If he wasn't standing on the Mount Maunganui beach, Peter Pickering would be doing something on his Katikati kiwifruit farm.
"There's always things to do," he said. It was easy to blur the lines of work and home.
Earlier this month, Pickering stood on the beach with surfers and farmworkers, ready to dive into his third surf session with Surfing for Farmers.
Pickering had lived in the Bay of Plenty his whole life and said this was the first time he had properly given surfing a go.
Skill level: rookie. But that was no problem as for everyone making use of the programme, it was more about getting off the farm than just standing up on a board in the water.
Gisborne-based AgFirst farm consultant Stephen Thomson came up with the idea for the programme in 2018 after watching documentary Resurface.
Mt Maunganui - Surfing for Farmers
Bay of Plenty - Surfing for Farmers is back after the christmas break this Thursday. Mount Maunganui- Banks Ave Every Thursdays Kick off at 5.30, with a second session at 6.30 for the late comers BBQ and refreshments afterwards Check out this video that our sponsors Zespri International had made up on week one. If you work on the land we are keen to see you in the waves. bring a neighbour with you! Any questions ring Stephen Thomosn on or Jack Dustin on 0278998007Posted by Surfing for Farmers on Tuesday, 14 January 2020
The documentary showed how surfing helped heal American war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Thomson, a keen surfer, grew up on a farm and working in the industry as a consultant thought it was fitting to share his release.
His pipe dream quickly turned into a pilot programme and has rolled out to Mount Maunganui and Canterbury.
There has been increasing focus on mental health in the farming sector in recent years, leading to the launch of Farmstrong in 2015 by the Mental Health Foundation, rural insurer FMG and the Movember Foundation.
It was designed to give farmers skills and resources for overall work and life wellbeing. During it's development, 47 per cent of 251 farmers surveyed wanted to know more about balancing work, family and getting time off the farm.
Head coach of Surfing for Farmers Jack Dustin, 24, was keen to get the programme up and running in Tauranga after he helped coach the pilot last summer.
He said he knew there was a need for something for farm workers in the Bay of Plenty region, which had a large number of farms.
"With the good surfing conditions, it was a bit of a no brainer to get it up here," he said.
The first session of 2020 could not have been better, and everyone got to their feet.
The coaches were locals who were passionate about the sport they picked up at different stages of their lives and became friends doing so.
"A lot of us surf ourselves, it's how we get away from work ... get away from stress, have a laugh," Sarah Hickey, one of the coaches said.
The boards and wetsuits were supplied free of charge by Mount Surf Academy and the just-as-important post-surf feed was donated by a local butcher.
Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty president Darryl Jensen said it was little things like this that made a big difference in the bigger picture of farmer wellbeing.
"It's getting farmers off of farms ... meeting other farmers to discuss issues and having a good time," he said.
"An issue talked about is an issue halved."
Just like a dip in the water on a hot day, Jensen said it may prove refreshing to share experiences and concerns to show they were not alone.
This, he said, could segue into new forms of problem-solving; collectively rather than in solitary.
"It's about being the ambulance at the top of the cliff, not the bottom."
Surfing for Farmers attracted people from all ages in Gisborne — from school leavers to people in their 60s and a mix of men and women, farmers, farm staff and farm support professionals.
Surfing for farmers is open to anyone in the farming and rural work industry, from out in the field to owners to administration.
It will run until the end of summer. Information can be found on the Surfing for Farmers Facebook page.