Surfing Victoria and Surf Her Way would are please to announce that each month we will be highlighting an ambassador for the Surf Her Way program.
This month we are really excited to introduce Rachel Parker. Here’s a little interview we had with her earlier this month..
Hey Rach can you give us a little description of yourself and how surfing is a part of your life project Ocean Mind?
I learnt to surf 6 years ago when I was 30. When I started surfing, I didn’t know it would change the course of my life forever. Since learning I have moved my life down to the Surf Coast and now send every day I can in the water.
Recognising the positive impact surfing can have on mental health I founded a therapeutic surfing program that supports young people to learn to surf. This little passion project has now grown to being a full time job and the team at Ocean Mind have supported hundreds of young people to learn to surf and feel both mentally and physically healthier.
Where do you surf most and what do you ride?
I love taking my long board out to the breaks around Torquay.
What does surfing mean to you?
Surfing means health, friendships and fun to me. Surfing helps my mental health and significantly reduced the rollercoaster ride of emotions which comes with my mental illness. It has also given me new friendships which has been so important when moving to a new area.
Can you tell us about one of your favourite surfs?
One of my favourite surfs was in the Philippines. A couple of friends had taken a boat to a quite surf break and we had the wave all to ourselves. The sun was shining, the waves were perfect and we spent the whole afternoon cheering each other into waves and having a laugh. The boat crew came and joined us in the water and showed us their moves. It was such a fun day and stuck with me as I was travelling alone and had been feeling that pinch of loneliness before coming to the island.
What makes you feel most confident/comfortable when out surfing?
I think I feel most comfortable in the water when there aren’t too many people in the water. I hate the hustle to get waves and prefer to surf quiet breaks than the best breaks around.
What inspires you to surf? What is something that you are striving for in your surf journey?
I think the constant learning in surfing inspires me to surf. There is always something new to learn in surfing. Right now, I’m trying to get my short board out more and feel more confident in bigger waves. the fear is winning at the moment thought.
What excites you most about elevating the representation of women and girls in and out of the water?
I love seeing women in the water. They often bring laughter and enjoyment to a line-up and that is so nice to see and hear. I love seeing women in the surfing industry pushing the limits and challenging the stereotypes. It makes me feel proud to be a women and a surfer.
If you want to hear more of Rachels story check out the Surf Connections podcast we did with her earlier this year.