A Walk On Water (“AWOW”) provides Surf Therapy to children with special needs or disability. Since launching in 2012, AWOW has provided Surf Therapy to over 2,500 children and adults in need. AWOW has set an audacious goal to reach over 1,500 children per year by 2020.
WHAT WE DO/OUR ATHLETES
Surf Therapy is defined as a form of water therapy whereby the participant is introduced to the ocean and surfing through guided surf instruction. At AWOW, our Athletes paddle out and ride waves on tandem boards with qualified pro surfers.
The ocean’s transformative properties empower our participants, who enjoy a much-deserved day of laughter, love, and acceptance alongside their family. Our mission is to reach every child in need, especially those who have never had the chance to experience the healing power of Surf Therapy.
AWOW Surf Therapy is more than just surfing: the entire family unit is treated to a well-deserved day of respite, complete with healthy food and drink, live music, art, yoga, and more.
HAOLEBOY THE AMBASSADOG
Additionally, AWOW Athletes often receive the companionship and support of Haole, an 11-year-old Yellow Lab who serves as Ambassadog for AWOW. His calm, mild nature allows him to connect with all people, but especially children. Haole has an incredible way of earning their trust. He helps surfing Athletes feel confident enough to get on a board with their instructors, walks with them on the beach, and even shares waves with them.
TESTIMONIALS RECEIVED FROM FAMILIES AFTER A DAY OF AWOW SURF THERAPY
- “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see my child surf!”
- “The volunteers who are truly angels on earth have become like family!”
- “Our little family was loved and supported beyond what I could have ever anticipated.”
- “S went from sensory overload on the road (to a surf therapy event) to our son taking his noise reducing headphones off on the way back home.”
- “Noah returned to preschool the next week and was different. He was calm. He was participating. He was happy.”
- “Surf therapy is wonderful, and it works!”
WHY SURF THERAPY?
While Surf Therapy is still considered a non-traditional therapy, recent research supports Surf Therapy as a proven and effective model for treatment of social, emotional and physical challenges in children and adults. For example:
Surf Therapy has been shown to have myriad positive effects, including:
- Increased self-confidence and pride from successfully accomplishing a sometimes scary goal.
- Improved interaction with peers and adults through the positive, supportive AWOW environment.
- Lowered stress as a result of exercise and time spent in an outdoor environment, including decreasing issues like insomnia, digestive health, negativity and depression.¹
- Better mental health and social and emotional wellbeing, and boosts to self confidence as a result of being placed in a new environment, and building trust with instructors.²
- Physical health improvements for children with special needs, including overall improvement in upper body strength, core strength. and cardio-respiratory endurance.³
- Improved social skills development among children with autism, including improvements in assertion, responsibility, and engagement as statistically significant.4
¹ The US Navy and Marines are investing more than $1M into researching Surf Therapy.
²The National Institutes of Health reports on a six-week surfing intervention, the Wave Project.
³ The University of Rhode Island study.
4 The Institute of Education Sciences study on social skills development.
SURF THERAPY IN THE U.S.
Presently, Surf Therapy is not a recognized intervention prescribed by physicians or psychologists or other professionals treating children with special needs or disabilities, nor is it recognized or covered by major health insurance.
But that tide is turning. In the UK, doctors can now prescribe surfing for children living in Devon and Cornwall who are suffering with poor mental health. Slowly, Surf Therapy is progressing into a well-documented form of intervention for mental and physical health challenges and disabilities.
A Walk on Water is hopeful that, with more data and more awareness, Surf Therapy can become an accessible and effective treatment for more children across the country.
RECENT AWOW PRESS COVERAGE
PHOTO & VIDEO
AWOW ATHLETES ON THE WATER
ATHLETES WITH AWOW INSTRUCTORS
ATHLETES ON THE BEACH/BEING RECOGNIZED
HAOLE THE AMBASSADOG
For interviews/media requests, to attend and cover an AWOW event, and for all other media inquiries please contact: [email protected]