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Who is WAVES?

WAVES for Development believes that surf travel should benefit the people and the communities where it happens.

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WAVES creates life-enriching experiences in coastal communities through Education initiatives that develop youth into healthy & empowered adults and Surf Voluntourism that engages travelers & transforms their views of the world and themselves.

WAVES originated on the beaches of northern Peru in late 2004, when a group of local and international surfers came together out of a shared desire to teach local youth the joys of surfing. Over the next three years, these surfers developed a Google Group to form a global network of more than 30 dedicated individuals, organizations, and institutions. Each one had stories to tell of the stoke, culture, and richness that they had observed during the course of their travels in Peru. They dreamed of building consciousness into the surf travel experience, and empowering local surf communities.

In 2007, Global Surf Industries sent a shipping container of surfboards to be used in WAVES programming. After a couple two-week pilots, WAVES launched their year-round programming in Lobitos, Peru. Executive Director Dave Aabo had led the organization’s efforts since the beginning, and is currently in the process of expanding program offerings to additional destinations.

WAVES for Development International is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt public charity registered in the state of New York. Additionally, WAVES for Development is a formalized not-for-profit association in Peru and Switzerland. WAVES for Development Peru signed an agreement with the Peruvian Sports Institute and the Peruvian Surfing Federation to bring Educational Surf and Surf Voluntourism programming to communities throughout Peru.

The WAVES acronym

Water – WAVES believes that access to and conservation of water is a necessity for the future of humanity. 1.1 billion people around the world suffer from inadequate access to clean water. Through adventure sports, WAVES’ participants develop a special relationship with the ocean, one that is easily applied to conservation activities in their daily lives.

Adventure – WAVES believes adventure is more than just an adrenaline rush. By strapping on leashes and surfing, participants build confidence, stay healthy and foster meaningful relationships while enjoying the natural environment. Adventure sports typically have high entry costs. WAVES offers disadvantaged youth access to these sports, making adventure part of their personal and social development.

Voluntourism – Combining travelers’ passion for surfing with their desire to serve is possible with WAVES’ Surf Voluntourism initiative. Volunteers contribute to community service activities while enjoying the adventure sport (surfing) they love. In addition, these voluntourists provide surf communities and their youth with a source of intercultural exchange and camaraderie through their involvement in educational surf activities.

Education – WAVES believes that knowledge is empowering. The future success of communities depends on today’s youth and the education they access. Nowhere is education more important than in the world’s poorest communities. WAVES helps coastal communities use their natural environment to create educational opportunities for youth, encouraging them to become confident, responsible leaders of tomorrow.

Sustainability – WAVES believes sustainability contains 4 aspects: ecological, social, political, and economic. Ecological sustainability is the use of, impacts on, and implications for the natural environment. Social sustainability is the initial community participation of the project, the impact on their culture and their willingness to carry it into the future. The political sustainability explores the politics of the destination and other accountability issues of the project. The economic sustainability explores the impact of the money that exchanges hands.

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