Joel is an Occupational Therapist and keen surfer who grew up in Newcastle, where his love for the ocean developed from an early age. Every chance he got, Joel would make a dash for the beach with his twin brother, eventually climbing the Surf Life Saving ladder. He studied Occupational Therapy at the University of Newcastle, which saw his passion for helping people, flourish. During his studies, Joel interned at Broadmoor Hospital in England, which further cemented his interest in psychiatry. He graduated and moved to Sydney to chase his passion for mental health.

Joel spent 4 years working for the Bondi Early Psychosis Program in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, where his enthusiasm for recovery and physical activity in mental health assisted young people getting back on their feet following their first episode of psychosis. This role saw Joel travel inter-state, and internationally to present at conferences. In 2014, Joel presented at the International Conference on Early Psychosis in Tokyo. 

Joel IEPA Tokyo
Joel presenting in Tokyo at the International Conference on Early Psychosis, October 2014

Joel has worked with the organisation OneWave since its establishment in March 2013. OneWave is a mental health for-purpose organisation incorporating surfing and the ocean as a means of recovery. Joel met the Founder Grant Trebilco in the second week it was running, and they have become great friends ever since, growing the organisation substantially together over the past almost 4 years.

To view OneWave’s website Click Here!

Joel and Grant 2nd Birthday
Joel with friend and OneWave Founder Grant Trebilco. Photographer – Eugene Tan

Joel founded the One Wave Surfing Experience, an eight-week learn-to-surf program supporting people diagnosed with mental health issues.

OWSE Vol 1 Ncle
Joel with the team at the OneWave Surfing Experience in Newcastle. 6th May 2016

Joel is now the founder and CEO of the Waves of Wellness Foundation. Also known as the WOW Foundation, Joel and his team are pioneering evidence-based surf therapy intervention in mental health with a vision to roll out international programs.

Joel Facilitating the Surfing Experience at Wet’n’Wild in December. Photo Brad Whittaker

Joel is also a Casual Academic at the University of Newcastle, lecturing and tutoring in the field of Occupational Therapy.

Joel speaks at a number of different events and platforms around the country, sharing his contiguous passion for mental health advocacy and disruption in the current mental health sector.

Joel is a first time Author, of the children’s book titled ‘Stand Up, Stand Out’ which explores the world of mental health and well-being for young people. Stand Up, Stand Out is set to be released this February.

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