Our Mission

WAVES for Development believes that surf travel should benefit the people and the communities where it happens. We connect the dots between volunteering, traveling to surf, community-based tourism and grassroots initiatives. Our mission is to inspire world travel and cultural exchange through surf experiences.









Our Story

As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt public non-profit, we have close to 10 years experience in this area of sustainable surf trips that give back through volunteering. 

The idea for WAVES originated on the beaches of northern Peru in late 2004, when a group of educated local and international surfers shared a desire to help local youth with little resources enjoy surfing. 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.


Over the course of the next 3 years, WAVES formed a network of individuals, organizations, and institutions. In 2007, thanks to Global Surf Industries, and signed partnerships with the Peruvian Sports Institute and the Peruvian Surfing Federation, a shipping container of surfboards arrived in Peru. After a two-week pilot program in February of 2008, WAVES launched ongoing Surf Voluntourism and Educational Surf Programs in Lobitos, Peru that November. Since transferring management to locals in Northern Peru in 2014, opportunities for expansion have presented themselves to WAVES International.


WAVES now helps connect the dots between travelers, surf related grassroots initiatives and community members in Peru, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Others partnerships are on the way; Stay tuned!

The Surf Voluntourism Movement

wave for development voluntourism

Surf Voluntourism is a different way to travel. Combining travelers’ passion to see the world with their desire to make a different is possible with WAVES. Our volunteers contribute to community service activities while doing what they love: Surfing!


In addition, these surf travelers provide coastal communities and their youth with a source of intercultural exchange and camaraderie through their involvement in educational surf activities making for a brighter future.

What do we believe in?

  • Water

    Through adventure & water sports, locals develop a special relationship with the sea applying conservation activities in their daily lives.

  • Adventure

    Through surfing, locals build confidence, stay healthy and foster meaningful relationships while enjoying the coast.

  • Voluntourism

    Volunteers contribute to community service activities while enjoying doing what they love: surfing!

  • Education

    WAVES helps coastal communities create educational opportunities for youth using their natural environment.

  • Sustainability

    WAVES believes sustainability contains 4 aspects: ecological, social, political, and economic.

Our Chapters

WAVES for Development has three main ‘offices’ around the world.

WAVES International

Umbrella Organization

WAVES International is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt public charity that oversees the brand, recruiting and selection of travelers/volunteers.


Direct Service Provider

WAVES was born on the beaches of northern Peru in late 2004. Since then, we’ve successfully set up a local team to host and run our main surf volunteer trip.

WAVES Switzerland

Fundraising & Outreach

Though there are no waves for surfing in Switzerland, WAVES has a chapter hosting local events to fund raise and spread awareness.

Share the stoke, support WAVES.

Help us to create life-enriching experiences in coastal communities through Educational Surf programs. Your donations help support the team and this infrastructure for giving back.