THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER

THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER
Introducing OneWave: the non-profit making a big difference with saltwater, surfing, good mates and a whole lot of fluoro.

Every Friday morning, just before the sun crawls above the ocean, you’ll find a gathering at the south end of Sydney’s Bondi Beach – there, it’s a mess of surfboards, inflatable giant swans, yoga mats and people – lots of them – each and every one of them dressed in fluoro. There are far too many of them to be an in-joke but still they, in their budgie smugglers and hot pink onsies, along with the early risers walking the promenade, are laughing. For them, and anyone close enough to witness, it’s a good time. A real good time.

But this phenomenon isn’t just a Bondi affair. You’ll see the same thing if you set your alarm early enough at beaches up and down the coast and even some in the U S of A. This group of people – no, this movement – are OneWave: a non-profit surf community tackling mental health issues – funks like depression, anxiety and bipolar – with a simple recipe: surfing, good mates and a whole lot of fluoro. Since launching in Bondi in 2013, OneWave has reached over 60 beaches worldwide, sharing their very special brand of saltwater therapy, raising awareness and reducing social stigmas around mental health issues. Get wet and have a good time, they tell you. It’s a simple enough creed, but the message runs deeper than that: it’s OK not to be OK, and that you don’t have to – ever – go it alone.

“When I was diagnosed with Bipolar, it was surfing with family and my mates that helped me the most,” shares OneWave Founder Grant Trebilco. “Sometimes, one wave really is all it takes.”

Their theory is simple: it doesn’t matter if you’re riding a wave for the first time or the hundredth, if you’ve got it nailed or if you fall off the second you stand, or even if you don’t stand up at all: you never forget that feeling of being on a wave, letting it all go and enjoying that moment. Sometimes, like Trebilco says, one wave is all it takes to free that funk that’s been following you for so long.

According to research by the Black Dog Institute – a world-leading clinic in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar – one in five people experience mental health issues each year and, of those, 65 per cent never seek treatment.

“I want anyone experiencing mental health issues to have this opportunity,” says Trebilco of surfing.

So, OneWave stepped up their efforts. Earlier this year, they launched a unique 12-week program designed to teach people experiencing mental health issues how to surf at Newcastle’s Nobbys Beach. They call it the OneWave Surfing Experience (or OWSE). It sees OneWave partner with community-based mental health organisations – in this instance, PIR Lake Macquarie, NEAMI – and Newcastle’s leading surf school – Newcastle Surf School – to implement the OneWave surfing experience.

“The primary focus of this program is to combine physical health and clinical life skills, in a neutral, non-intrusive natural environment. This in turn, aims to improve social engagement and quality of life for mental health clients, away from the traditional clinical setting,” shares Joel Pilgrim, OWSE Manager & Mental Health Occupational Therapist. He says the aim is to normalise mental health challenges. “Preliminary research reveals that this program impacts participants in many important ways, including improved confidence, strengthened social supports, improved daily structure, increased enjoyment of life, decreased worry and anxiety, and a sense of accomplishment.”

Since the inception of OWSE, the team have launched another two locations, including Bondi Beach – the place where it all began for OneWave. This OWSE, on home sand, is made possible thanks to the generous help of Wayside Chapel and Let’s Go Surfing surf school. And, in the not-so-distant future, OneWave aims to have the program implemented in 25 beaches around the globe in the next five years, partnering with local mental health and learn to surf organisations in each new area.

There’s a listlessness that comes with mental health issues. Time, it blends and blends until everything just feels like forever. When you’re feeling low, it’s hard to set any kind of schedule, to do anything but fall into the funk. OneWave, though, is so much more than a simple reason to get out of bed in the morning. It’s the chance to meet new people, to have a laugh, to learn to surf, to be part of something bigger. One of the OWSE participants, Brad, says the program has played a massive role in his recovery.

“It gets people up and motivated, it’s a real kick start, it’s got me fitter and happier and has set me a routine. Yeah, it’s been really beneficial for my mental health.”

OneWave: coming to a beach near you. Want to know more? Head to www.onewaveisallittakes.com or follow us on social media @onewaveisallittakes

SAFE SUMMER

Summer is here again. There is plenty of fun to be had in the sun. By following some simple yet important health and safety tips you can prevent heat illness that can lead to life-threatening emergencies. Below are a few tips how to recognize risk factors and respond to warning signs of heat illness, and what precautions to take when it’s hot.

NEVER LEAVE ANY CHILDREN, PETS OR ADULTS IN A CLOSED, PARKED VEHICLE.

