As we look forward to 2022, we couldn’t be more proud and excited for Yvette Curtis and her Wave Wahines CIC. As you know, Wave Wahines CIC is one of the community projects that we support here at the school. It’s a club that empowers women and girls of all ages through surf and ocean therapy. Our surf coaches Karma Worthington and Aliyah Curtis plus several other members of our team, are proud to provide the surf instruction.
Vision For Change.
It’s now over five years since we first met Yvette and during that time we’ve seen this amazing woman achieve fantastic success. Not only has she increased surfing participation in women and girls of all ethnicities here in North Devon but in the UK as well. Her focus on community, passion for justice and long term vision for a fairer world, has touched the lives of many. We’re incredibly grateful to her for her drive, wisdom and dedication.
Yvette Curtis at the ISTO Conference
Back in October 2021 Yvette was asked to speak at the International Surf Therapy Organisation’s Conference in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. To this day, it is still one of the most poignant talks we’ve ever witnessed. Speaking to a packed room of UK specialists and an online global audience of therapy professionals, Yvette held the room in awe.
Surfing Away From Trauma
Entitled, Surfing Away From Trauma, Yvette opened her talk by distributing shell and sea glass from litter picks at Croyde. We were asked to focus on our item and pour our emotions into it. She then conducted a “I choose to be present” breathing exercise to help induce calm and focus. She also asked that if people would like to show support for her talk, they send a ‘Wave of Support” with their energy rather than clapping. It was the most beautiful start to a presentation and full of Aloha spirit.
The presentation continued with an introduction to the work that Wave Wahines are doing focusing on community, diversity and ocean therapy. Yvette described why the ocean is such a wonderful force in the healing of trauma.
She commented, “The sea forces you to be in the moment. Your mind can’t overthink because your survival depends on you being in the now. It releases you from both the fear of the past and of the anxiety of the future. In this way, the sea becomes your space of safety.”
The most moving sections of the presentation involved stories of the Syrian refugee girls. Passionate about increasing diversity in surfing, Yvette had been given the opportunity to help twelve young Syrian girls aged between 7 and 12. For many of the girls it was their first experience of being in the ocean. The sessions proved transformational and there are now plans to introduce other programs in 2022. The intent is to enable women and girls of all ethnicities and locations to access the freedom of the surf.
North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA)
Another moving topic in Yvette’s talk was her work with the charity NDADA
“Gosh, I feel the rest of my life is worth something now ….. “
“I feel like you have given me control back …. you are changing lives here!”
These are just a few quotes by North Devon Against Abuse participants after their first experience of surfing here.
Yvette explained why she had always wanted to work with the team at North Devon Against Domestic Abuse. She said, “I fundamentally believe in the power of the ocean to calm the mind and help the trauma recovery process. I knew it would be an amazing force of good for these women.”
Having run a three week pilot surf program, Yvette saw a positive change in all the women taking part. Surfing gave these women a safe space to heal, a feeling of increased control of their own lives, a supportive community they could trust and most of all, a reason to smile! She knew she had to make the surf sessions a permanent fixture.
To do this, all future sessions are now dependent on Yvette’s Go Fund Me page. So, if you’d like to make a difference to these women’s lives too, please make your donation and spread word as best you can.
Yvette’s presentation concluded with her hopes and dreams for the future. We can’t wait to see where life takes Yvette in the next five years and we know that we will always want to support her.
Yvette Curtis at The Blue Wave Summit.
The Blue Earth Summit in Bristol was another event where Yvette was keen to meet with other empowering women and individuals making a positive difference to this planet. One important meeting was with keynote speaker, Amira Patel. Amira is the founder of the Wanderlust Women’s Group which is an adventure and hiking group for Muslim women. Amira hopes her work will break down the barriers and stereotypes of the niqab as well as misconceptions of Muslim women. As you might expect, Yvette and Amira made a strong connection and we very much look forward to welcoming Amira to Croyde in the near future.
Yvette Curtis and Groundswell Community Project
A full winter program of land based Wave Wahines activates has kept Yvette busy but she’s not stopped there. Yvette’s always keen to develop her knowledge to enable her to support even more of those around her. Having completed her Groundswell Community Project Level Surf Therapy qualification, she has now completed their level 2 facilitator training. This enables her to deliver surf therapy using Groundswell’s tried and tested, research-based curriculum.
Groundswell England and Wave Wahines will now be working closely together in 2022.
To be kept up to date with all of Yvette’s news, please pop over to www.wavewahines.co.uk or follow them on insta @wave_wahines.