in Bermagui. 

The day will start with be a yoga class and a moment to remember those lost to us, before everyone will sit in a circle and talk about their experiences or provide advice if they want, or just listen if they do not want to.

After that, everyone will jump into the water and catch a wave or have a swim. 

Mr McCabe said he found people became more open when they were surfing together. 

"When you're in the water, it's just you and them out there, there's no-one else," he said. 

Lochy McCabe of Bermagui.

Lochy McCabe of Bermagui.

"Even if you don't know each other that well, when you're surfing together it can be a lot easier for people to open up to strangers." 

Mr McCabe said there was still a stigma around mental health which meant people often did not discuss what was going on in their heads. 

"I've had friends that have gone to a therapist and I thought 'why didn't they come to me first?' I didn't even know they had problems as they hid it so well," he said. 

"You always think about what the worst reaction will be, but it does people closer together, being raw with somebody."

When he became concerned for friends and started "knocking on doors, asking questions", he found many felt surfing was one thing that was really good for them.

OneWave will be held at the Rockwall at Moorhead Beach, Bermagui on Friday, March 22 from 7.15am-9.30am. 

It is free to join. Bring fluro clothes, a surfboard and a wetsuit if you have them, but if you need a board or wetsuit call Mr McCabe to organise one on 0475 622 000. 

This story Surfers to raise awareness of mental health in Bermagui first appeared on Bega District News.

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