The importance of ‘green spaces’ for mental health is a well-documented phenomenon. But have you heard about blue? Pan-European research initiative ‘Blue Health’ launched an investigation into the effect of ‘blue spaces’ on health from 2016 to 2020. They found something incredible: “A greater exposure to blue spaces correlates with improved mental health, wellbeing and more physical activity” (Dr Mireia Gascon). Even more intriguing, blue spaces have the edge over green because of water’s uniquely psychologically restorative effect.
Recognised by the NHS and prescribed by doctors to children in the UK, surf therapy has become an established form of therapeutic support in the UK. Spending time in nature, especially in these ‘blue spaces’, is proven to reduce the production of stress hormones, cortisol, and epinephrine. This, combined with the benefits of physical activity and the satisfaction of learning a new skill, makes surfing an unconventional and exciting new method of treatment.
Kuda Villingili is collaborating with UK-based charity, The Wave Project, to bring surf therapy to the one of the most beautiful blue spaces in the world: the Maldives. In this latest initiative, families with children of all ages are encouraged to visit the tropical archipelago and participate in a thrilling three-day surf programme. Designed by The Wave Project and carried out by Kuda Villingili’s dedicated water sports team, they hope that the experience will bring families together.
Whilst the Maldives is celebrated for its crystal-clear waters and bright-white beaches, its potential as a surfing hot-spot is often overlooked. Kuda Villingili is, in fact, one of the best located resorts in the Maldives for surfers. Mere moments away from the famed Chicken’s Break, the long, lively left can hold swells from 3ft to well over 10ft and provide wave rides up to an impressive 500m long.
Deepa Manuel, General Manager of the resort commented: “We were so moved by The Wave Project’s ethos, we felt it was absolutely the right charity to partner with. Our idyllic location close to one of the most beautiful spots in the world for surfing sets a positive precedent for exploring and nurturing mental wellbeing between families, as well as introducing guests to the wonderful world of surfing.”
‘Through the power of surf, we have quite literally seen young lives transform” says Joe Taylor, CEO and Founder of The Wave Project – the world’s first surf therapy course funded by a government health service. “Evidence continues to grow that getting in the sea, surfing and having fun in the water makes a measurable difference to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.”
The resort will also be donating £100 per family booking between April – October to The Wave Project in order to support the valuable work they do in the UK.