The award-winning farmer mental health and recreation programme Surfing for Farmers is about to paddle out for a fourth season.
Founder Stephen Thomson says everyone involved is excited to be back again “bigger and better than last year”.
Surfing for Farmers is an ocean therapy initiative that is helping improve mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand rural communities. It’s a chance for farming family members and staff to escape for an hour or two from the stresses of weather, farm finance bottom lines and government regulations and just enjoy a very different environment.
Stephen kicked it off in Gisborne in 2018 and now the programme has been replicated in 21 locations around New Zealand.
The initiative runs for approximately 13 weeks, on a weekday evening at regional surf beaches. Those taking part are provided with surfing gear (wetsuits, surfboards) and lessons free of charge. Local boardrider clubs or surf schools provide gear and coaching and the programme has a strong focus on providing a safe and supportive environment. After each session is followed by a free barbeque where participants ‘debrief’ about the session and enjoy a catch-up.
“It’s amazing to see the growth of Surfing for Farmers over the past year. All of this is thanks to the many volunteers who are all trying to do a something to help our rural communities,” Stephen says.
“A huge thank you to everyone that’s already put their hands up to help out.”
Surfing for Farmers won the Team Award at the Primary Industries NZ Summit earlier this year, with judges noting: “For most farmers it is their first time on a surf-board. Steven says when farmers come out of the water, it’s like a reset for them.”
Find out more – here.
The 4th season for Surfing For Farmers is already underway at some beaches. Most regions are running a few evenings before the Xmas break and kicking back off mid Jan 2022. Please contact your region’s head coordinator for more info.
Northland – Sandy Bay
12th January 5:30pm, Calvin Ball m: 027 223 2894 or Ryan Baxter m: 0272859075
• Northland -Waipu Cove
13th January 5:30pm, Ryan Baxter m:0272859075 or Calvin Ball m: 027 223 2894
• Coromandel -Paunui – top of Mt Vista
Wednesday 10th November 4:30pm, Seth Roe: 027 230 6937
• Waihi Beach -(north end surf club)
Tuesday 7th December 5:30pm, Mike Meade: 027 659 0661
• Mt Maunganui -Corner of Banks and Marine Parade
Thursday 2nd December 5:30pm, Geoff Waite: 027 601 4444 &
Sarah Hickey: 027 554 9257
- Pukehina Beach
Thursday 2nd December 5:30pm, Boyd Harris: 027 341 4439
• Raglan – Ngarunui Beach
Wednesday 24th November 5:30pm, Matte Kirk: 027 222 2403
• Ohope -West End Ohope
Tuesday 1st November 5:30pm, Phil Williams: 027 499 5605
• Kaiaua Beach
Wednesday 24th November 5:30pm, Matt Jefferd: 027 499 9205
• Gisborne -Midway Beach (surfclub)
Tuesday 7th of December 5:30pm, Stephen Thomson: 021 450 6531
• Taranaki -Fitzrory Beach
Tuesday 7th of December 5:30pm, Dean File 021 544 364
Mark Dwyer: 021 528 263
• Opunake Beach
Thursday 2nd december 5:30pm, Simon: 027 458 7123
• Northern Hawkes Bay -Waimarama Beach
Thursday 25th November, Tim Wynne-Lewis: 027 488 9719
• Central Hawkes Bay
Wednesday 8th December at Pourerere Beach 4pm, 15th December at Porangahau Beach 4pm , Andy Lee: 027 354 8608
• Wairarapa – Riversdale Beach (surf club)
Thursday 2rd December 5:30pm, Richard Moore: 021 313 877
• Marlborough / Kaikoura -Ward beach, Okiwi Bay or Kekerengu River mouth
Thursday 9th of December, Henry Ryan: 027 868 2862
• North Canterbury, Gore Bay
Thursday 2nd December 6.30pm, James Northcote: 027 216 6822
• Sumner beach
Tuesday 7th December 6:15pm, Sandra Taylor: 021 151 8685
• Oamaru -Kakanui Beach
Wednesday 8th December 6:00pm, Alfie Broughton: 021 247 8542
• Kaka Point
Wednesday 15th December 5:30pm, Paul Richardson: 027 477 4106
• Dunedin – Brighton or Ocean view beach
Thursday 16th December 4:30pm, Becs Cameron: 027 366 9275
• Southland – Riverton Rocks or Monkey Island Beaches
25th November 6pm, Colac Bay, Tom Slee: 021 2257 067
Katrina Thomas: 027 485 4395