Grant Trebilco - ONEWAVE

When did you learn to surf?
When I was 13. I still remember the surfboard. I’d bodyboarded since I was young and would always go out with Dad, then when I stood up there was no turning back.

Where was this?

What is your favourite surf spot?
I have 2, Raglans in NZ and Matakana Island in NZ.

What do you love about surfing?
It’s just the feeling, when you get in the ocean you kind of forget about everything else and it’s just relaxing. You hang out with your mates, you get a good wave and you just can’t stop smiling. It’s one place where nothing else matters.

What is your go-to board?
I switch between a 5’10 Merrick Neck Beard and an 8 foot longboard.

Who inspires you?
My dad, he’s been the inspiration behind ONEWAVE, all my life he’s been an inspiration. In terms of surfers though, probably Parko and Mick Fanning

What kind of education have you had?
I studied a Bachelor of Management studies at uni and finished with first class honours in marketing and economics. 

What has your career been like?
I started out in brand management for a graduate program in New Zealand and was an assistant brand manager at Pepsi there, then in London I worked for Barclays Capital in a digital marketing role, then in Sydney became a brand manager for Brown – Forman.

Tell us a bit about ONEWAVE and how it started?
The aim of ONEWAVE is to raise awareness for depression and other funk disorders through surfing and the good vibes that come with it. So it’s a non-for profit community that we’ve created by getting people in the water to catch that one wave. If you’re going through a rough patch, that one good wave might make your day better and even change your life. We’re executing that through the events we’re putting on at the moment such as our fluro Fridays, so every Friday morning at 6:30 in the morning at Bondi and Manly, we dress up in some fluro outfits and get out there on surfboards, bodyboards etc. and have a laugh and a surf, and talk to each other, just sparking that conversation and talking more about mental health, getting each other to open up.


The reason it started was because my dad had Bi-polar and I suffered from anxiety and depression for years but never really did anything about it. I kind of just thought it was normal to feel that down. I wanted people to see me as this positive happy dude. Then I got sent on a work trip to Mexico a couple of years back and suffered really bad anxiety and depression and was really lucky I made it back. So I saw a psychiatrist and they put me on anti-depressants, which was really bad due to the history of, bi-polar in my family. Then last year after a week partying at Aussie open

I ended up in hospital. I was diagnosed with Bi-polar and shouldn’t of been on those anti-depressants as they were basically sending me up when I needed to be balanced and level.

I went back to NZ and lived with mum and dad and started surfing every day, which was when I first started talking to my dad about bi-polar, and the surf became the one place where I first started telling my mates about everything. That was when I realized that surfing was helping me and I really wanted to share that recipe.  So when I moved back to Sydney, I met up with a friend Sam Schumacher who was instructing surfing and he could see the positive benefits that surfing had for people so we teamed up and from there we launched the ONEWAVE concept, which we’ve been doing since February.

Have you noticed the positive impact?
We’ve been amazed at the response from an idea that we thought up from our own experiences and mental health is something that not many people are so open to talk about so we’ve been blown away by the amount of people who have come down and just been a part of it. We have over 40 people down at Bondi in the summer and about 30 up in Byron after one week up there. And the amount of people that come up to me afterwards or in the surf and thank me for sharing my story and tell me that they’ve been through something similar but have never talked about it just shows its all worth while.

What are your long term plans for ONEWAVE?
Our goal is to have 20 Fluro Fridays running over summer at 20 different beaches. Last Friday we had 4 in Bondi, Manly, Newcastle and Byron, so we want to keep adding to those beaches and encourage people to start up there own at as many beaches as possible and get more people in the water and telling their stories. 

What are your career plans at the moment?
I’m looking to get back into marketing, hopefully a contract role where I can work 4 days a week and focus purely on ONEWAVE for the others. We’re looking at different options for how we go about going forward with ONEWAVE which is great. Ideally we’d love to be out there every day but at the moment we’re just trying to do as much as we can and keep pushing it.

Where can we find you online? 

Instagram: @onewaveisallittakes


Posted by: Troy Roennfeldt, on September 29, 2013
Categories: Interviews