One Wave Great Southern providing saltwater therapy and fluro fun on Fridays

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
One Wave Albany members at Muttonbird Beach.
Camera IconOne Wave Albany members at Muttonbird Beach. Credit: Isabelle Osborne

One woman has brought One Wave to the Great Southern creating a safe and inclusive space to talk about mental health with the help of saltwater therapy.

Albany woman Zoe Kerr started a local branch of One Wave — a non-profit surf community raising awareness of mental health through saltwater therapy, surfing and fluro.

Since launching in Bondi in 2013 One Wave has held Fluro Friday events at over 200 beaches worldwide, raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health.

Ms Kerr said she was inspired to bring the efforts of the organisation to the south coast after joining in on a Fluro Friday at Bondi.

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“I saw so much value in it and had such a good time there,” she said.

“I wasn’t really settled in a town long enough so as soon as I was in Albany and realised I was going to live here for a while and I was meeting young people, I saw a huge need for making deeper connections and normalising conversations around mental health.”

Meeting every second Friday at a different beach location dependent on the weather and surf reports, One Wave Great Southern attracts numbers of up to 20 people keen to chat and start their Friday with a dip in the ocean.

“It’s a really good space to bring Fluro Friday to and people here already have a strong connection to the ocean,” Ms Kerr said.

“The morning of we meet at 6am, we start off with an acknowledgement of country and then we all go around and people have a chance to speak as much or as little as they want depending on how safe they feel to share.”

This Friday One Wave will be celebrating nine years.

From New Zealand to Norway, One Wave communities will dress in their brightest fluro with a simple message — to let anyone facing mental health challenges know they are not alone.

Ms Kerr said it was incredible to reflect on what founder Grant Trebilco had achieved since the organisation’s inception.

“To think that Grant started this nine years ago and how much it’s grown and blown up across the whole world really shows that demand from people seeking that connection with others and to reduce stigma around mental health,” she said.

Ms Kerr said she will usually hand around vegan cookies to share but this Friday there will be fluro-themed cupcakes.

Working as mental health nurse, Ms Kerr can help point people in the right direction if they seek additional support and services.

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