By Ivor Traktor
Farming Correspondent (intern)
A surprising craze for tractor surfing has given elderly Suffolk farmers a new lease of life.
They have rigged up special surf boards attached to ploughs, and enjoy being whizzed around fields by tractors while getting the ploughing done at the same time.
Claire Rozier, activities organiser for the newly formed Brampton Old Farmers Club, said: “We wanted to try normal surfing, but pulling on a wetsuit can be very difficult for people suffering pitchfork elbow.
“After discussing the problem over a few pints down at the Racehorse pub in Westhall, we decided we could probably still surf when being towed behind a tractor.
“So we went to Brian’s farm and set it all up – and it’s been a huge hit. Old farmers from across Suffolk have been having a go, and there’s no reason this can not become a popular televised sport on Look East.”
The elderly farmers are still coming up with all the rules for their new sport.
But one popular variant involves five of them surfing at once – and seeing who is the last to fall off as the tractor goes ever faster.
There have been one or two minor injuries, including one farmer having his left leg cut off by the plough, but otherwise there are no health and safety concerns.
The Brampton Old Farmers Club treasurer Quench Cooper added: “Although the tractor we use has a 24-litre engine, the members are happy to use their winter fuel allowances to club together and buy the paraffin to run it.
“We also get some cash back because other local farmers have been contracting us to plough their fields while we enjoy ourselves.”
Invicta ‘Vic’ Ward, chairman of the new club explained: “There are good Young Farmers groups around, but once we reach the age of 65 they stop us joining in.
“Older farmers not only have more time available, but can share valuable skills such as repairing machinery with nothing more than an adjustable spanner and lump hammer.”
Future projects for the club are expected to include concertos, leather flagon making workshops, and having a tipple together at the winter solstice.
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