Making a big splash
Jimi Hunt was in the grips of depression when he came up with a plan to lift his spirits.
Live "more awesomely", he says, and you can beat the blues.
The Devonport-based creative designer is the same man who last year journeyed the 425km length of the Waikato River on a $5 inflatable Lilo to raise awareness of depression.
Mr Hunt founded the registered charity Live More Awesome with business partner Dan Drupsteen after completing the crusade.
They have both experienced depression and are determined to inspire others to come out the other side.
Their latest venture to build the world's biggest waterslide will feature in a two-day public event to raise money and awareness for the charity.
The 650-metre long slide, made from industrial plastic, has been dug into the side of a giant hill on a private rural plot 30 minutes drive from downtown Auckland.
Mr Hunt says the installation has smashed the previous record held by a 350-metre long slide in Utah.
Water slides are typically a child's domain but Mr Hunt insists this mammoth is for big kids only.
The event is another on a long list of outrageous endeavours for the 32-year-old.
"I think it's through the ho-hum monotony of day to day life that people slip into depression," he says.
"From there they can't find inspiration in themselves.
" They need external inspiration and that's what Live More Awesome is aiming to provide."
The waterslide event is a way of demonstrating how lifestyle factors can work wonders for those battling a mental illness.
"There are some key things to to beating depression," Mr Hunt says.
"Vitamin D from getting out in the sun, the support of a community, having goals and something to look forward to and being active.
"This event encompasses all of those."
One of the most common misconceptions about depressed people is that they look how they feel, he says.
"People with depression wear a mask. Why do you think so many comedians have depression?"
The gregarious and fun-loving man is the last person you would associate with depression.
"I used to go out and be the happy, crazy, fun guy but then I would get home and cry," Mr Hunt says.
"I met a doctor who thought about depression differently, rather than saying here's some drugs that'll fix you.
"Within a week of changing my lifestyle I went from being severely depressed to not at all."
The World's Biggest Waterslide will be open on February 23 and 24.
Limited tickets are available at indiegogo.com/worldsbiggestwaterslide.
Go to livemoreawesome.com for more information.
- North Shore Times
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