For those from challenging backgrounds to those with mental health complications and physical disabilities, there are a host of amazing organisations around the world offering inclusive surfing programmes.

Rolling out a hands on approach, these wonderful teams work with adults and children to get them in the sea and on a surfboard to help promote self-confidence, wellbeing and joy.

If you’re looking to donate to a worthy surf-loving organisation, are interested in volunteering or perhaps you know someone who might benefit from joining a group, read on for 12 global organisations supporting communities around the world.

As Alana Blanchard said, “Surfing makes me happy so that’s what I plan on doing” … and the joy of surfing should be available to all!

The Wave Project | Across the UK

The Wave Project programmes offers young people aged 8 to 21 the opportunity to participate in a specialised surf therapy session. Supporting children and young people who experience a range of physical and mental health issues, social deprivation or social isolation. Plus one-on-one adaptive surfing sessions for people with a wide range of physical disabilities thanks to their specialist training and equipment.

OneWave | Global

This non-profit surf community has been raising awareness of mental health with a simple recipe…saltwater therapy, surfing and fluro. Reducing social stigmas around mental health issues through their Fluro Friday Sessions and giving people the chance to ride waves and talk openly about mental health without being judged. Launched in March 2013 at Bondi Beach, Fluro Friday’s are now held at more than 200 beaches across more than 50 countries.

City Surf Project | San Francisco, USA

City Surf Project use surfing as a vehicle to improve the health and well being of the Bay Area youth. Ensuring they have equitable access to the ocean and inspiring youth to take pride in themselves, have a healthy lifestyle, step outside their comfort zone and appreciate nature. Working with five districts in San Francisco to provide youth with their first ocean experience.

Kind Surf | France & Spain

Founded in 2012 this non-profit organisation is dedicated to children with physical, mental and poverty issues. Offering surf therapy as a tool to develop physical mobility, improve self esteem and self belief, help release stress, sharpen senses, develop initiative and promote team work and happiness.

Asociación de Surf Adaptado de Costa Rica | Costa Rica

A non-profit organisation focused on the inclusion, empowerment and integral development of people with disabilities in surfing in Costa Rica. Developing technical structures and platforms to prepare high performance adaptive surfing athletes. The team is on a mission to bring quality of life to people with disabilities and to represent Costa Rica in the World Adaptive Surfing Championships.

Surfability UK | Wales

Surfability UK provides surfing lessons and experiences for people with disability, illness, injury and learning difficulties. Catering to the surfers’ additional needs so they can get the most out of surfing while having a safe and really enjoyable experience. Lessons take place at the beautiful Caswell Bay all year round, plus indoor skateboarding lessons in the winter.

Waves For Change | South Africa

Waves for Change provides mental health services to children and young people in under-resourced communities. Their Surf Therapy programme utilises surfing as a tool to build protective relationships, find belonging, learn new skills, build confidence, and create positive behaviours toward mental wellness. W4C operates Beach Safe Hubs in coastal communities affected by violence, poverty and conflict, where mental health services are often stigmatised and under-resourced.

Resurface | Global

The Resurface programme offers those with Post-traumatic stress disorder, Complex trauma and Developmental trauma an opportunity to create and regenerate psychological tools, whatever their stage of recovery. Using surfing as a core element in developing new positive resources. Offering global retreats in UK, Morocco and Portugal.

Surfers Not Street Children | Mozambique and South Africa

Since 1998 Surfers Not Street Children have been helping homeless children at risk on the streets of Durban and Mozambique by fusing surfing with mentorship and care to help build empowerment, self-sustainability and independence.

SURFaddict | Portugal

Portuguese Adapted Surfing Association are committed to transforming surfing into a sport for all and making sure that disability and wheelchairs are not an impediment to anyone being able to feel the waves. Offering surfing to people with any kind of limitation, be it motor, visual or cognitive.

Surfers Healing | USA

On a mission is to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. Offering free of charge events to over 6000 children a year, paddling out together on tandem waves to enjoy the weightlessness and rhythms of the ocean and a therapeutic experience.

There are loads more organisations across the globe supporting those with physical and mental health challenges, amputees, children from under-resourced communities and more. Research what’s available in your area for further information.