Surfing and Volunteering in Peru

Surfing and Volunteering in Peru
July 5, 2009 Kaja Cencelj

400 boards. That’s what Global Surf Industries donated to a new surfer-run organization called WAVES for Development. WAVES for Development is less than a year old, but doing heaps for locals in Peru who might never have the chance to surf, even on waves right there for the taking. (Like the pretty “little” left shown here.)

So just what is WAVES for Development? In sum – it’s a nonprofit organization that connects surfing with sustainable development. It was started by surfers focused on development issues in Lobitos, Peru, with a goal of bringing surfers from up north down to Peru to teach surfing, and maybe teach English in the community, or some other kind of development work suggested by the local community. We recently caught up with one of the founders, Dave Aabo. Aabo is particularly stoked by the work and it shows with his passion for the project. He is working virtually full time on WAVES for Development down in Peru, catching waves, of course, but working on expanding the nonprofit’s footprint in Peru.

Says Aabo: “Call it Peace Corps, for surfers. WAVES for Development is offering surf programs that help at-risk youth gain an appreciation for the ocean that’s at their doorstep, while building confidence and having fun.”

Talk about a great way to do so Voluntourism, get some adventure, and catch some sweet Peruvian waves.

“The first big lift we got was from GSI, who donated the boards – a shipping container full, actually. But we also received tremendous support from the Peruvian Sporting Institute, which worked with Peruvian government officials to get the boards in easily,” says Aabo.

WAVES for Development has sent some 30 surfers to Peru, and is a concept that can be exported to other developping countries. They’ve gotten at least 150 local youth up and riding. Nice.

I’d bet at least one of our readers dumps the 9-5 grind and flipping burgers and heads to Peru to share the stoke and lend a hand. Yeah, you. You should go.

You’ll do some good, and get a great looking left!

Check out their site for more information at WAVES For Development.

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