Helping people move forward in creative ways

Connected By is a creative space for learning sharing and growing that provides current and ex ADF personnel, first responders, and the general public the opportunity to learn share and grow through engaging and challenging creative pursuits.

Connected By is an evolution and unfolding of the Bodhi Tree Surfboards workshops into a not-for-profit platform for sharing skills, and as a space for a community to grow and connect through creativity.

In the future we'll offer a variety of ways to get connected,  we'll guide you to create something you'll be stoked to show your mates and proud to show your family.

Get Connected By Water and build your own hollow wooden surfboard, bodyboard, or paddleboard from locally grown timber. With no previous skills you'll create a showroom piece that's functional in the water and beautiful on your wall at home. From a 4 ft bodyboard to a 10ft paddleboard you'll be frothing all the way to the shed.

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Testimonials Press to read

I was thinking great I'm going to get myself a free surfboard out of this but what I got was so much more than that. Greg has given back my confidence to know that I can still work with my hands and I'm capable of getting back to some normality in my life and the lives of my family. Every trip I made to the workshop I was frothing to get there and see how much I could do each day not realizing till I was almost finished that it wasn't about the board it was more about actually being able to do something that at the start was doubting I could do.

Nev

I was dumb enough to allow myself an honorable discharge and went through transferring my skills to the civilian world. It didn't work. I felt terribly alone, tired and with very little to look forward to. I have since been diagnosed PTSD, Hypervigilance disorder, insomnia, bi lateral major hearing loss and tinnitus in both ears, two cracked lower vertebrae and the standard issue crap knees n hips. There is an open air of honesty and a smell of wood in this little oasis. I feel renewed every time I go there to work on my board. I can just stop and enjoy the making of something very personal for me by me. The beauty of this is time. I can talk if I want or just zero into the act of creating. My partner has noticed that I come home more relaxed for being there and will generally go to bed with little need of my sleeping meds. There is definitely something very special about this place and the process of building a board here.

J.E.

When I started the build I was in the process of a medical discharge and as a consequence I was removed from my unit and fellow brethren. I was dumped in a holding unit as just another number for the admin process to take over. It was like everything that I sacrificed and contributed to my career amounted to nothing, I was just another number ready for the revolving door. I had never felt so isolated in my whole 12 year career. Greg, the factory and the board building process became my escape. It was my new focus and distraction from the pain and feeling of self worthlessness. It is the perfect escape from the harsh realities of military life and serves as a reminder that there are places outside the walls for people to connect or have a sense of belonging.

H.D.

I was a little apprehensive about my abilities to do this, as I had no woodwork skills (I never finished a woodwork project in high school) and though I have surfed on and off for many years, am an eternal novice so knew little about surfboard design. I felt a real sense of achievement, and it was an amazing feeling to finally take the board out on the water at home and catch that first wave. I hadn’t surfed for quite a long time by now, but shaping the board reminded me of the satisfaction and focus that being on a board in the ocean brings. The value in this workshop is much more than making a surfboard. The building experience will not change your life situation or stop the worries or negative thoughts you might have, but it can remind you what is possible with a little focus, and some permission and support.

J.

When I returned home from Iraq I immediately discharged. I had nobody to relate to and felt isolated from the world. It took me 8 years to see a professional and I was diagnosed with PTSD and lived on medication. Creating a personal timber surfboard in this environment provided me the therapy I needed in my life. I met others who had similar experiences to me and I quickly learned that it wasn’t just about the creating but it was also rediscovering that sense of belonging. I didn’t want to complete my surfboard and have since returned regularly to hang out in the workshop meeting others. I will always continue to do so in the future.

Dave

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