A couple of days ago I received a message on Instagram from a girl I met in Lombok. She sent a photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Bondi Beach, surrounded by people dressed in fluorescent clothing. The Royal couple were waxing a surfboard that looked extremely familiar... It turns out that it was a Banyu board. And I've even got proof!
Banyu Surfboards is the first shaping bay in Lombok, Indonesia, and was the place where my creative journey started. The guys taught me how to glass surfboards, I taught them about board art, did some rebranding, tee designs and the artwork on their boards for about two and a half years. They gave me a priceless opportunity. Boss Sudy was hands down the best employer I have ever had (after myself of course, haha!) This particular board I cannot take any credit for, as the guys at Banyu made it after I moved. It might be completely meaningless and coincidental that Harry & Meghan happened to wax up a Banyu board, but I just felt so proud of Sudy, Sukran and Sefran from that tiny Gerupuk village, where most people don't speak English, where there was no road until this year, and where barely anybody even knows who Harry and Meghan are! They made something that is now in hundreds of photos with possibly the most famous couple ever. And to be fair, it's pretty hilarious too! So, why were they waxing up a surfboard?! The couple was there to shine a spotlight on mental health with a visit to the One Wave Is All It Takes surf community support group. Their members meet every Friday morning, dressed up in bright fluorescent colours, to surf together and speak about their mental health struggles. By showing their support to organisations such as OneWave, the stigmas attached to mental health can be erased, and more people will realise that it's OK to not be OK. That it's OK to reach out for help. For me personally, surfing has absolutely improved my mental health over the past few years - there are hardly any moods that can't be fixed with riding a wave. And actually, a surfboard is a lot cheaper than a therapist... so give it a go!