Beyond Fear | Do Something Great

Thursday, March 30, 2017

17 years ago a group of intrepid New Zealand surfers took a fearful leap - what was planned as a luxury surf trip to the Mentawais became a lifetime dedicated to creating and growing a small NGO called SurfAid.

This journey required SurfAid founder, Dr. Dave Jenkins to overcome many fears; a fear of founding a non-profit, (and a fear of funding a non-profit!) but mostly - a fear of what would happen to the villages he visited if no one stepped up to help. Reminiscing on these fears, Dr. Dave Jenkins was thrilled to hear that big wave surfer Mark Mathews was keen to support SurfAid.

Mark Mathews is an inspiration to all of us in the surf community, and he has supported SurfAid since 2012. To bring his support of our work to New Zealand, where I grew up,  is an incredible thing.

Bringing their combined stories to New Zealand, Dr. Dave Jenkins and Mark Mathews paired their surfing talent and humanitarian passion to talk about fear - its existence within all of us and, more importantly, how we overcome it. 

Despite being one of the best big wave surfers in the world, Mark Mathews opens his confession with this:

Whenever people see footage or photos of what I do for a living, they think I must have been born fearless. But in all reality, when I was young I was terrified of the ocean. But I just wanted to be a professional surfer so badly it didn't matter how terrified I was, I was always going to find a way to get through it.

After Mark’s first major injury he suffered at Tasmania’s Shipstern, he said it felt like he’d gone back to being a kid again; no part of him wanting to surf big waves. But he was motivated by the goal of buying his mother a house, and returned to the scene of his accident to conquer both Shipstern and his fears.

Goals make you push through fear.

Like Mark Mathews’ dream of buying his mum a home, Dr. Dave has pushed through his fears with the dream that remote island communities should have clean water, access to basic healthcare, and good nutrition.

Mark Mathews and Dr. Dave remind us of  the power we have to make a difference in our own lives, and the lives of those on more distant shores. When you go beyond fear, you can do something great.

Read more from The New Zealand Herald

Watch more from The New Zealand Herald

We are enormously grateful to the following event sponsors and supporters

Mark Mathews
Cornershop Bistro, Sumner NZ
HeavenScent Food Co, Auckland NZ
Three Brothers Brewery, Christchurch
Sunshine Brewery, Gisborne NZ
Tiki Wines, Christchurch NZ
Sadhana Surf Shop, Christchurch NZ
The Perfect Wave
Gull New Zealand, Auckland NZ
Daryn Mcbride (Artist), Port Waikato NZ
Firewire Surfboards