The Ocean is The Way of Healing
We provide small-group research-based surf therapy programs for all who want to find healing, power, and belonging in mother ocean waves together. Along with learning how to surf, participants will engage in somatic embodied learning through mindfulness, mental health awareness and tools, ocean conservation, self-love, and community healing.
Meet Our Team
Our programs are hosted by two facilitators, a Surf Therapy Facilitator, which is a board-Certified therapist, and a Surf Safety Facilitator, a certified surf instructor who has gone through our Surf Therapy Training and Trauma-Informed Training, and their goal is to hold the utmost highest level of physical and psychological safety for all participants, in that way, they can dive deep in the waves, surf, wipe out and keep paddling out again
Jody Wilfong M.M., MT-BC
Surf Therapy Facilitator
Jody is the founder of Surf Therapy Santa Cruz and lead surf therapy facilitator; she received her Master's and Bachelor's of Music in Music Therapy from Michigan State University and is a Board-Certified Music Therapist. Jody currently provides music therapy to children and adults with varying diagnoses, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, neurodivergent populations, and addiction recovery. Experience in clinical music therapy work includes neuro-rehabilitation, emphasizing Neurologic Music Therapy, with which she published her thesis entitled “The Effects of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation [RAS] on gait training for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury.” Jody is also an active presenter of music therapy in-services and workshops nationwide. Her research interests include Psychoneuroimmunology and music imagery, palliative pain care management with music, the effects of expressive art forms on the body’s immune system, and of course, Surf Therapy.
Surf Therapy Facilitator
Kelsey Ellis, MA CCLS Kelsey is a child life specialist, certified grief counselor and surf therapy practitioner. Her background lies in facilitating expressive art therapeutic programs for trauma recovery. The ocean is her source of play, solace and inspiration. Collectively her professional and personal experiences have further fueled her passion for fostering community connection through creative programing. In 2020 National Geographic & Gal Gadot selected Kelsey to share her grief journey and healing found through surf therapy in IMPACT . The documentary shorts series is about young women who are making an extraordinary impact around the world. Since IMPACT, Kelsey has led Waves of Grief groups to over 150 people in grief over the last two years. She is a proud recipient of the Jefferson Award for creating change in her community through Waves of Grief. Most recently Kelsey was sought out to facilitate a Waves of Grief surf therapy program for the US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and his team. Kelsey truly believes that healing can be found through authentic expression, community engagement, and connection to mother ocean. wavesofgriefandlove.com
Lead Surf Therapy Safety Facilitator
Ryan was born and raised in Santa Cruz where he worked as a Junior Guards Instructor and lifeguard before surfing professionally.He's travelled the world as a sponsored surfer and has also competed on the Big Wave World Tour. Ryan is an Instructor and General Manager at Surf School Santa Cruz. He's supported other groups such as Waves of Impact and Ride a Wave.
Contact us for our upcoming
Group and 1:1 sessions.