Take two waves and call me in the morning: International Surf Therapy Organization brings ocean healing into the mainstream

by Ryan McDonald

Carly Rogers was told there was “no way” she would be able to pull it off. Jamie Marshall was told, “I don’t know what you’re going to do here.” And Joel Pilgrim was told that he was “just a surfer who wants to get paid to go surfing.”

The last one wasn’t entirely untrue. Pilgrim, the founder, and CEO of the Australia-based surf therapy charity Waves of Wellness, has spent more than two decades surfing. And it was his personal experience in the water that in 2016 led the mental health occupational therapist to launch an organization built around a belief in the healing power of the ocean.

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