Wavegarden Scotland supports the world’s first PhD in ‘Surf Therapy’

Wavegarden Scotland is thrilled to be partnering with Jamie Marshall who will undertake the World’s First PhD in ‘Surf Therapy’.

Jamie, a surfer from East Lothian will seek to understand the theory adopted by a range of global organisations using surfing to combat challenges associated with mental health, disability, poverty and adverse environments.

Jamie Marshall

Wavegarden Scotland will join the International Surf Therapy Organization as principle partners of the project. Together they will support Jamie through to the completion of the doctoral degree at Edinburgh’s Napier University and in collaboration with the University of New South Wales.

The International Surf Therapy Organization is a collective of non-profits around the world using a structured approach to surfing, to better a person’s overall well-being and mental health.

International Surf Therapy’s Chief Executive Officer Kris Primacio, said:

“The International Surf Therapy Organization is thrilled to support Jamie Marshall and Edinburgh Napier in earning the world’s first PhD. in Surf Therapy.  Research such as this is vital in establishing our aim to promote Surf Therapy as an evidence-based and integrated approach to healthcare, prescribed and practiced with excellence globally.”

The research will involve working alongside a range of organisations utilising surf therapy. One such organisation is Waves for Change based in South Africa and Liberia. The award-winning organisation uses surf therapy to support young people overcoming challenges associated with living in townships and post conflict environments.

Waves for Change Founder Tim Conibear, said:

“Waves for Change are delighted to be able to work alongside Edinburgh Napier on this original research. The development of a rigorous evidence base is integral to supporting our work and the positive impact we have across communities in Africa.”

Despite not being associated with surfing, Scotland has a history of excellence regarding surf therapy. Jamie comes to Edinburgh Napier from The Wave Project; a charity that helps young people improve their emotional health and resilience through an evidence-based programme of surfing and mentoring.

The Wave Project, founded in 2014 supports and helps around one hundred young people per year. Run mainly by volunteers, The Wave Project works with vulnerable young people in locations across the UK.

Nicholas Perdomo, a veteran who Jamie has worked with and supported with Surf Therapy said:

“Surf therapy has given me a sense of community, to be a part of something greater. Life was small and I had trouble connecting with anyone, now I have an avenue to be with others walking the same path. I am grateful that I have found this new way of life and delighted to support Jamie’s research as he brings community and surf therapy to others around the world.”

Andy Hadden, founder of Wavegarden Scotland said:

“Wavegarden Scotland is thrilled to be partnering with Edinburgh Napier and Jamie Marshall on this exciting project. At the heart of our work is innovation and so it was an easy decision to get involved with such an exciting approach to health and social outcomes related with surfing, both here in Scotland and around the world.”

“A very exciting aspect of Wavegarden Scotland is the opportunity to nurture surfing and sporting talent. With Scotland’s own surfing team starting to make a mark on the global surf scene, we hope to inspire the next generation of surfers, life guards, and active outdoor enthusiasts who can all benefit from the mental and physical aspects of surfing in Scotland.”

The PhD commenced in July of this year with a project finishing date of June 2021.