Is it ever too late to start surfing? No. Can you learn to surf in you 60s? Sure. Because you only discover the true meaning of life when you catch your first wave and ride it to the beach.
Age is a state of mind. By now, you have probably heard that we reach our peak physical functioning and ability in our 20s and early 30s. No drama.
Technically, there is no reason why a 80-year-old man/woman can't paddle for a wave, catch it, and pop up easily. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to spot lifelong surfers in crowded lineups.
The process of becoming older is part of life, and it shouldn't hinder one from learning how to surf. Surfing is not an extremely physically demanding outdoor activity. You can ride waves in one-foot summer surf.
Aging produces several changes in our bodies, and we must understand them first before deciding if it is too late to take on the sport of kings. So, what happens to our physique as time goes by?
Believe it or not, we begin to lose the ability to hear high-frequency sounds - above 20 kH - in our teenage years. Between the 20s and 30s, a reduction in calcium leads to decreased bone mass, and we start losing cognitive abilities.
Then, from our 30s to our 50s, we gain weight, or hair falls, we lose two inches in height because disks between vertebrae start to shrink, and wrinkles and age spots begin to appear on our face and neck.
Between our 50s and 70s, we start losing weight, our hearing declines, the visual and auditory skills are no longer perfect, and our reaction times become slower. And as you become even older, your physical flexibility diminishes more or less drastically.
Fortunately, if you've just turned 80, and if you want to become a surfer, there might be good news for you. How can a man or woman in his late adulthood life still catch waves alongside young children?
The secret lies in food habits and regular physical activity. If you have a healthy diet and keep a long-term exercise routine throughout your adulthood, you'll be able to surf for life. So if you tick the following boxes, go surfing with a friend or relative:
1. Know how to swim;
2. Feel comfortable in the surf zone;
3. Have not been advised by the doctor to stay away from the ocean;
4. Can perform basic body movements;
5. Understand the fundamental rules of surf etiquette;
You will only need a good wetsuit, a longboard, a leash, and an experienced surf instructor. Start catching a few whitewater rollers, and progress into the small summer ripples.
The long list of famous veteran surfers includes John "Doc" Ball, LeRoy Grannis, Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, Woody Brown, Fred Van Dyke, Gwyneth Haslock, Albert "Rabbit" Kekai, John Kelly, Peter Cole, Eve Fletcher, Pedro Martins Lima, and many others.
No one expects a 90-year-old wave rider to be a competitive surfer. If he's out the back, he is just having fun and telling us it is never too late to grab a surfboard and learn how to walk on water.