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  1. S Colpus,
  2. J Taylor
  1. Health & Wellbeing Innovation Centre, Cornwall


Introduction The Wave Project began in 2010 when a group of Cornish surfers received a grant from the Cornwall and Isles Of Scilly NHS Primary Care Trust (UK). This was used to explore the effects of surfing on a group of 20 young people with mental health conditions, during a six-week pilot. The results were very positive. Over the last 2 years the Wave Project has grown, enabled by charity funding and volunteers.

Table 1

72 clients rated their wellbeing on a scale of 0–10 (bottom–top) using six measures of confidence

Aim Show the many positive effects surfing has on young people with varying mental health conditions, personal and social needs.

Methods During September 2011–2012 a free six-week surfing course was delivered to 100 young people aged 8–17, referred by schools, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), General Practitioners, Educational Psychologists and Bereavement Charities. They were placed on a six-week course, of 2 hours per session. Sessions were held at weekends in three Cornish locations, during the surf season April–October.

The four main evaluation methods were:

  1. Attendance sheets

  2. A pre and post course rating scale

  3. Client, parent and carer feedback forms

  4. Focus Groups

87 clients completed the six-week course and 72 completed self-evaluation questionnaires.

Results From self evaluation, client and professional feedback and attendance levels give a strong indication that the surfing projects are making a difference to the lives of young people. Self-evaluation revealed that after the course young people felt their confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing had improved. Formal feedback from parents and professionals showed additional improvements in motor and social skills, behaviour and re-engagement with school.

Conclusions Overall it is clear from available evidence that surfing has a positive and beneficial effect on young people, however further research is needed. It has great importance as a referral service, which could be expanded.

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