Our Impact

Operation Surf has had a profound impact on participants. Veterans who surf with us experience healing from emotional wounds and a renewed sense of possibility and self-confidence.

How do we know?

As a results-driven organization, we believe in gauging the effectiveness of our programs through scientific research and studies. 

Read on to see what a difference Operation Surf’s programs make, and why it’s so important to keep them going.

Numerous research studies are underway to evaluate the effects of participating in Operation Surf’s programs. As these studies are completed, we will post them on this page.

Blue Mind is landmark best-selling book by marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols on the remarkable effects of water in all of its shapes and forms on our health and well-being.

“Watching these vets in the water is something else. There’s a sense of achievement that destroys their perceived limitations, lifts their self esteem, brings them together with others like themselves, and rebuilds their psychological strength.”  Wallace J. Nichols, Author of Blue Mind

The Impact of Ocean Therapy on Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Dr. Russell Crawford’s book, “The Impact of Ocean Therapy on Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,” suggests that surf therapy offers an alternative form of nature-based therapy that could potentially be effective for treating veterans with PTSD.

His research on the Operation Surf program showed that participants experienced:


A 36% decrease in PTSD symptoms


A 47% decrease in depression


A 68% increase in self-efficacy

These beneficial effects may lead to higher self-esteem, strengthened coping skills, and lower rates of suicide.

“Other groups focus on providing a fun experience surfing, whereas Operation Surf focuses on creating a positive therapeutic experience that continues to positively impact the participant for life.” – Dr. Russell Crawford

Program Testimonials

“This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Lifetime memories and bonds were made. This wasn’t just a surfing trip, for me this was a group of people fighting individual battles coming together, sharing experiences and unconditional love. I’m leaving with more confidence in myself than I came with.”

Allan W.

Operation Surf Participant

“I am so grateful and humbled to have had the experience and met the people I have met. The healing powers of the ocean should never be taken lightly or for granted. This experience changed me, and I couldn’t be more thankful than I am right now!” 

Luz T.

Operation Surf Participant

“I had decided to check surfing off my bucket list and after I got back I was going to kill myself. While I was at Operation Surf there was this sense of peace that came over me and I realized my life wasn’t mine to take. If something like surfing can bring peace to my life then I should live on and try to help as many other veterans as possible.”

Bobby L.

Operation Surf Participant