Roisin Carolan launched Fluro Friday in Byron Bay, on her own in a fluro orange dress. Here is the legends inspirational story about why she is so passionate about surfing and mental health…
One day I stumbled upon One Wave on Instagram. Seeing photos of Fluro Friday made me instantly happy. Nothing makes me happier than surfing, especially with friends, and to be dressed up in Fluro… I thought that would make it even better!
With this in mind I wore a Fluro Orange dress the next Friday whilst surfing at Wategos. “Too much partying last night” seemed to be what everyone thought, but I soon explained to everyone in the surf what was happening. I started conversations about mental illness.
The next week we had a crew of about 30 don the Fluro for the early at Wategos. We went on the radio and we even had a Fluro session at Greenmount. It was awesome.
We have Fluro Fridays in Byron Bay about once a month. I also love Fluro surfing at Snapper! When I go away it’s awesome to introduce Fluro Friday to new places. Like last year me and a couple of friends got Fluro with Pango village in Vanuatu. It was awesome. And whenever I’m in Sydney it’s so nice to catch up with my Fluro homies from Bondi and Manly as well. I think it’s amazing to be able to do this at so many places, people connecting, raising awareness for mental health and having a really good time along the way. It’s so nice to know there are people out there ready to help if you’re going through a funk.
One Wave recognise surfing as having a positive effect not only on your physical health but on your mental health. To me there is nothing more therapeutic than surfing. My funnest surfs of the year have not been in pumping surf, with no one else out, instead they have been in average conditions, with many not so average surfers, Fluro surfers.
Every wave is a party wave, weather you’re riding a board, a blow up pool or even just body surfing, as long as you’re having fun! Fluro yoga is also very much a thing if you haven’t heard
The stats on mental illness suck. Mental illness is real. Suicide is real. We need to talk about this so we stop losing legends. If you can, get down to your nearest Fluro Friday, have a surf, a yoga sesh or a frolick, or whatever you want! If not start your own like me! Trust me, it is so amazing to be a part of this initiative. No one is immune to Mental illness, it doesn’t discriminate, so neither should we. Embrace your inner Fluro, go for a surf and start a conversation. It’s ok not to be ok, and you never know by dressing up in Fluro you could be saving someone, or yourself. The people you meet along the way are some of the best!
I’m so excited for the future of One Wave. I think as a community we can really start change. A revolution. A Fluro revolution.
Happy Fluro Friday legends! Keep up the good vibes xxxx
THANK YOU for sharing the love Roisin, you amazing human! Big love from all of the OneWave Community. Lets get waves soon. Yew!
Dave Whitehead contacted us a few weeks ago about holding a Free the Funk Fluro Surf in Varkala, India. Here is the legends inspirational story about his journey to get there…
I was introduced to One Wave through a friend, Richie Norton who had recently moved to Australia. He was frequently posting pics of him and others dressed in all types of fluro attire surfing together, alongside hashtags such as #onewaveisallittakes #itsoknottobeok #freethefunk #ruok #flurofriday and a link to a website. One day, I suppose like any other, I was sat at my desk at work taking a cheeky peak at my Facebook when one of these posts popped up once again. I asked myself what was this ‘onewaveisallittakes’ all about ? and decided to investigate further. I know now looking back there were several reason why that day I choose to click on that link….
I had been struggling for a long time ; with what I wasn’t sure , I just wasn’t happy. In my situation there was not one moment that made me feel this way but it was more a gradual build up of stress, anxieties, frustrations of life… the list goes on. I had always been someone that didn’t like to talk about my problems, nothing real at any case. I was constantly telling myself to “toughen up” or “man up”. How can I have a problem ? My parents are the most caring people on the planet but I didn’t want to speak to them as I didn’t want to worry them … I didn’t want to speak to my friends, although great people., as I was worried about what they might think. In fact this made me feel worse and more and more unhappy. I didn’t recognise this part of me, who I was, I felt I had lost apart of myself and I felt my anxiety was holding me back at work , socially and in life.
It got so bad , I couldn’t stand it anymore. Exhausted from how it was making me feel I decided I needed help. Of course, I didn’t want anyone to know, but I knew I needed to tell someone about this… someone who wasn’t related to me , who wouldn’t judge me, someone that didn’t know me.. someone who could try and fix me.
