Juliana Bahr - Mermaid With A Message
Hey Juliana, thanks so much for agreeing to share some thoughts with us today. To start things off, can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
I’m 28 years old, a Secondary School Teacher and a professional Ocean Lifeguard. I have a strong and vivid sports history from spring board diving, gymnastics, soccer, aerobics, tennis, swimming, cross country, trampolining, surfing, athletics and triathlon. All of which I competed at a representative level with over 6 national championship wins in aerobics, 4 world championships (2x triathlon 2x aerobics) where I placed 3rd and 7th in aerobics and 19th and 16th in triathlon.
I’m not one to waste time and I cram as much into every day as possible!
What surf club are you from?
I joined my first surf life saving club, Swansea Belmont at age 12. I remained a competitive member up until opens, when I moved to Noosa and joined their surf club. I have since moved back south to Newcastle and am a current member of Redhead SLSC.
You have just completed an amazing adventure paddling 1000km from Newcastle to North Noosa to raise money for White Ribbon and Surfrider charities. What was the main drive behind Mermaid with a Message?
The drive behind this venture was my own personal back ground, I have been a victim of domestic violence for 20 years as I grew up so to me there is no better charity to represent than White Ribbon. Since I was a toddler the environment and maintaining it's beauty and clarity has always fascinated and fuelled me, so to represent Surfrider Foundation and what they do for our local waterways and ocean conservation just makes sense.
1000km is a long way, where do you look for inspiration?
I figure if you have a message you believe in and want to share you need to think outside the box and do something extreme. That’s exactly what this paddle became, it was my way of doing something extreme to captivate and gain peoples attention for 2 very relevant and concerning issues that effect all of us in some way shape or form.
You’re a strong advocate for pushing social stigmas and norms of women’s roles within the workforce. What do you think is the main stigma existing today for women?
Yes there are still many stigmas attached to women within some working environments, I hope that my successful completion of this paddle has empowered girls and women across Australia to believe in themselves and their abilities. No dream or goal is too big as long as you take the logical steps to achieve it.
How do you stay motivated when you get derailed from injuries you have encountered, such as your major ankle surgery?
Injuries shape you, you can let them wear you down and upset you, or you can use them to strengthen and empower you. I always go for the second option as I have had my fare share of major injuries over the years and I make sure I learn from each and every one to better myself both mentally and physically.
What’s the most difficult challenge you encountered on your paddling journey?
It was truly my emotions, I went through a lot out on the water. It was also waking up so empty and depleted of energy and knowing I still had a 6 hour paddle ahead of me.
Favourite moment from your adventure? Any whales or shark encounters?
I constantly think of the beautiful sights and places I saw, the marine life I encountered, but in all honesty the moments were made due to the people I met along the way!
When you’re not training or raising money on your paddling pursuits, what do you like to do?
I love tennis, surfing and golf as my down time activities, but sketching is something I try and do as often as I can, it takes me off in my thoughts and is probably the most quiet/still thing I do!
What’s your next project or adventure and when do you head out?
For now its full speed ahead back into life… getting ready for the upcoming lifeguard season as I spend my summers on the beach and winters in the classroom!
How can we get involved and donate to Mermaid with a Message?
I’m still aiming to reach my target fundraising goal of $50,000, at the moment I’m just shy of $30,000. To donate visit www.mermaidwithamessage.com.auand click on the donate link or
Before we let you go, what other social platforms are you active on? I’m sure the ladies would love to know where else they can connect with you on the web.
Twitter - @Mermaidwithamsg
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mermaidwithamessage/
Instagram - @MERMAID.WITHA.MESSAGE