Surf 154 – Surf Through Darkness:
Darkness Into Light is an annual sunrise event organised by Pieta along with its 14 Northern Ireland partner charities, supported by Electric Ireland.
I am proud to be an ambassador for Darkness Into Light 2023 and will be undertaking a special challenge to raise awareness and much needed funds for local mental health charities across Northern Ireland.
According to the European Commission 56,000 die by suicide annually (2018 data). That equates to 154 people a day. When I heard that number, I was shocked and wanted to do something that would highlight this sobering statistic and focus people’s minds on the incredibly high number of people taking their own lives and the numbers of families this impacts daily.
On a single night in May, I will surf 154 waves between sunset and sunrise, through the hours of low light and complete darkness to raise awareness of the amount of people dying by suicide and to raise funds for Pieta and their 14 partner charities to help support bereavement services across Northern Ireland.
Please keep an eye out on my social channels for more information and please share to get word out there. Together we can raise awareness and funds to support the great work local mental health charities are doing in our communities.
I understand it is a big ask to donate in this current climate, but any amount would be much appreciated. To contribute to my challenge visit Darkness into Light - Surf Through Darkness.
For more information on Darkness into Light or to sign up to take part in a walk close to you visit www.darknessintolight.ie
Thank you for reading this!
Rich Robinson, Leigh Hawthorne, Laura Montgomery, Mark Millar, Tracey Rodgers, Graham Little, Deo Gallagher, Charles McQuillan, Al Mennie.
Photography by Charles McQuillan
In training I have been working with my trainer Rich Robinson to catch as many waves as possible, quickly! The elements are against us as soon as the sun sets. Darkness slowly creeps in and the darker it gets the more difficult it gets to keep the wave count up.
On the worst night of training I have ridden one wave in 30mins. On the best night I have ridden 44 waves in 30mins!
We have a narrow window to do this and so must be ready to go as and when conditions present themselves. Here is a GPS chart from one of the training sessions which roughly shows the waves ridden from sunset a few days ago.