I searched the internet for a local therapist, close to my office where I could go, emailed and booked myself in. It took me 3 attempts, walking from the office to the main doors of the building until I actually went inside. It was awkward at first, I was sat down, I was poured a glass of water and then she asked me.. so what would you like to talk about ? I replied…. Im unhappy , and I don’t know why. After that I can’t really recall what was said.. I spoke for an hour non stop without a breath. It all just came pouring out. Over the next few sessions we spoke of work, family, friends, childhoods, hobbies, interests, life, relationships, everything and anything. I felt a weight off my chest, I felt I could breathe again, I felt I had a voice and I began to take control of my own thoughts which for a long time had taken control over me. It was an intense release of all the things, big and small, I had been bottling up for all those years all because I was too afraid to talk about how I was really feeling and this inward emotion of ‘anx’; I was in a big funk.
Im not sure when it had crept into my life but it had in a big way. I came understand that I was suffering from a mental health issue which evidently I had been carrying around with me for longer than I really knew. As we began to discuss this more through my therapy I gained a greater understanding of this emotion and began to identify with why I felt the way I did. As I unraveled myself, it became more apparent how unsatisfied I was with my life and the choices I was making every day …I knew I needed to make a change but I still didn’t know what. At first I started small. I started back in the gym and decided to give yoga a go. All of which helped considerably but yet there was still something missing.
Brining me to that point where I subconsciously clicked on the link without a second thought …. and the first thing I saw was a huge message in the middle of ocean, people dressed in Fluro forming the words … R U OK ?? With the tag line… ‘ Its ok not to be ok ! “. I saw a community of people promoting the importance of talking to one another, asking that all important question to people like myself that were going through similar problems. As I read on about what one wave was all about, Grants and various other peoples stories immediately gave me hope. I loved how they defined my current state of mind as being in a FUNK and how through a recipe of salt water, surf and good mates I could begin to rebuild myself. I remember thinking to myself… a FUNK…. now that seemed less scary.. that seemed less permanent , thats something I could do something about. I immediately messaged my friend, Richie, and said how inspired I was by the part he was playing in this and how important that message was, and to whom it was reaching out too. Little did I know then that I would two weeks later, whilst sitting in traffic in London, decide to fly half way across the world to learn how to surf , continue my yoga and more importantly focus on myself. A trip that would take me to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Sri Lanka and India. I packed my bags, said my goodbyes to family and friends, and set off with my partner in life, chasing the sun and surf. Exploring new places, cultures and meeting some truly wonderful people along the way. I was feeling truly blessed that I decided to take back control of my life and that I was on the road to recovering one wave at a time.
It wasn’t until 2 months into my trip I received the news that a friend of ours had chosen to end his life. There are no words here…
After sometime, I began to reflect, looking back to how I felt those few months ago, the journey I had come on and to where I am today. So I decided to contact One Wave and tell them my story , hoping to speak to those sufferers, telling them that its ok not to be ok… and they too can be a survivor. Grant, kindly responded to my email and alongside my ever encouraging girlfriend and support from my colleagues at Soul & Surf , spurred me on to host my first One Wave : FREE THE FUNK fluro surf / yoga on the beach of Varkala in India. The event involved the hosting of a movie clip of the onewaveisallittakes followed by a talk by myself; standing in front of 30 people I barely knew, telling them of my journey. Everyone got involved by dressing up in floral garlands and Indian Holi fluro paint, and then we all took part in a fluro yoga warm up and surf followed by a traditional Keralan/ one wave styled lunch for all the guests and staff. The first of many I hope at Soul & Surf, and certainly not the last from me. Cast your eyes below and see for yourself.
I must again thank those who don’t even know it but have supported me along the way; to One Wave for what they are doing; to Richie Norton for introducing me to One Wave and the work he continues to do ; to my family and to Amy, my love for always being there.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story… and heres to staying funk free.
THANK YOU for sharing your inspirational story Dave you absolute legend. Big love from all of the OneWave Community. Lets surf soon Yew!
Kayla Brereton who launched OneWave in Alex Heads Queensland, shares her inspirational story…
A couple of years ago I went through a really tough break up (I’m not sure they’re ever not tough, but mine sucked). After a year of forcing myself to shut down any pain or emotion, my body couldn’t handle it any longer and I started having panic attacks. My body was literally forcing itself to feel again. I became terrified of what was happening to me, resulting in some intense anxiety issues. This went on for months with the attacks becoming more frequent and aggressive while the anxiety took over what felt like every aspect of my life.
It was dangerous to go swimming or driving (due to the potential of having an attack). I started hating public places. I was scared of everyone and everything, with every part of my life feeling like a struggle I would never win. At the time I was living in Sydney and remember calling mum (in Queensland) every morning crying hysterically at the thought of simply getting out of bed. The concept of surviving the next 12 hours was overwhelming and terrifying.
