Through the Warrior Surf Foundation’s surf therapy program, we strive to enhance the psychological and physical wellbeing of Veterans, active duty service members, and their families through the experience of surfing. The primary emphasis of the surf therapy program is on the provision of adaptive surf instruction through both small (2-5 person) and large (15 person) group surf clinics. In addition, surf sessions will be followed by a group processing component with an emphasis on the use of mindfulness and related positive psychology strategies. When the weather is not conducive to surfing, stand up paddle boarding sessions will be offered in its place. All participants will have the opportunity to participate in individual wellness coaching sessions with program Licensed Independent Social Worker. These sessions will be held on the beach and will follow a 90 minute surf session. Program participants will also have the opportunity to participate in weekly yoga groups with a licensed yoga instructor for further development of mindfulness skills. For participants who have successfully completed a six-week surf therapy clinic, there is the opportunity to serve as mentors to incoming participants (and to receive training in behavioral health awareness to include stress management, active listening, and suicide awareness).
The program’s wellness philosophy follows a positive psychology model. In accordance with that model, the following goals are identified: to enhance emotional engagement through the participation in enjoyable, rewarding, and challenging activities such as surfing, paddle boarding, and yoga; to provide opportunities for accomplishment and mastery of new skills through adaptive sports; to facilitate an increased sense of belonging and connection with others through group surf clinics and peer mentoring; to improve emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills through the practice of mindfulness inherent in surfing and yoga.
It's More Than Fun
"Though surfing can be an exciting and fun experience, the implications for positive psychological impacts are far ranging. The emotional, psychological and and physical benefits of our program are a powerful component to veteran healing. "
— Andy Manzi, Founder/Executive Director