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Surfing For Farmers season wraps up with woollen surfboards giveaway

Twenty-three farmers from across the country will soon be hitting the waves on woollen surfboards as the lucky winners of a new competition run across the 2021/22 Surfing For Farmers season.

The surfboards – made from a new wool cloth sourced from New Zealand sheep – will be awarded to one lucky participant at each of the 23 Surfing For Farmers (“SFF”) locations around New Zealand.

The competition has been run by Rabobank, one of SFF’s premier sponsors. Representatives from the bank are announcing the surfboard winners at the season’s final SFF events during March.

Speaking earlier this week, Rabobank New Zealand Country Banking general manager Bruce Weir said every participant at an SFF event over the season has gone into the draw to win one of the surfboards.

“The first surfboard presentation was made at the final SFF event at Pukehina beach in the Bay of Plenty last week and the remainder of the boards will be presented to the winners at other locations over the next three weeks,” he said.

Launched in Gisborne in 2018, Surfing For Farmers encourages farmers to take a couple of hours each week to head to the surf to help better manage stress and improve mental health. The initiative has gone from strength to strength over recent years and more than 1000 farmers have attended events across the summer.

Mr Weir said the bank has been involved with the initiative since its inception and Rabobank staff have played key roles in supporting the sessions at locations up and down the country.

“Mental health is one of the key challenges facing rural communities, and in recent years we’ve teamed up with our Client Council network and other partners to develop a number of initiatives to help address this issue,” he said.

“We’re very proud to support the SFF programme and the fantastic work it’s doing to reduce farmers’ stress and improve well-being. The events are free and provide an opportunity for those new to the sport to receive lessons and tips from a qualified instructor. The sessions also provide farmers with a chance to relax, grab a bite to eat and get to know some of the other participants.”

Mr Weir said one of the key drivers behind the launch of the surfboard competition was the opportunity it provided to highlight just one of the amazing products that can be made from New Zealand wool.

“The wool industry in New Zealand has had a tough time over recent years, and as a food and agri banking specialist, we’re committed to playing our part to get it back on its feet,” he said.

The surfboards being given away rel="noopener noreferrer" have been developed by Barron Surfboards and are made from woolight – a new wool cloth which replaces the traditional fiberglass. The woolight product is also now being used in the construction of a whole range of other products including boats, kayaks, swimming pools and spas.

“We’re really proud to be giving away the woollen surfboards as they’re not only a great way to show our support for the wool industry, but they’re also much better for the environment,” Mr Weir said.

Surfing for Farmers Pukehina Surfboard presentation
Surfing for Farmers Pukehina Surfboard presentation
GM of Country Banking at Surfing for Farmers
General Manager of Country Banking, Bruce Weir, at Surfing for Farmers

In addition, he said, the surfboard giveaway would allow farmers to continue their involvement and progression with the sport.

“Over recent months I’ve headed down to a few of the SFF sessions at Ohope and Raglan and, from the discussions I’ve had with farmers in attendance, it’s pretty clear that a few of them have really got the surfing bug,” he said.

“I’m sure the boards will get plenty of use over the months ahead and that we’ll see the surfboard winners back to take part in the new SFF season later in the year.”

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of about 10 million clients worldwide through a network of close to 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the country's leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 32 offices throughout New Zealand.

Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 04 819 2711 or 027 477 8153

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +612 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525