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Surfing for rural mental health

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An initiative aimed at helping to improve mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand rural communities is hoping to ride a growing wave of support and get more farmers on board.
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Stephen Thomson | December 02, 2020 from GlobalHQ on Vimeo.

Launched in Gisborne in 2018, Surfing for Farmers is a learn-to-surf programme that provides an opportunity for farmers to step away from the farm for an hour or two and get some fresh air and exercise, while interacting with other farmers, rural families and industry professionals.

The initiative will run on a variety of weekday evenings for about 13 weeks this summer at surf beaches around the country.

There are 16 regions involved and spokesperson Jack Dustin says it’s hoped about 3000 farmers will get involved, a far cry from the 25 who attended the first meeting two years ago.

Those taking part are provided with a surfboard and wetsuit, and lessons are free.

Local boardrider clubs or surf schools provide gear and coaching, and the surfing session is followed by a free barbeque, where participants have a debrief about the session and general catch-up.

Dustin paid tribute to the voluntary surf coaches involved and their passion for surf therapy and wanting make a difference in their communities.

More details are available on the group’s Facebook page.

Suffering from depression or stress, or know someone who is? Where to get help:



LIFELINE: 0800 543 354

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