Surf therapy will support anxious children at inland surfing lagoon

A new project offering surfing as therapy for anxious children is being offered in Bristol in a new partnership between surf therapy charity The Wave Project and The Wave inland surfing lagoon.

It will be the first time that surf therapy has been offered away from a coastal site anywhere in the world.

The partnership is being announced on National Social Prescribing Day (12 March), which celebrates the work of the voluntary sector in delivering and supporting NHS services.

It will enable children from inner-city Bristol to access the mental health benefits of surf therapy without having to travel a long way to the coast.

Wave Project founder and CEO Joe Taylor said the project was the culmination of years of planning between him and Nick Hounsfield, the founder of The Wave.

He said:  “It is really exciting to see this project come to fruition at last. Nick and I were talking about this at least five years ago, so it is wonderful to see it happening now.

“It is a game changer to be able to offer surf therapy to children in an inland setting,  and we are hugely excited for the possibilities this project brings in transforming young people’s mental health.”

The Wave in Bristol is the first inland surfing venue in the northern hemisphere to utilise Wavegarden Cove technology, creating up to 1,000 waves per hour.

The Wave Project’s evidence-based surf therapy courses have been proven to help children be more emotionally resilient and are now offered by GPs on prescription across the South West of England.

But for the first time, the service is being offered at an inland site, thanks to technological feat of The Wave in Bristol.

The Wave Project charity began life on the beaches of Cornwall ten years ago working with young people who were at risk of isolation.


The process of learning to surf proved a great leveler for young people from all walks of life, building young people’s confidence, self esteem and resilience through inclusion and positive reinforcement.  Since 2010 the charity has grown into all corners of the UK working with over 4,000 young people.

Nick Hounsfield, Founder of The Wave said: “This is a great moment for us. Way back in the early days of The Wave, when we were submitting the original planning application, Joe and I talked about how we could use the space to support the brilliant work that The Wave Project was doing.

“To now have built The Wave, opened our doors to the public and be at the stage when we can run a pilot is so exciting. Bringing surf-therapy inland and being able to offer it to children in Bristol was part of the original vision and it’s now a reality!”

Nick Hounsfield Founder

Joe added: ““Announcing this partnership on National Social Prescribing Day makes it all the more important to us.  Our work is evidenced to show dramatic improvement to young people’s physical and emotion wellbeing . The Wave is a terrific resource for these young people to benefit from using and we can’t wait to get started.”