Surfing and Mindfulness for first responder families | Illawarra Region Activity Wrap Up

Recently Fortem held a ‘Learn to Surf and Mindfulness’ wellbeing activity for first responder families from the Illawarra region, with Rusty of Gerringong Surf School. Our participants got to try something new and experience what it’s like to ride a wave! It was a great way to connect, be active, be mindful and keep learning, as well as simply enjoying the surf, sun and sand.

The activity started with everyone arriving at 7 Mile Beach in Gerringong for morning tea, which gave our first responder families a chance to meet, connect and get to know one another before we started out lesson.

We meet one of the instructors, Nathan, at the van where we were sized up for our wetsuits and run through the lesson plan for the day. Once we were suited up and ready to go with our boards we headed down to the beach, where we learnt about surf safety including, how to protect your face and head if you fall of the board, how to fall off safely, where to place your feet and how to stand correctly.

As the water was a bit rough the instructors took us out one by one to have a go, and try stand up on the board, and ride a wave into shore, which everyone was able to by the end of the session. It was a lot of fun, and we learnt so much. Rusty and his crew were so thoughtful and encouraging throughout the lesson. Every time someone stood up on the board, there was a cheer squad on the sand calling out – yeah woohoo! – you can do it!! It felt like we were a team!

We ended the lesson with a really easy mindfulness session. We all came together and sat by the edge of the water, closed our eyes for couple of minutes and just listened to the waves moving in and out, and used the rhythm of the waves to breathe in and out.

Afterwards, everyone hung about ate and chattered some more. Thanks so much to Rusty and his team – what an awesome, everyone had a lot of fun! I think everyone felt comfortable, there was lots of inclusiveness and chattering, it felt like a day out with friends.

Find an Illawarra region Wellbeing Activity on our Calendar.

Fortem activities are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach. Find out Who We Support and share this story to help us reach them.