What we've been up to this month:

In the past month we have witnessed incredible stories from young people who have participated in our surfing sessions. We have worked with several children who have returned to mainstream school after lengthy absences thanks to a dose of surf therapy on our Surf Back to School programme.

Isaac's story

14-year old Isaac Mitchell wrote a blog about his experience of returning to school after a 9-month absence due to anxiety.

“I started the Wave Project six-week course back in late August 2017, following a 9 month period of Home Education, following a very hard time at school. I had some experience with surfing beforehand, but the team helped me massively. Little did I know where I would be the following year...
"I was instantly greeted warmly and felt like part of the group, I wasn't made to feel awkward or uncomfortable.

"The way of teaching was brilliant: learn one step, put it into practice in the sea and then come back to the beach for the next step. Within a few weeks, my surfing had come on enormously and I had learned new tips from excellent surf instructors and volunteers.
"In September, around half way through the course, I returned back to school (year 9) after a hard time and several months of home education. If I hadn’t had joined the Wave Project, there is no way I would be the more confident, less stressed and ultimately the more happy person I am today.”

Freddie's story

Another child, Freddie (not his real name), had been held in isolation within his school for most of the year. This was due to his challenging behaviour, triggered by autism and social anxiety.

Last month, 10-year old Freddie completed a six-week Surf Back to School course, during which time he had developed new strategies for coping with social situations. He learned to walk away when he felt upset rather than confronting other children. And crucially, he rebuilt his self -esteem by overcoming the challenges of surfing and spending time with other children.

This week, his mother sent us this email:

“Firstly, thank you so much to you and the team for the support and commitment you’ve given Freddie over the last 6 weeks. You said at the start, it was key for Freddie to start to challenge some of the social anxieties, which were holding him back  and that the Wave Project would enable him to do this in a more therapeutic and non judgemental landscape.

"Progress has been significant, visible in that Freddie has spent longer in the classroom over the last 2 weeks than he did over the entire course of last half term. He is more confident managing his anxiety and he is using some of these new skills to start building relationships with his peers. On top of that he’s learned to surf too!”
While all that has been going on we have also…

  • Won an award in Devon for our contribution to inclusive sport
  • Delivered surf therapy sessions for over 200 children and young people free of charge
  • Hosted a special inclusive surf day with surf brand Hurley as part of International Surfing Day on June 16
  • Been featured on the BBC for our work in Scotland - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-44630161

See you next month!
Photo credit: Lewis Harrison-Pinder.