Eldad Rafaeli

Riding the Wave

How are waves formed? If you ask a scientist, she’ll say they’re the result of energy passing through water. If you ask the hundreds of boys and girls throughout Israel who participate in an inspiring social-sports movement, they’ll say that their wave is created when the power of nature meets the power of the human spirt.

My Wave, which began six years ago as an experimental program for youth at risk, uses surfing as both an educational tool and a catalyst for positive personal development. From its original group of ten teens, My Wave has grown into four busy surf centers along Israel’s coast, each of which challenges Israeli youth to discover the extent of their physical and mental abilities — and remain standing. If you ask the thousands of graduates who participated in the program, they’ll say that their experience of success on the water has profoundly changed their approach to life on land.

But My Wave isn’t only about self-empowerment. Through My Wave’s many educational programs and events, participants are exposed to the full spectrum of Israeli diversity, eventually becoming ambassadors for social equality and tolerance. It should come as no surprise, then, that almost 95 percent of My Wave participants not only complete high school, but also go on to participate in meaningful national service.

In other words, this is a wave that we as a society should try to catch — and ride all the way to the top.