About Groundswell Scotland

We are a non-profit, woman centred organisation based in East Lothian and the Scottish Borders.

Our programmes are for all women – cis women and trans women as well as non binary people who are comfortable in a space that centres the experiences of women

Surf Therapy is ‘A method of intervention combining surf instructing, surfing and structured individual of group activities that promote psychological, physical and wellbeing’ (Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice)



Our purpose is to provide a women centred safe space to recover from trauma, gain confidence and unite in community. We provide surf therapy courses, 1 day  sessions and events where activities such as yoga, journaling and breath work are delivered alongside the art of surfing. 

All of our sessions are facilitated by trauma aware and qualified counsellors, community educators, beach lifeguards, surf coaches and volunteers.  We provide sustainable support throughout the year and a platform for participants to step into and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Established in 2018, we have provided 5 surf therapy programmes and annually 24 community surf sessions, 3 surf therapy retreat days and 2 day surf festivals. In 2021 we engaged face to face with 324  women with  2800 hours of engagement. In addition we ran two campaigns online -one in March on diversity and another in November on climate change engaging with an audience of 2800 through our social media channels.

On the beach

main activities

Our research-based surf therapy curriculum is rooted in trauma-informed, nature and community therapy models to support holistic and sustainable healing of participants. Our surf therapy programmes are 7 weeks, group based and participants are prepared in advance, potentially with 1-1 surf therapy session. The curriculum will include peer mentor volunteers that support participants 1-1 in and out of the surf.

Once the curriculum is finished, participants can access ongoing  community surf sessions and our surf festivals. Participants are encouraged to continue within Groundswell and out with making new friendships as well as having the opportunity to volunteer, train and lead as they are able to.

During each session we learn to use the following Curriculum modalities for sustainable emotional regulation:

  • therapeutic writing
  • breath work
  • groundings
  • surf journal, intention setting
  • yoga/ movement/ surf strength workout
  • surfing, surf safety and beach environment
  • waves of wisdom, sharing learning from the sea