Insight into Surf Therapy and the link to Mental Health
Surf Therapy combines the positive health benefits of surfing and physical activity with activities proven to help young people build protective relationships, identify emotions, self-soothe and build a positive image of their future.
Surf Therapy builds social connections, provides respite from difficult thoughts and feelings, and develops skills to cope with stress.
Research, Learn, Adapt
Waves for Change strives to constantly learn from, refine, and improve our service through monitoring, evaluation, and research. We do this through partnerships with universities and funders, participating in communities of practice & learning networks, and creating spaces for our child and youth voices to be heard in our programme design and delivery.
About Waves for Change
Since 2009, we have worked with universities, children and young people, to develop a community based, child-friendly mental health service.
Through published, participatory research, our Surf Therapy programme has been co-designed with children and youth alongside supervision from local mental health experts, leading to an innovative programme that is both child and youth friendly and evidence based.
Our programme improves children’s well-being through skills to cope with chronic adversity, trauma and toxic stress.
At a community and provincial level, we improve access to community-based, child-friendly mental health services. We provide a best practice model for integrated, physical activity based mental health services in uninsured, under-resourced communities across South Africa.
Report feeling happier
Report feeling more confident
Are better able to calm down when they feel sad, angry or scared
Have improved Heart Rate Variability
Zilungile, Mentor, Waves for Change
I thought W4C was about surfing, not knowing it’s a life changing opportunity. It isn’t about the kids only, it’s about everyone, coaches, kids and bringing back to the community.
Luxolo, Mentor, Waves for Change
Waves for change taught me to be independent and have hope for tomorrow. If I fall I know that I can rise again. Life is full of challenges, but I should not give up!
Nkuja, Mentor, Waves for Change
When I first learned to stand on a surfboard, I felt like I was on top of the world because I am walking on water. I ended up taking surfing as my coping skill because every time I am in the water, I take the waves as the obstacles that I go through.
Fura, Mentor, Waves for Change
Waves for Change had a big role in facilitating racial inclusion and diversity at the beach. When I started surfing as a child, there were hardly any black people, and it was mostly men. Now, everyone surfs, especially women. Words that describe W4C for me – Freedom. Peace. Love. Care.
Keenan, Mentor, Waves for Change
Much like a butterfly changing is inevitable, Waves for Change has allowed me to break free from my cocoon and hatch into a beautiful butterfly with new skills for wings and qualities for antennas.