Social issue

Ensuring the proper development of children and young people is the responsibility of the State and society, according to the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic. It is the Portuguese State itself that recognizes the inefficiency and insufficiency of the existing traditional responses. And by not effectively solving the problem it perpetuates the negative impact to which these populations are subjected to and consequently the implications and costs that this situation entails for society and the State.

Children and young people flagged as being at risk or in danger1
Children and young people in foster institutions2
Children and young people in juvenile detention centers3
All children and young people
x 250 MIL €
Social cost throughout life of a young person in foster care4

Thus, the need for intervention with this population is growing, but the increase in interventions offered to target this need has so far been insufficient. Intervention programs for children and young people in residential care can contribute to the reduction and prevention of recurrent problems in this population and to the development of healthy adults who are well integrated in society.


Thousands of children and young people in Portugal are subject to adverse and traumatic situations, with little access to integrated solutions, which could provide the necessary emotional support.


Lack of Emotional Support

Psychological challenge and social cost

Behavioural problems and social disintegration


Depression and frustration



Cycles of violence and negligence

Social cost


Promote the creation of positive references between children and mental health professionals/surfing instructors in order to foster regulating skills and contribute to healthy development.

Stimulating and challenging activity

Trained and/or specialised professionals

Creation of strong bonds

Social integration and breaking the cycle of violence and trauma


Positive identity development

Adoption of healthy behavioural models

Resilience and breaking the cycle of violence/trauma

Emotional sustainability


Action-Reflection Model

WAVE BY WAVE's intervention is based on the ARM – Action-Reflection Model, based on 3 blocks that complement and enhance each other

Fundamental principles of a therapeutic setting

In practice, we have transferred the fundamental principles of a group therapy setting to the beach, aiming for consistency, continuity, and predictability in the sessions.

The sessions always take place on the same day, at the same time, in the same place, with the same group of young people and adults, throughout a cycle.

By controlling these variables, we promote a sense of security and belonging. The consistent structure naturally leading to a child-led and flexible session

Multidisciplinary Team in Action-Reflection

There are moments of reflection before and after the session, as well as a weekly team meeting led by a clinical supervision team. This is in place to discuss cases and is essential to support the team, given the complexity of the work undertaken. ARM –the Action Reflection Model, is based on the circular idea that all actions, previously thought through, then subject to further reflection, lead to a growth process that will constructively impact the therapeutic actions and attitudes of the multidisciplinary technical team in surfing and mental health.

The Sea and Surf as therapeutic mediators

The Sea and Surf combined provide a multitude of challenging and restorative experiences throughout our sessions. In fact, there has recently been an increase in research supporting the physical, emotional regulation, relaxation and sensory-motor stimulation benefits of contact with the sea, confirming what we have witnessed since 2017. The sea is a powerful ally, facilitating the creation of relationships with positive adult role models - these bonds are essential agents of change in young people. Surfing as a controlled risk activity, allows young people to be taken out of their comfort zone, bringing to the surface the emotions that will be worked on during each intervention.

Assente nesta resposta de campo, baseia-se a relação com a instituição acolhimento e/ou encarregado de educação: articulação em proximidade e reunião bi-anual.

Esta relação é absolutamente fundamental para a implementação do trabalho terapêutico que procuramos realizar junto dos jovens. Encaramo-nos, simbolicamente, como uma extensão do trabalho que, todos os dias, estas equipas educativas e/ou encarregados de educação levam a cabo, permitindo fazer um trabalho em rede onde acreditamos estar também um dos nossos principais elementos diferenciadores.

Intervention triangle

Surf therapy response

Each child benefits from an “annual cycle”, including participation in an intervention throughout the school year and ideally also in a summer camp. The combination of these interventions is WbWs most effective response

Relationship with Institution

In addition to the meetings at the beginning and end of the year, there is ongoing contact and a close communication with the educational teams of the foster institutions or schools, in order to reflect and think together about the specific needs and strategies to better impact the life plan of each young person. This guarantees that the experiences the child/young person has on the beach and the reflections that arise from them, can be put to the service of the young person and their life plan, complementing the integral vision necessary for their healthy development.

Living Environment

One of the areas that distinguishes us as a project is support provided in the emotional crises of young people outside the Wave by Wave context, as well as a support network that promotes and/or facilitates processes in the path of each young person. Given the strength of many of the relationships that young people establish with adults at Wave by Wave, together with the technical teams the Foster Homes we have developed and operationalized our presence in children's lives.


Reduction of behavioral problems

(Main challenge diagnosed in residential care populations) – longitudinal impact assessment on observed disruptive and risky behavior changes.

Improved emotional regulation capacity and promotion of pro-social behaviors

Promotion of specific indicators such as autonomy, resilience, identity, self-esteem, through positive reinforcements and organizing limits.

Reduction of anxiety and depression rates

Link to a challenging activity that empowers and promotes indicators that are later reflected on in the hope of a return to healthy development processes.

Progressive social inclusion

Combating discrimination and promoting active citizenship, contributing to a more just and egalitarian society.

Raising awareness of the issue of protection of the ocean

Promotion of environmental values ​​and ecological sustainability.

Our surf


1. Relatório de Avaliação da Atividade – 2020 Comissões de Proteção de Crianças e Jovens

2. Relatório CASA 2020 Relatório de Caracterização Anual da Situação de Acolhimento das Crianças e Jovens: Instituto da Segurança Social

3. DGRSP – Relatório Estatístico Anual 2018: Assessoria Técnica à Tomada de Decisão Judicial (Relatórios e Audições) e Execução de Penas e Medidas nas áreas Penal e Tutelar Educativa