Surfing for Farmers makes waves with biggest season yet


Farming is right up there when it comes to the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it can also be one of the most demanding. 

Surfing for Farmers is in its sixth year and is having its busiest season yet. Numbers have exploded around the country, and regions that had 20-30 surfers last season are up to 50 this season. 

Sarah Shanks, National Coordinator for Surfing for Farmers, says one of the biggest barriers is taking time out when the ‘to do’ list seems so long, but the benefits are worth it.  

“Taking a break to clear the head and untangle can give you the focus and energy to tackle the rest of the day.”

“It’s a low key, no pressure environment. We want our farmers and growers to feel comfortable from the moment they arrive. If they come down just for the BBQ, that’s great. If they go for a surf as well, that’s even better.”

Andrew Hardie, Fonterra Co-operative councillor for Hawke’s Bay, recently attended the Waimarama event in Northern Hawkes Bay. 

“I’d never picked up a surfboard before, but the instructor was very easy going and the atmosphere was friendly. I even managed to stand up on the board and ride for a couple of seconds!”  

For farmers who are on the fence about attending an event, Andrew says ‘just give it a go!’ 

“It’s a good time and a great stress release. You’ll meet new people and potential friends, and there are free snags and beers! Everyone is included, young, old, women, men, and if you want to come along and just watch – that’s no problem – you can flip a couple of burgers and have a drink.”  

Taking a break to clear the head and untangle can give you the focus and energy to tackle the rest of the day.

Sarah Shanks, National Coordinator, Surfing for Farmers

Rachael Anderson, Milk Quality Manager for Northland, is the local coordinator for Surfing for Farmers events in Sandy Bay, Northland. A surfer herself, Rachael knows the positive impact of getting out into the waves can have on someone.  

“The highlight for me is seeing farmers return each week and watching their progress over the season – the thrill of riding their first wave is just the best.”  

Rachael says Surfing for Farmers make the events easy and accessible for famers, “When farmers arrive, they’re fitted out with a wetsuit, given a board and surf lesson and then into the waves for an hour or so. They finish with burgers hot off the Farm Source BBQ and refreshments while debating who got the 'wave of the day'!   

Fonterra is proud to sponsor Surfing for Farmers, supporting the wellbeing of farming communities. The Co-operative is committed to caring for rural communities by improving access to wellbeing and resilience services for farming families. Along with Surfing for Farmers, the Co-operative is proud to partner with the Rural Support Trust. 

Surfing for Farmers runs until the end of March at locations around New Zealand. Find an event near you here: Surfing for Farmers