Farmers’ surfing opportunity

by Ann van Engelen

Farmers of all types across the Selwyn region and beyond are invited to learn to surf as a therapeutic way to get off-farm, relax, make new friends and gain a skill away from everyday life.

“The farmers’ initiative was started by farm consultant and surfer Stephen Thomson in Gisborne, and a few of us thought we should try and get something similar started here in Canterbury,” says coordinator Sandra Taylor.

“He saw a documentary on how the American Armed Forces Post Traumatic Stress sufferers were introduced to the sport, and it totally changed their lives. The initiative here is about providing farmers with an opportunity to get together and have fun, well away from the farm. While it is a fun sport to try, it is something completely different for most farmers and when you are in the water that is all you are thinking about.

“I am not a surfer, but I am an open water swimmer and know full well the mental health and physical benefits of getting into saltwater. Salt air is known to help clear mind.”

The group are hoping to begin in early December and are looking at Sumner Beach and Gore Bay after work during the week depending on demand.

“It is a good time for staff, wives, partners and families to have a break together.

“Saltwater is very healing, and when you are trying something new, you are not thinking about anything else. It is a good way to connect with other people and make new friends. At this stage, we are gauging interest and have professional surf instructors keen to be involved, so we just need farmers and some local sponsors.”

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