The Wave Project has published two independent reports about our surf therapy programmes. The first was published in 2014 and peer-reviewed the following year. This focused on the impact of our six-week surf therapy courses and follow-on surf club. The peer review paper about this evaluation, published in January 2015, concluded:
“The intervention resulted in a significant and sustained increase in wellbeing. One year later, 70% of clients regularly attend a surf club and many have become trained as session volunteers. Parents and referrers noticed an increase in positive attitude and better communication, as well as improved self-management and behaviour at both home and school. It is concluded that the Wave Project provides a demonstrable and cost-effective way to deliver mental health care, mentoring and social integration of young people. Further service evaluation of accessibility and long-term outcomes is also recommended.”
Community Practitioner, 2015
The 2018 report is a longitudinal study focusing on the long-term benefits of surf therapy over 4 years. This used data from over 400 case studies, along with confidential interviews of participants and parents conducted by two independent researchers, Dr Hannah Devine-Wright, and Catherine Godfrey. Both reports are published here.
There is one clear conclusion from all this evidence: surf therapy is beneficial as an intervention for young people in the UK facing social and emotional challenges. It helps them to feel more positive about themselves, socialise better with others, create new and stronger friendship networks and feel more confident and optimistic about their life. Both the process of surfing, and the supportive culture fostered by The Wave Project, are intrinsic to these benefits.
In a nutshell, surf therapy works.