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www.parkworld-online.com Wavegarden


Ride Pofile


Living life in the moment B


Wavegarden is providing easier access to the physical and mental health benefits of surfing


asque pro surfer Aritz Aranburu is a big believer in the therapeutic effects of surfing. He has been riding waves since he was four years old and explains that it has kept him fit and healthy all his life. Back in 2012 he partnered with Almudena Fernandez and some close friends to create “Kind Surf,” a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to taking disadvantaged children and young adults surfing.


Positive impact


“Getting the kids into the water and on to waves has a super positive effect on their outlook, it’s a form of therapy,” explains Aritz. “We organie sessions at my surf school in Zarautz twice a week. As soon as they get in the water, their faces light up with huge smiles.” To the excitement of the “Kind Surfers,” Aritz teamed up with the crew at Wavegarden in the Basque Country to organize a surprise surf session at their private demo center. Wavegarden is an engineering company based in the north of Spain dedicated to the research, design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of wave-generating systems, as well as the construction and operation


AUTUMN PART 2 2020


of surfing lagoons. Their vision is to share the exhilarating experience of surfing perfect waves with everyone, everywhere.


“When they saw the first waves roll through, they didn’t ask how it was possible to have waves breaking amongst the mountains. They just ran into the water,” says Aritz. Over the course of the next hour, Aritz and his team of volunteers pushed the surfers into about eight to twelve waves each, three to four times more waves than they would catch in the ocean in the same period.


Pro surfers like Aritz have long known about the positive impact, both physical and mental, that surfing can provide.


Since 2003, Bethany Hamilton has used her love for surfing to overcome many challenges, achieve some unimaginable goals, and inspire millions of people along the way. “I think we can all be unstoppable,” says Bethany. “I have faced many challenges in my life, however my passion for surfing, along with my family and faith, has allowed me to overcome everything.” Safe for all


Over the past few decades, sports scientists have


started researching water-based healthcare and the findings are positive. A leader in this field is the “International Surf Therapy Organisation,” a global community of practitioners and researchers that collaborate to advance the use of surf therapy for healing. Their publications cover a wide range of topics including how surfing can improve the social skills of autistic children through to how surfing can help war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Similarly, John S Payne, mental health expert and author of “What My Eyes Have Seen,” agrees that there is a significant potential for healing by riding waves. “Surfing is a whole-body experience,” says Payne, “The feeling of the water washing over your body, the mindfulness of sitting on your board looking for a potential wave, it brings you into the “now,” taking your thoughts away from anything else and adding to your quality of life.”


Anyone who has ever surfed can testify that it is a physical sport. Paddling, duck diving, standing- up and riding waves provide a solid aerobic cardiovascular workout, exercising all major muscle groups - shoulders, back, arms, butt, legs and core. After just a few sessions, surfers notice an increase in


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