Surfing NSW Gets Real About Mental Health

Ride the Wave participants will get to surf with Cooper Chapman. Photo: Ethan Smith Surfing NSW.


COVID-19 has knocked all manner of sporting events off the calendar and surfing is no exception.

Cancellation of sports and social activities has impacted many people’s mental health.

Surfing NSW announced a series of new mental health programs for the NSW surfing community on R U OK? Day.

The new programs will be rolled out through the Surfing Mental Health 360 platform and will have touch-points up and down the NSW coastline, as well as online.

Surfing Mental Health 360 is a surf community-driven program connecting boardriders clubs, surf schools and local communities affected by drought, bushfires and COVID-19.

The Surfing Mental Heath 360 platform includes past, present and future collaborations with The Good Human Factory, The Rise Foundation, Man Anchor, Batyr, Mental Health Movement and Waves of Wellness.

“Surfing NSW is in a unique position to influence a hard-to-reach audience of boardrider clubs, surf schools and local surfing communities in our coastal regions, many of whom are at risk of poor mental health,” said Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden.

“Surfing NSW recognises the vital role that surfing can play in preventing, treating, educating and supporting sufferers of mental health.

“We have acquired funding from multiple sources to roll out specific mental health programs for our communities in the wake of the 2019/2020 NSW bushfires, COVID-19, recent shark attacks and other ongoing social issues faced by our communities.”

“We thank the Consumers Health Forum of Australia Youth Health Incubator Grant, Vinnies NSW Community Bushfire Recovery Grant Program and Randwick ClubGrants for their support over the course of the next 18 months to roll out much needed mental health programs that fall under our Surfing Mental Health 360 platform.”

The Vinnies NSW Community Bushfire Recovery Grant Program will upskill 12 leaders in boardrider clubs to become ‘Surf Therapy Liaison Officers’ by undertaking the Australian Mental Health First Aid accreditation with Man Anchor.

MHFA is a purpose-driven, Australian based global provider of mental health first aid education.

Upskilling our local community members will improve mental health literacy and practical action – building individual and community capacity.

This program will be undertaken across the NSW South and Mid North Coast with programs on the Mid Coast and Port Macquarie regions.

The Ride the Wave program will connect over 35 board rider clubs to the Good Human Factory.

The aim is that together, they will use surfing to help young athletes gain the skills and knowledge that underpin good mental health, resilience and well-being.

Each workshop is followed by a surfing experience session with NSW pro surfer Cooper Chapman.

These workshops will be conducted up and down the NSW Coast with sessions in Newcastle, and the Mid Coast regions.

The #Letstalk Workshop is a one hour course delivered at a grassroots level for mental health.

Well being movement ‘Man Anchor’ is a proud partner within Surfing NSW’s ‘Surfing Mental Health 360’ project.

The course creates opportunities designed for discussion, education and action on mental health issues that affect our coastal communities every day.



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