A surf therapy initiative which is helping improve mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand rural communities is set to return at beaches across the country. Surfing for Farmers is back for its fourth season across 21 locations this summer. 

Launched in Gisborne in 2018 by Stephen Thomson, thousands of farmers around the country have taken part in the initiative. The programme gives farmers and growers the opportunity to step away from what can be all-consuming business, get out on the water for a surf, enjoy a barbeque and share stories with others in the rural community. 

All equipment and coaching is provided free of charge.

“As we approach the kick off of our fourth season, we are excited to be back, bigger and better than last year,” Thomson says. 

“Over the winter months everyone has been busy organizing all the logistics in the background. It’s amazing to see the growth of Surfing for Farmers running in 21 locations all over New Zealand coastlines.” 

Mental health of those in the rural community continues to be an issue. 

“It’s been heartening to get such positive feedback from farmers and growers who tell us what a difference getting off the farm and into the surf can make.” 

Surfing for Farmers is supported by premium sponsors Ballance Agri-nutrients, Bayley’s, NZ Beef & Lamb, Meridian Energy, Jarden and Rabobank. Thomson is keen to see numbers grow even further this summer. 

“We hope our regulars will pick up a neighbour and bring them down – and for first timers – come and have a go.“ 

More? Visit www.surfingforfarmers.com