WAVES of Development
By : Cynthia La Grou
What do you get when you mix sun, sand, surfers who have big hearts and passion for waves with adventure travelers and youth? Lots of excitement and smiles would definitely be the right answer, but at WAVES for Development, a little of each of these ingredients for adventure goes a long way.

If you've ever surfed, much of your time is spent observing ocean swells, predicting how they will break, and making sure you are in the right spot to catch an awesome wave. This metaphor is one of my favorites when it comes to not only spotting impactful cultural waves or trends - but going with the adrenaline rush (risk) to surf it.

WAVES for development has done a great job catching converging waves of change for both their local and affiliated global communities by connecting surfing and sustainable development through Educational Surf Programs for local youth and Adventure Voluntourism for visitors.

The idea for WAVES originated on the beaches of northern Peru in late 2004, when a group of international surfers shared a desire to help local youth with little resources enjoy surfing. Over the course of the next 3 years, WAVES formed a network over 30 dedicated individuals, organizations, and institutions in 10 countries. In 2006, Global Surf Industries committed to donating a shipping container of surfboards to be used in WAVES programming in Peru, which arrived mid-2007.

WAVES for Development Peru has also signed an agreement with the Peruvian Sports Institute and the Peruvian Surfing Federation to bring Educational Surf and Adventure Voluntourism programming to communities throughout Peru. They are currently offering Adventure Voluntourism and Educational Surf Programs in Lobitos, Peru.

If this sounds like fun, more information here. Based on your skills and experience you would contribute to the Educational Surf program as an instructor or assistant in areas such as: English and Arts, Earth Connection, Swimming and Surfing. This would include a home stay with a local family where meals are shared with other volunteers. The minimum commitment is 2 weeks and can be extended by 1 week increments. WAVES also encourages volunteers to organize fundraising activities to support the cost of their service.

Want to get certified in first aid during your stay? No problem. WAVES offers PADI ERF first aid training and certification to local community members and surf voluntourism participants. (Hey guys - PADI diving certification would be cool too.) Your trip may coincide with a surf competition, rock concert or beach cleanup.
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