When he’s not terrifying opposition defenders on the World Rugby Sevens circuit, or running his occupational therapy program Sense Rugby, you’ll find Aussie star Jesse Parahi and many of his teammates at the beach surfing.
And with that in mind, Jesse and his Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens teammates have joined forces with Waves of Wellness this Movember, seeking to raise much-needed funds for the charity.
Waves of Wellness is a mental health surf therapy charity that’s committed to changing lives by delivering innovative programs for people experiencing mental health challenges. Mental health effects 1 in 2 Australian men at some point in their lives, and one of the biggest issues today is having an honest conversation about it.
“Our RUPA Player Development Manager, Gina Rees, encouraged us to come together as a group and try and make a real difference this Movember,” Parahi explains. “When she asked if we knew any charities to get behind, Waves of Wellness seemed like a very logical choice because of our love for the beach and surf, so I suggested it.
“The boys have really gotten around it - it’s the first time as a squad we have taken up a particular cause and said we’re going to raise some awareness and money for this, and everybody has really bought in. We’re aiming to raise $10,000 as a squad, and we’re doing it for all of the right reasons.
“I don’t think mental health is spoken about enough, especially among men, and if surfing can help break down that stigma and provide an outlet for those who don’t want to meditate or see a psychologist at least surfing can provide some similar outlet and that’s why it’s been an important message for me to push.”
Away from the serious side of things, Movember also allows the team to have a bit of a laugh at one another’s moustache attempts. So whose facial hair is fantastic, and whose slug is a bit sad?
“I’d have to say the best of the players is Chucky Stannard; we’ve renamed him Chopper after his handle bars,” Jesse laughs.
"I’m going to have to put myself in the ring for the worst moustache, I’m really battling, I’ve got a bit of fluff on the top lip but that’s about it.”
“It’s been great to give back to something other than ourselves, we’re so often working on our own training and getting better as a team, so it’s been nice to put back into the community and help raise awareness for a great cause. It’s been really enjoyable, and the boys have been having a good laugh at training watching the likes of myself and a few of the other guys really struggle to grow a mo.”
If you’d like to help the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens team reach their goal of raising $10,000, click here to donate.
Waratahs backrower Brad Wilkin is also doing Movember; you can donate to his fundraising page here.