Dude teaching surfing for good mental health

A new charity that combines surfing with mental health wellbeing is helping people from all walks of life.

The free programme aims to teach new skills not only on the board but off it all well.

Hayden Thorpe has a passion for surfing.

That's why he has started a surfing for mental health charity called "Restoke".

'Outdated and inadequate': Govt mental health inquiry paints damning picture

Kiwi men told to speak up about mental illness

"It's a programme for people surfing to get into nature and enjoy what the world has to offer," Mr Thorpe said.

The free programme at Piha runs over eight weeks and includes a surfing lesson and a counseling session each week.

Mr Thorpe's excited to share his passion for the waves with others.

"You paddle in and you pop up and there's an adrenaline shot in your body and it just makes me feel alive," he said.

Counselor Jo Masden was inspired to get involved because of the programme's holistic approach.

"Holistic health is really huge for me like that Maori model te whare tapa wha where those four walls of health are really important in someone's life," Ms Masden said.

Those four walls are physical, spiritual, family and mental health.

She says being in the outdoors helps with all of that.

"What's really awesome about being out in the open air is being in the present.

"Lots of the time our brains are either in the past or the future and sometimes that's not super helpful to our health,” she said.

After a surf, those involved in the programme can make an appointment with her.

Thorpe says another important part is giving people a sense of community.

"We sit around and we have a meal, it's a really good open space for people to chat and get things off their chest," he said.

That's what attracted Kathleen Austae who recently moved to New Zealand.

She hopes the programme will help improve her confidence and meet new people.

"I wanna you know be out in the waves killing but it be confident in myself," Ms Austae said.

She has one piece of advice for anybody thinking about joining.

"Just step out of your comfort zone and meet new people, it's been quite an amazing journey and just go for it."

Thorpe says you don't need to be a pro surfer, the most important thing is having a good time.

"I just love seeing the smiles on people's faces."