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Surfing for Life

Surfing For Life delivers successful programmes for the region's rangatahi in partnership with Surfing Taranaki. Charles Gibson and Janine Bazely have developed, facilitate and deliver a surfing programme for intermediate and secondary school students and ‘at risk’ youth. 
“Research shows that time spent in the water, surfing, can have a positive impact on mental health, physiological wellbeing, learning, and physical activity. Our programme is a surfing and mindfulness initiative designed for people to experience the joy of surfing and to build self-belief,” said Charles, Director of Surfing for Life.
“The workshops focus on mental wellbeing and life competencies. These are integrated into a learn-to-surf and wave therapy programme. We were confident that the need was there but we never realised how much demand there would be or the significant positive difference we would make to those rangatahi who took part.”
“Our biggest issue was always going to be funding the programme as the schools generally have no budget for this. Grant funding to maintain and grow the programme has been essential,” Charles said.

Funding of $15k from Toi Foundation enabled the organisation to deliver the first season of the Surfing for Life programme. Approximately 600 Taranaki students from more than ten schools have now been through the programme. 
“Toi Foundation gave us the opportunity to prove the programme would be successful. The funding has helped Surfing Taranaki to establish its headquarters, buy wetsuits and surfboards, set our programme up initially and purchase a passenger van so we can collect students from schools around the region, who otherwise may not have been able to participate.”
“We introduce the rangatahi to mindfulness and the importance of breathing techniques. The mindfulness approach, which is proven to increase wellbeing, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in adolescents, is a key tool for life,” Charles said.

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