Surf Mentor Project
What is it?
Our surf mentor project aims to improve the mental and physical well-being of our participants using the therapeutic benefits of surfing.
Participants surf once a week for 6-8 weeks where they work with a one to one volunteer surf mentor, having positive and supportive interactions while having a positive experience in the ocean. The surf lessons are run by a qualified instructor, and work on small groups of 8 participants. We have pre-surf catch ups with the participants and a post surf review, and the participants work through the Surfing England Junior Surf Scheme in the surf lessons.
What impact does it have?
We have shown that we can have a significant impact on the participants in our programes. We have run two programmes with one local Pupil Referral Unit in the last two years and produced these results:
Teachers and pupils reported improvements in engagement, behaviour and confidence from the participants.
Participants surf diaries showed consistent themes of positive regard and overcoming of adversity.
50 % of the participants had a significant or total reduction in recorded behavioural incidents when at school while the programme was running.
The Participants consitently scored higher on the Stirling Well-Being Scale (indicating a general sense of individual well being) each week they participated.
Future projects are being monitored by North East Wellbeing to indicate the impact we are having on participants in the programmes.
How can I access this?
We are currently only accepting referrals through organisations like schools and professional bodies that work directly with people. We're hoping to expand this in the future to take self referrals. If you want more information about a programme for your school organisation please contact us on 07583144560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I volunteer?
We are always looking for anyone who's keen to volunteer as a mentor. You don't need to a fantastic surfer or a surfer at all, you just need to have a love of the ocean and ability to get on with people. Contact us for more information on 07583144560 or
“Can’t say thanks enough to you and South Shields Surf School. Loved every minute.” - Volunteer 2019
What do our participants and school staff think?
“... I can see a clear improvement with all the students involved... It has brought them
closer as a group.... There is a constant smile on the faces of those involved.
The 1 to 1 mentoring has catapulted the group to higher level. The bond they have had with their mentor was developed immediately. The surfing environment has had an amazing effect on the students.
They have also now started to mentor each other while surfing. This is something that we always try to encourage at Park View and seeing it take place at the surfing enrichment is proof to me the importance of the project.”
Teacher Park View School
“Every week the group are mindful and are aware of being in the present moment expressing their thoughts and feelings whilst having a 1:1 surfing mentor.
They are meeting and connecting with people whom they would not normally even have a conversation with, spending time to develop relationships whilst being active within a calm setting.
Learning new skills every week gives each student a sense of achievement.”
Teacher Park View School
Participants' responses to the post-course questionnaire:
How did the surfing make you feel?
“proud because my dad died in the sea and I was surfing in the sea.”
“proud of what I had accomplished, my limits”
“happy, proud, it makes it feel happier and got me in the water”
How did having a surf mentor affect you?
“Made me welcome and had someone to chat to and when I’m on a low point they chat to me”
“Because I had someone to chat to”
“It makes it easy”
Do you think the surfing helped you outside of the surfing sessions:
“It makes your life easy better”
“Gave me more balance”
“Yes as they helped me out of school and in school with my behaviour”
“Yes because I could teach other people to surf”