WHAT IS WAVES OF WELLNESS?

We are the Waves of Wellness Foundation (WOW), a mental health

surf therapy charity, committed to changing lives by delivering for-purpose

innovative programs for people experiencing mental health challenges.

Our programs break down the barriers and stigma that prevent people from being well. Get wet and have a good time, we say.

And it’s a simple enough creed, but the message runs deeper than that: it’s OK not to be OK, and that you don’t have to – ever – go it alone.

We believe dealing with mental health is not just about dealing with crisis, but that it’s also about finding healthy outlets for people who are struggling, recovering and doing fine. By facilitation conversations and connection and by increasing awareness, we want to change the way mental health is viewed and treated.

Under the direction of Executive Director and Founder, Joel Pilgrim, WOW is expanding programs nationally, addressing the need for innovative solutions in the mental health space.

Pilgrim, a mental health Occupational Therapist and former OneWave Mental Health manager, has seen the difference one wave can make time and time again – WOW is a way to bring that difference to a broader community, providing additional outreach, resources and people power to create long lasting impact.

WOW,  proudly supported by OneWave, has DGR tax deductible status, and with the support of the community and affiliated networks, are tackling mental health head on.

It’s salt water therapy at it’s best.

Meet the Founder

Joel Pilgrim founded Waves of Wellness after working closely with OneWave, an organisation raising awareness for mental health through surfing and saltwater therapy. As part of his work with OneWave, he a founded the OneWave Surfing Experience, a program combining physical health and clinical life skills, in a neutral, non-intrusive natural environment. The aim? To improve social engagement and quality of life for mental health clients, away from the traditional clinical setting. The program sought to normalise mental health challenges, providing improved confidence, strengthened social supports, improved daily structure, increased enjoyment of life, decreased worry and anxiety, and a sense of accomplishment. The demand for the program was overwhelming: and so, WOW, a dedicated surf therapy charity was born.

Joel is a mental health Occupational Therapist with extensive experience working with youth and adults with mental health issues, and specialised in early psychosis at a leading mental health centre in Sydney, Australia. It was here that he first learnt the value of innovation within the mental health space – and this is something he continues to champion today.

A university lecturer and international speaker, Joel facilitates inspiring conversations surrounding mental health in a diverse range of settings, including schools, corporate workplaces and everywhere in between. He’s also the author of a children’s book titled Stand Up Stand Out, which he wrote to help people from a young age think about mental health differently.

MEET OUR TEAM

These are the people working tirelessly to make

Waves of Wellness happen…

JOEL PILGRIM
JOEL PILGRIMFounder / CEO
Joel is a keen surfer of 20+ years, who is known to get webbed feet at times from excess time in the big blue. If he could sleep in the ocean, he would.
AIMEE BLACKER
AIMEE BLACKERNewcastle Lead Facilitator
Aimee is an Occupational Therapist who has been a surfing instructor for years, and loves to share the stoke of the ocean.
MATT LAESSING
MATT LAESSINGVictoria Lead Facilitator
Matt is a Mental health Nurse originating from the motherland of the UK, where regardless of the water temp, he’s always in the water!
LUCY HARRINGTON
LUCY HARRINGTONSunshine Coast Lead Facilitator
Lucy is a passionate Mental Health First Aid Trainer, born and bred on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.
CAROLINE BROSNAN
CAROLINE BROSNANAccountant
Caroline originates from the UK, and you’ll find her dancing on her surfboard on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
BEAU PILGRIM
BEAU PILGRIMChief of Photography & Cinematography
Beau eats, sleeps & breathes the ocean as an underwater photographer & filmmaker. When not somewhere tropical, he’s surfing or kitesurfing.
ALEX LAM
ALEX LAMMarketing and PR
Alex is a marketing guru, and is passionate about helping people from all walks of life.
ELEANOR GLASS
ELEANOR GLASSWriter and Editor
Elle is our story teller and editor who loves all things saltwater and surf, where she is in the ocean daily.

MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The passionate team shaping the direction

of Waves of Wellness…

PHIL ROY
PHIL ROYChairman
From Corporate Boards to surfboards, Phil was previously a Partner at Deloitte, and is jazzed to bring his professional experience to The WOW Foundation.
CASS VUJOVICH - DUNN
CASS VUJOVICH - DUNNDirector
Cass is a passionate Public Health researcher from Canada, and even though she’s new to surfing, she’s a natural.
CHELSEA HEALEY
CHELSEA HEALEYDirector
Chelsea was a driving force for the creation of WOW. She’s a brand expert, and originates from magic Tasmania.
JOEL PILGRIM
JOEL PILGRIMDirector
Joel’s background as a clinical therapist plays an integral role in guiding and shaping the direction of WOW.