Adapted surfing as a tool to promote inclusion and rising disability awareness in Portugal


Adapted surfing as a tool to promote inclusion and rising disability awareness in Portugal

Journal of Sport for Development

Adapted surfing is an outdoor activity that takes place in naturally and constantly moving water and appears innovative compared to other traditional adapted sports (such as swimming or sailing). It has a wide approach that covers several areas of occupational performance10 (ADL´s – activities of daily living; education/work; play, leisure and social participation) as well as various physical, sensorial and psychosocial skills.

Surfing can play a significant role in the lives of people with disabilities by promoting physical well-being, combating discrimination, building confidence, as well as playing an important role in the rehabilitation process. Adapted surfing is a complete, integral, therapeutic and inclusive activity due to its diverse features associated with performance in areas of occupational performance, performance skills and also different environmental contexts.

We can identify four major factors that focus on the intervention through surfing: aquatic environment; environment – individual interaction; individual – coach/therapist interaction; and also group interaction.

Since 2012, the Portuguese Association of Adapted Surfing – SURFaddict,® pioneered showcasing the value of surfing as an important therapeutic tool for people with various disabilities. Data was collected between May 2012 and December 2013. Nowadays surfing is finally being regarded as highly important not only by surfers, therapists and social workers but also by the general public and a number of politicians as a useful instrument for social inclusion in Portugal.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


Article type



Journal of Sport for Development




J.T. Lopes


Monday, July 13, 2015 - 02:00