If you’ve been past my office on Rockwall Crescent, you’ll know I’m into surfing.
I’ve got several boards in the office, and we’re lucky the beach isn’t far from Potts Point because when I’m not selling real estate, I’m out in the waves.
I first got on a surfboard when I was just four years old and the sport has been a huge part of my life ever since. I’ve surfed my way around the world and I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way – always searching for the perfect wave.
So when I heard about the charity Surfaid through my surfing mates, it made sense to get involved. That unique combination of surfing and charity has become pretty important to me.
Surfaid is a non-profit humanitarian organisation. Their aim is to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions, who may be connected to us through surfing. This includes people living relatively close to us in remote parts of Indonesia, where I’m a regular traveller, and also over in Mexico.
They fundraise, organise surf competitions and run a series of on-the-ground programs in these areas to help the locals.
One of these is the Mother and Child Health program. This offers mums-to-be access to pregnancy care as well as practical support in monitoring the health and growth of their young kids. And it’s badly needed.
The stats show that in Indonesia, every three hours a mother dies in childbirth, while every hour, 20 babies die. Half of these babies are less than one month old. In remote areas, these figures are worse.
The Mother and Child Health program provides basic things like weighing scales, measuring tapes and health education. It also gives practical assistance with access to clean water, seeds and equipment for nutrition gardens, and malaria nets to prevent disease.
Something as simple as access to water – which we take for granted here – can be quite literally life-saving in other parts of the world. And through this program alone, more than 44,710 people have gained access to clean water.
Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch
In June this year I joined a group of friends to raise money for Surfaid by surfing the legendary Kelly Slater’s wave pool. Located a long way from the real waves, in Lemoore, Central California, USA, Kelly’s man made wave pool is designed to create the perfect wave and it made a lot of headlines when it opened.
The pool took over a decade to develop and create and is completely solar powered.
There’s a fair bit of debate in surfing circles over whether wave pools could be the way of the future for surfing comps, so we were pretty keen to try it out.
In the end we had a ball – and helped a good cause. We actually won the whole surfaid contest, and I was pretty stoked to have won best left of the day.