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Lawyers get ready to wax up and hang ten

19 October 2017 - By Nick Butcher

Being a lawyer can be a stressful job and many lawyers have recreational interests that are far removed from the office environment.

In Dunedin barrister, Alison Douglass has taken time out from a busy practice for many years by climbing some of the world's most challenging mountain peaks.

But where the mountains meet the sea, there is a growing number of lawyers who like to surf the ocean’s waves.

A group of lawyers with surfboards

It’s that interest which has prompted lawyers in Gisborne to organise a national competition to be held at Easter next year.

Adam Simperingham is a partner at the Gisborne law firm, Woodward Chrisp and has been practising law for over 20-years.

The 47-year old had never been surfing until he moved to the sunny east coast but caught the bug once he got a whiff of the ocean at his door step.

As Adam got more involved in the waves, it turned out there was a fraternity of lawyer surfers in the region.

“Hell yeah, there are many who surf. You know, if we all lived in Wanaka, we would all probably ski,” he says.

Mr Simperingham says surfing can and does help live a balanced life.

“Definitely. You’re dealing with stress, disputes, conflict and crime whereas with surfing you’re dealing with nature and there’s the physical outlet to it. I think having some sort of physical activity that gives you a buzz is essential to practising well as a lawyer,” he says.

During Easter 2018, on 31 March and 1 April, the New Zealand Lawyers Easter Surfing Festival will take place in Gisborne at Makorori Beach.

The Gisborne Board riders Club are backing the 2018 event and while it’s a competition, the main objective is to get lawyer surfers of all levels involved and on the water.

Kelly Ryan is the region’s Surfing Development Manager and is part of the organising team.

“We know there are lawyers who surf throughout the country and we want to get them involved. It’s as serious as you want to make it. The most important part is taking part in the event,” he says.

Ryan is also a former National Longboarding surf champion.

Gisborne Board Riders Club is affiliated with Surfing NZ. The Club holds both Public Liability and statutory liability insurance. The Gisborne Boardriders Club is also covered by ThinkSafe NZ and has a comprehensive and regularly monitored health and safety policy. All contestants will sign an online waiver upon entering. For further details go to the Gisborne Board Riders Club website.

Further details on the New Zealand Lawyers Easter Surfing Festival will be in November's LawTalk magazine.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019