4 November 2015

Shaun Wallbank is a Tassie Mo Bro who’s taken his Mo to a place most mortals will never go.

Shaun Wallbank
Shaun Wallbank is a Tassie Mo Bro who’s taken his Mo to a place most mortals will never go – down the face of a wave at Shipstern Bluff, one of the biggest breaks in the world. He’s also a member of the infamous Mobart Mo Bros. We sat down with the great man to chat community, courage and the true heroes of Movember.

Movember: When did you first hear about Movember and why did you get involved?
Shaun: I’m pretty sure I heard about it back in the noughties. I got involved when one of my best mates, Mobart Mo Bro Captain Tommy Windsor, lost his dad, Pete, to mental illness. I formed my own relationship with Pete over years of being friends with Tommy, and he would have been an awesome Mo Bro. I think the lessons we’ve learned from Movember could have really benefitted Pete. Since the tragedy of that loss there have been a tonne of other reasons to keep me fighting for the cause.

Movember: Why is men’s health important to you?
Shaun: Identifying men’s health as an issue is important to me because we as blokes need help shifting it up our priority list. I think it’s important to stand up and take responsibility when you’re not good at something and men seem to need a bit of help taking care of our health, physical and mental.

But men can also be courageous and courage is a huge part of Movember in many ways. Movember is about the courage to stand up say ‘we’ve got issues and we need help’. It’s about the courage to shave your beard off, the courage to run up a mountain in support of the cause, the courage to go up to a bloke and ask him if he’s doing ok.

Movember: What is your most memorable experience with a Movember Mo on your top lip?
Shaun: From a personal point of view it’s the memory of the hug I have with Tommy at the top of Mount Wellington at the end of the Point 2 Pinnacle half marathon. That’s always a special moment. Climbing a mountain is a great metaphor for what Tom and I aim to symbolise during the month of Movember. It’s a bloody good metaphor for life really!  

Memorable moments also include the times I’ve logged onto my Mo Space and seen the Mobart Mo Bros fundraising results at the end of the month, it’s humbling and inspirational.

Movember: Has Movember had a direct impact on your family, friends or community? 
Shaun: I make damn sure it has an impact on my community. I make a real point about having conversations with my whole family, specifically my dad and my brothers. 

Movember almost gives me an excuse to connect with friends I may not have seen in a while. That’s one of things I like most about the month. 

Movember: You surf some pretty big waves down there in Tassie, what are you thinking of as you’re being towed into a massive wave?
Shaun: It’s a bit of a non-answer but for those few moments before taking on a wave of consequence I’m actually doing less thinking than I ever do. 

I do a fair bit of thinking in the lead-up. Mental preparation isn’t weather dependent so it’s a great one to be on top of. Surfing a wave happens pretty fast so I just let my body take over.

I think what I like most about big wave surfing it is that I can just let it happen. Most of the time you’re in for one of the best waves of your life or a good old fashioned beating. 

Movember: Your mum walked the Point 2 Pinnacle last year. Did you see her when you ran past? Did you guys have a hug and a chin wag?
Shaun: I definitely spotted her, I can remember the exact spot. She had her eyes on the prize and was stomping it. Stopping to chat isn’t really an option so I just gave her a sweaty kiss, puffed a few words of encouragement and kept rolling. It meant the world to me to see her up there. I’m embarrassingly proud of Mum for taking on the half marathon. It’s not a fairytale event and she worked her arse off to get up there.

Movember: Who’s your moustache motivation? If you could grow any moustache, what style would it be?
Shaun: My upper lip hair production is quite under developed but I’m pretty proud of that fact. I don’t think your Mo growing capabilities are connected to your enthusiasm thankfully. A bushy, rugged Mo would be awesome but I reckon the blokes that rock the lamest Mo’s are the true Mo heroes. My house mate is rocking the Ned Flanders this year and it’s pretty wild! 

Movember: We’ve spoken about your team, the Mobart Mo Bros, celebrating your 10th Movember this year. How do you go about fundraising?
​Shaun: My personal fundraising efforts are often the product of the team’s efforts. We’ve all got different ways of going about it. I generally use my volume and my willingness to be different as my fundraising weapons.

The whole reason we get involved in Movember is to help someone else. Being in a team means we can practice that tangibly and often the funds are a byproduct of that teamwork. 

Apart from that I just mouth-off flat out for two months. Daring people, daring myself, challenging someone to something, whatever it takes. I let my mates know they’re not mates unless they chuck us some cash.

Movember: What have you and the other Mobart Mo Bros got planned for your 10th year? 
​Shaun: We’re going bigger and better than ever. It’s our tenth Tash Dash and our seventh Tour de Mo. We’re inviting back every Mo who’s participated over the past ten years.

Here’s to another massive year of having fun and doing good.