Laureus Sport for Good / The Wave Project

City to Sea

City to Sea takes young people from inner-city London and urban areas of Cornwall to the beach to experience the benefit of surf therapy. By creating inclusive surfing communities and using a combination of creative surfing and person-centred mentoring, the project aimed to transform participants’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Project information


Project spend

Oct 2018 – Nov 2021

Project dates

City to Sea aimed to work with at least 540 disadvantaged young people aged 8-21 identified through The Wave Project’s (TWP) referral partnerships with CAMHS and other statutory services. TWP intentionally targeted referrals of young people who are isolated and vulnerable because of complex needs such as mental health problems, disability and illness, with a target of 40% of participants self-identifying as disabled. Some may have experienced trauma and crisis, or face problems exacerbated by self-harm, challenging behaviour, eating disorders and/or other difficulties.

Participants took part in a six-week Surf Therapy course, combining outdoor physical exercise at sea with 1-to-1 mentoring. The sea and sport provide a restorative and sensory experience that motivates young people to learn new skills, overcome challenges and socialise. Course graduates could then elect to join a regular surf club coordinated by other young people, focused on social connectedness, communication and developing teamwork skills. Members of the surf club might then be invited to volunteer as peer mentors on future Surf Therapy courses, developing their leadership skills whilst sharing their experiences with current participants.

Project aims

  1. Improved wellbeing, self-esteem and resilience.
  2. Reduced social isolation and better, stronger relationships
  3. Improved emotional development, soft skills and improved life skills through volunteering
  4. Disabled people feel more able to participate in physical activity / sport
  5. Improved perceptions of disability

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