Touch the blue to beat the blues | Pt 2

Photo Caption: Ned Deppeler, Mitchell Wallace, Harry Stinchcombe, Kobi Lindsay-Collins and Iagan McKenzie prior to COVID-19 restrictions.

In Part 2, Port Campbell teenagers Sullivan, Mitchell, Kobi, Ned and Iagan talk about how catching the waves helped them cope with Iso and connect with friends the social distancing way.

While most of us slowed our recreational activities over the past 12 weeks, a group of Port Campbell teenagers found themselves with more opportunity to do what they love: Surfing!

Although, controversially, halted for a few days back at the introduction of social restrictions, surfing in our local patch has continued to provide some much-needed feel-good time for coastal kids and adults alike.

The Resilience Project’s cornerstones of Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness could all be experienced in the ocean by this group of kids (and their parents watching on in awe).

Brothers Sullivan and Mitchell Wallace found their time in the water a reassuring constant in a time of change.

“It was great having the Point to ourselves. It was never crowded and the surf was actually pretty good for most of the time,” Mitchell said.

“Dad would drop us off in the morning and we’d just stay in the water catching waves until we got hungry. At first there were a few crew around from down the coast, but when you could only stay in your own area and surf, we had it to ourselves again.”

Kobi Lindsay-Collins relished the opportunity to connect with mates (from a distance) at a time when most of the country was limited to immediate household.

“We had to be careful not to get too close and break the social distancing rules,” he said.

“And when the swell was good, we’d have to take it in turns to paddle in and out, and around the jetty without getting too close to each other.”

The parents of the surfers were only too happy to encourage the kids to get into the water. Paddling proved to keep the boys entertained, challenged and fit –  no time for “I’m bored” or hours on screens.

Many times, parents would call to each other through the car windows: “How lucky are these kids? Imagine the poor families living in apartments in the city?!”

Ned Deppeler found himself feeling as fit as he can remember, allowing him to work with power on the waves and paddle with endurance.

“Hopefully our surfing fitness will be good for our footy when it starts up again,” he said.

Iagan McKenzie found that the opportunity to surf consecutive days improved his surfing skills as well as his confidence, so much so that he completed a surfing rite of passage.

“Paddling out to our local big wave spot was definitely a highlight. I caught two massive waves that day. It was pretty epic. That’s what I will remember about Iso!”

And when you have the Southern Ocean at the end of your street, why wouldn’t you touch the blue to beat the blues.

If you missed Pt1 of this series, you can read it by clicking here.

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