Why are we all drawn to the ocean, why are we so committed to the sea. Wait, the wrong audience. Why are we so drawn to the lake and the eel-infested wharf? The power of the ocean, for me, was, as cheesy as it sounds, was a leap into deeper waters. I didn’t grow up on the coast but every chance that I got, I jumped in. Some of us fear the ocean, others live for it. I believe that you guys as people of a lake-bound community should experience the power and energy that the ocean brings. Whether it be a calm bay up north lying on a sunny beach or a wild day at the at the Catlins with 40-knot winds and rugged seas. The intensity and force of the ocean can bring, would be and is for me a lifelong experience. Like the sea, we all have bad days and we all have good days. As cliche as it can sounds, “the memories I’ve had in the ocean has shaped who I am today”. Yea most of you probably won’t believe me, but for those that know me well, I live and breath the salt water. Moving down here was a big step for me, I’m like a fish out of water, shit joke, I know, but very true. Being over 80km from the sea, yes I did the calculations, was a change for me, no surf, no pure sand beaches, and the biggest factor, no salty hair. Even though it looks like is. The ocean for me is an escape from everyday life. My problems, whether they be big or small, have all been cured by the connection I share with the ocean. I believe that the barriers or troubles that anyone here faces can be washed away by the ocean. Some of you may know that this year was one of my worst. I lost one of my best mates and that hit me hard. Not only me, but jake and Michael both were experienced the same thing. This was one of the hardest times for me to get through. During this time the hostel had a trip planned for the Catlins. Both jake and Michael went to Auckland and unluckily for me, flights were fully booked. So I took the opportunity and went to the south-east coast. Like most things, I believed that I could get through this trip on this trip to the ocean. Although it took time. The ocean was my cure. By jumping in the surf at Curio bay I could just open up, the cold 10* water made “everything” freeze. Just like time. The week I spent surfing felt like months. I could sit on my board (with no feeling in my toes) and embrace the cold wind blowing on my neck, the lines of swell on the horizon and the sounds of crashing waves behind me. This was my escape. My escape from my sorrows, escape from the sadness, escape from heartbreak, escape from guilt, escape from depression, escape from misery, but mostly an escape from life. The ocean became a way to disappear and be free. Free me. I embraced the ocean like a second mum. Kept me warm, feed my emotions, and gave me shelter. I’m not trying to convince you that you should devote your life to the ocean. But I am simply offering a challenge for you to consider. The challenge is to make a simple connection with the ocean, that I believe can change your life forever.