The Wave Project announces speakers and a new date for Europe’s first-ever International conference on surf therapy

●        Experts from the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre to lead speaker line up at public event in Watergate Bay

●        Three-day programme leading up to World Mental Health Day on 10th October includes inspiring discussions, workshops, and outdoor activities

●        General public invited to join – tickets available

Newquay, 21ST July 2021: The UK’s leading surf therapy charity, The Wave Project, has announced key speakers for the inaugural European International Surf Therapy Organization Conference, now taking place on the 6th to 8th October in the lead up to a worldwide paddle-out for World Mental Health Day on 10th October.

Taking place at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel in Watergate Bay, the three-day programme of inspiring sessions focused on surf therapy will include panel discussions, workshops, and outdoor activities – all open to the public, and anyone with an interest in the positive benefits of surfing is warmly invited to register for tickets.

Speakers include Dr Carrie Allison and renowned clinical psychologist, Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen, from the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, who will present their ideas for a randomized control trial of surf therapy for autistic young people, alongside environmental psychologist, Dr Hannah Devine-Wright, University of Exeter.

Other highlights include:

●        Former Devon and Cornwall police sergeants James Mallows & Sam Davis, Founders of SurfWell, will talk about the use of surf therapy to address the escalating mental health crisis in the UK emergency services.

●        Hugo Tagholm, CEO of the national marine conservation and campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

●        A dedicated panel will convene to discuss how surf therapy can be used to build trust with transgender people.

●        Founder and CEO of The Wave Project Joe Taylor and Executive Director of ISTO Kris Primacio will discuss the future of surf therapy globally, and advocate for greater use across Europe.

Bringing together changemakers in surf therapy from the UK and Europe, including pro surfers, scientists, researchers, non-profit organizations, policymakers, and volunteers — discussions will focus on the theme of Building Trust.

ISTO was founded in 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa, by 8-surf therapy programs worldwide. Today ISTO has 90-members from 6-continents, who all use surf therapy to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and trauma.

It will be the first time the organisation has met in Europe, with previous conferences held in California and South Africa. 

Joe Taylor, founder of The Wave Project and one of the founding members of ISTO, said:

“It is a real honour for us at The Wave Project to be hosting the global surf therapy community here in Cornwall to discuss how surfing can be extended as a form of therapy to more people around the world, and we’re so excited about the fantastic speakers who will be there at the event, which marks World Mental Health Day. We warmly invite members of the public to attend – with talks from pioneers in mental health, alongside fun workshops for everyone to get involved with, we hope there will be something for everyone at this event.”

Kris Primacio, Executive Director of ISTO, said:

“We are thrilled to have our first ISTO Conference in the UK hosted by The Wave Project; collaboration gives us the ability to reach a broader audience. By expanding venues, we fulfill our mantra that ‘we go farther together!’ It’s a tremendous opportunity to advance our common efforts and explore new ways of promoting surf therapy as an alternative form of treatment. Collectively, we have the power to make meaningful change.”

The Wave Project is the UK’s first surf therapy charity and a founding member of ISTO. Initially funded by the NHS as a pilot project in 2010, The Wave Project aims to improve the wellbeing and confidence of young people who face mental health issues or social exclusion – offering a dedicated six-week course of one-to-one surfing support followed by the opportunity to join a social club to progress surfing and train to become volunteer helpers and mentors.