I remember one work meeting where I had to excuse myself (while pitching for a new, high-profile, high-paying, this-means-everything client) to get a “coffee”. I actually went to the bathroom and sat on the floor crying from the pain of another attack pounding my chest. I had no idea what was happening to me or why. I had no idea who to tell or how to ask for help. I was confused and angry because it shouldn’t be happening to me. I had been a ballerina, TV presenter, radio newsreader and successful PR chick. I had a good family, good friends, good home and car. I had no right to be upset. I had no right to be having panic attacks or anxiety.
But that’s the thing about mental health – it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t choose you based on your job or car or looks, race, religion, family or friends.
Due to the attacks being so bad I ended up at the Doctors. I was diagnosed with a Generalised Anxiety Disorder, frequent Panic Attacks, Depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder / Perfectionism – all masked by intelligence and the ability to present well. You see my panic attacks had resulted in anxiety, which resulted in a big dump of self-hate, resulting in depression. My obsessive need to present well (perfectionism) and intelligence to understand what was required from me in different situations meant I was able to mask emotions, or in most cases hide them completely.
My Doctor told me to move away to a small shack somewhere by the beach and start again. I needed to re-learn self-worth, values, expectations and the definition of achievement. At 22, I was told I needed to take the time to re-build my life.
Around the same time (those mornings I couldn’t get out of bed) I scrolled through Instagram and came across OneWave. I was completely in awe. I couldn’t believe there were young, aware, normal-seeming people openly talking about being in a “funk” and experiencing what I was. It looked healthy, fun and care-free. They were honest, kind and seemed as if they genuinely cared. They were starting conversations about an issue which was destroying my life, yet still shunned by society and mainstream media. Even without meeting them, they made me feel like I (with my crazy mind and pounding chest) was normal. I wasn’t alone.
I was in no form to drive to Bondi and wasn’t going to dress in fluro or rock up at a public place. Damn it, I couldn’t even get out of bed. But I promised myself when I could, I would do OneWave. I’d show others it’s okay not to be okay. So one year, four different doctors, 10 psychology sessions, about a million tears and a move the Sunshine Coast later I was ready.
In January this year (despite not owning a surfboard, fluro, roofracks or being able to surf) I posted on the local Facebook community page that I was keen to start OneWave and had a local guy Drew Neiht respond. He wanted to start it too! He knew the coast, could surf and loved OneWave – sweet. From there we invited our friends and the group began to grow. Some days there were three of us, other days there were 10. But every time I bloody love it. I left feeling excited, fresh and free…. funk free.
Eventually people started asking questions, recognising us and coming down. Others found out via social media, some had been waiting years for it to start! It didn’t take long before the community got behind it – within weeks OneWave was featured on 91.9FM, WIN News (Ch 9) and Salt Magazine. We made flyers and gave them to local businesses. Lifeguards, bloggers and community groups helped spread the word. Everyone wanted to share the stoke of OneWave.
People started telling me how it was changing their life. Friends, friends of friends, surfers, strangers and survivors shared how for the first time (in a long time) they had something to look forward to. For those who work away, it’s something to come home to.
At OneWave, we hear stories of how people feel safe, understood and as if they finally belong. Some overcome their fear of the ocean or simply enjoy the incredible feeling of catching a wave for the first time. People have good weeks and bad but know if they are struggling, there are others to call who want to help because they genuinely care. At OneWave conversations matter, ideas matter… people matter.
Months later, OneWave Alex Heads has grown into almost a movement on the coast. People are starting their own community-based endeavours knowing they have the full support and love of the community. Knowing they, their talent and ideas matter. There are yoga groups, meditation and music jamming sessions. Friendships have blossomed, people feel empowered and conversations are happening everywhere about mental health with so many proud to be part of the OneWave community.
This is the first time I’ve shared my story and it’s scary as shit! It’s not easy to openly discuss your vulnerabilities and present yourself, in a way, as damaged goods. But as I write this I think of those who have endured or are enduring life’s battles. Who are struggling, like I did, to simply get up. But that’s what OneWave is all about. It encourages you to wake up, get up, surf it out and talk it out – and that means everything to me. I wish people knew how much one simple conversation has the power to change someone else’s life… maybe even save it.
THANK YOU for sharing your inspirational story Kayla. You’re one brave amazing human:) Big love from all of the OneWave Community. Lets surf soon Yew!