It's been some kind of February for eight-year-old Xavier Neil so far.
On the power of a suggestion from a family friend, Xavier leapt into SurFebruary, a fundraising campaign by Chris O'Brien Lifehouse to fight cancer.
The mission: surf every day in February in return for donation pledges.
So far, Xavier, the son of Ben and Emma Neil, has hit the surf every day. As of Friday afternoon, he has raised the most funds (over $6700) of the 110 surfers who are participating.
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is a not-for-profit comprehensive cancer hospital in Camperdown, Sydney, with all cancer services under one roof – from diagnosis, to treatment, clinical trials, research and complementary therapies such as nutrition, yoga and counselling.
Mr Neil said it's been quite a life lesson for his son, who's only a young surfer.
"A couple of days, when the surf was horrible, it’s been cold and raining, he might go ‘do we have to go?’, Mr Neil said. "But he sort of progressively changed his own attitude: ‘all these people donated, I gotta get up and go’. It's got to the point where he’s waking up at 4.30 and climbing into his wetsuit on his own, keen to go out there . . ."
For Xavier, it's meant seeing some stunning sunrises while surfing the waves at Bar Beach. And often, a hot chocolate afterwards.
In Xavier's own words, his latest aspiration: "To become a pro surfer".
"I think he’s learnt it doesn't take much of an effort to help other people in some way," Mr Neil said. "The money he raises isn't curing cancer, but hopefully assists the well-being of those battling cancer."