WAVES for Development has grown from an idea to reality over the last few years. In March of 2007, WAVES for Development Peru registered as a not-for-profit organization in Peru. A few months later, a generous donation of 400 surfboards from Global Surf Industries arrived. Partnerships with the Peruvian Sports Institute (IPD) and Peruvian Surfing Federation (FENTA) led to WAVES' presence and soft launch at the first-ever Women's World Championship Tour event in Peru – Mancora Peru Classic, as well as, the implementation of a two-week pilot program in early 2008.
During the February 17th - March 1st pilot project in Lobitos, Peru, 38 at-risk youth and 13 volunteers from 6 countries participated in swimming and surf lessons in conjunction with English and Environmental Conservation classes. The English classes, taught by volunteers, incorporated arts & crafts and surfing vocabulary into the lessons. In conservation classes youth planted seeds and collected trash from the beach while learning new information such as the length of time it takes for garbage to decompose. For many local youth, it was their first time in the water with instructors and surfboards.
Youth participated in swimming lessons taught by instructors in a natural pool repaired by the volunteers. The skills learned range from flotation and breath control to the introduction of the breast and crawl strokes. Monitored by volunteers, participants who demonstrated adequate levels of swimming ability were able to participate in surfing lessons.
Surf instruction began out of the water, where the youth learned about water safety and practiced proper technique. After warming up, beginners entered the water with instructors to catch their first waves. Youth with surfing experience teamed up with volunteers to practice and enjoy the waves together in a supportive atmosphere.
Based on the success of the Lobitos Pilot Project, WAVES has worked with the community of Lobitos to plan two new programs. A two-week Educational Surf program will be offered in late July, coinciding with school vacations. The second program will begin in October with a two-week launch period followed by ongoing programming, in coordination with the local school, through the end of the academic year in December.
For those who want to serve and surf on a real adventure, WAVES is offering a 3½ week Peruvian Surfari from Lima to Lobitos and back. The trip offers you the opportunity to surf the best waves along the Peruvian coast, including 2 weeks serving as a volunteer in WAVES Educational Surf Program in Lobitos. You can reserve your spot on the trip through travel operator Earth Sessions. A two-week Lobitos-based opportunity is also available.
July 20 – Aug 13th, starting and ending in Lima
July 27 through Aug 9, starting and ending near Lobitos in Talara