top of page

Surf Therapy

Surf therapy is a method of intervention combining surfing/surf instruction with structured
individual or group activities that promote psychological, physical and psychosocial well-being.

Surf therapy is different from surfing. Surf therapy utilises the natural, health-enhancing benefits
of surfing, combining them with a structured approach to surfing in order to achieve a therapeutic

Benefits of surfing:

Physical exercise:

Surfing requires physical exercise, which has been long known to be an
important factor for our physical and mental well-being. With surfing being playful and fun,
it makes working out desirable and easier to access.
 Ocean as natural mood booster: Research measuring brainwave activity has shown that
our brain literally changes in healthy and positive ways when we catch a wave. Negative
ions in the ocean have been proven to act as mood enhancers (Berkley University in

Connection to nature:

Surfing connects us to our natural environment – we spend more
time outdoors, profiting from fresh air, sunlight and a sense of belonging to our
surroundings and the natural world. More and more studies show that the effect of
exercise on overall well-being is hugely positive.

Focus on present moment:

Surfing forces you to be present in the moment, which is
healthy for your brain. When you’re out in the water surfing, your brain has no capacity to
be stressed about things from the past, or worried about things in the future. Surfing
hijacks the brain (in a good way) and says “you’re here surfing right now, focusing on this
and thinking about absolutely nothing else!”. Research measuring brainwave activity has
shown that our brain literally changes in healthy and positive ways when we catch a wave!
The added benefits of an intentional and structured approach of surf therapy:

Additional approach of surf therapy:

Positive mentors / surf instructors / role models:

Positive mentors guide the session with
intention to promote mental and physical well-being. In some programmes, clinical staff
guide the sessions with knowledge in mental health.

Guided discussions:

With the intent to break down barriers in talking about well-being and
learning new helpful aspects for well-being, experiences are being shared, allowing
participants to learn and grow from those.


One of the five ways to well-being is to feel belonging. Every surf therapy
programme aims at creating a healthy place of belonging for its participants, as well to
create healthy alternatives to the unhealthy connections in participants’ lives.

What Is Surf Therapy: Welcome
bottom of page