SUN SAFETY
Shade. Clothing. Hat. Sunscreen. Sunglasses.
It is important to protect your skin. Take these basic steps to protect yourself and your family against risk of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
• Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater, and apply at least 20-30 minutes before going outside.
• UV rays are weakest before 11 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Plan activities during these times.
• Skin does not have to feel hot to get burned, so protect yourself even on cloudy days.
• Wear UVA/UVB protective sunglasses, and a hat.
• Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water and juice. Alcohol consumption may cause dehydration.
• Protect your arms and legs with loose fitting, tightly woven cotton clothing.
Stay indoors during extremely hot temperatures.

SURF AND SWIM HEALTH AND SAFETY
Rip Currents

IF YOU’RE SWIMMING AT THE BEACH AND FIND YOURSELF BEING TAKEN AWAY FROM THE BEACH AND UNABLE TO GET BACK, IT IS MORE THAN LIKELY YOU ARE CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT.

To avoid rip currents,
• Always swim between the red and yellow flags.
• If you need help, stay calm, float and raise an arm to attract attention.
• To escape a rip, swim parallel to the beach.
• Always conserve your energy; the waves can assist you back to the beach.

The best advice is to avoid rip currents altogether. To reduce the likelihood of getting caught in a rip current, you need to:
• Always swim between the red and yellow flags;
• Observe all safety signs;
• Obey all instructions from the surf lifesavers and lifeguards;
• Understand what a rip current is;
• Know how to spot rip currents and look for the common signs such as deeper, darker water and fewer breaking waves; and
• Do not swim in or near a rip current.
For further information, please visit http://www.ripcurrents.com.au/

If you plan to swim in a river or stream, use extreme caution and stay away from swift moving water. Heavy rain and flash flooding makes many dams, swim holes, rivers and streams unpredictable and dangerous.

BLUEBOTTLE STINGS
Bluebottle tentacles will cause a sharp, painful sting if they are touched, which is aggravated by rubbing the area. Intense pain may be felt from a few minutes to many hours and develops into a dull ache which then spreads to surrounding joints.
A major sting to the face or neck area should be treated urgently, especially if there is swelling to the site. In these cases dial Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for Ambulance.
• Remove any tentacles that are stuck to the skin with tweezers or a gloved hand.
• Wash the site of the sting with lots
• of seawater. Immerse the victims site of the sting in tolerably hot water.
• If hot water is not available apply ice packs, avoiding direct contact with the skin by wrapping the ice pack in a towel.
• Do not apply vinegar.
• Do not rub sand on the area.
• Your doctor may provide you with further treatment should you feel it

KEEP PESKY BUGS AWAY
Insect Repellant Facts
• Use bug repellant to keep mosquitos, insects and ticks away.
• Do not use an all-in-one bug repellant and sunscreen, it’s best to use two separate products.
• Do not apply repellent to skin that is under clothing.
• Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
• Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas.
• Do not apply aerosol or pump products directly to the face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
For children, apply repellent on your own hands and then rub them on the child, avoiding child’s hands, mouth, and eyes

TICKS
• Remove ticks using a tweezer, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight up to remove the tick. Do not squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick.
• After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water and wash treated clothes before wearing them again.
• Don’t forget to check your pets for ticks as well.

AVOID BACTERIA AND PESTS AT YOUR BBQ
• Carry food in a cooler with a cold pack. Remember, a full cooler stays cool longer than a half empty one.
• Always take along some foods that don’t require refrigeration.
• A cooler will stay colder if it is kept inside the car and not in the boot.
• Keep coolers in the shade with the lid closed.
• Bring along alcohol-based sanitizers or disposable wipes to keep hands clean.
• When applying insect repellant, spray it away from food areas.
• Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water and when applicable, remove outer leaves or skin.
• Always assume that river waters are not safe to drink. Take bottled water to drink.
• Place all rubbish in the bin or bring it home with you for disposal.

KEEP FOOD SAFE AT THE BBQ
• Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.
• Keep food and drinks in separate coolers.
• Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. When the air temperature is above 90°, do not leave food out for more than one hour.
• Use clean utensils and dishes to serve food. Each dish should have its own serving utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
• Preheat cooking grills for 20-30 minutes before using.
• Allow meat to completely thaw in a refrigerator before placing on a grill.
• Marinate meat in a tightly sealed plastic container or sealable plastic bag, and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Do not reuse marinade.
• Serve grilled foods on a clean dish, not a dish used for raw meat.
• Leftovers should be refrigerated or placed in a cooler within one hour after use.

Photo courtesy of : http://editorial.designtaxi.com/news-beach06062013/3.jpg