Am I Too Old To Learn How To Surf?

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In almost every case the answer to this is a resounding No!

I know people who have taken up surfing later in life, in their 40's, 50's and 60's. This year, I would like to see if I can get my father-in law up on a surfboard and he's in his 70's. I've had people who are only in their 30's say to me that they are too old too surf. You can learn to surf if you are fit. There is only one letter separating fit from fat and I know from experience that fat has more to do with the ability to learn how surf than a person's age.

I seldom hear the question, “Am I too fat to surf?” I would much rather help a fit 60 year old man or woman to surf than a big fat 25 year old guy. You might think that at 25 years of age, youth will simply be on the side of the younger individual. One of the biggest hurdles to learning how to surf is fitness, rather than age. A fit 60 year old is going to have a better chance of having a successful first surf lesson than the fat 25 year old.

Surf Fitness

  • Paddling: Paddling plays such a huge role in surfing. If you are gasping for breath and laying prone on your surfboard because you are too tired after 10 minutes of being out in the water, this is going to be difficult for you.

  • The Pop-Up: If you are not fit, you're going to be gassed after 15 minutes and not have the stamina or agility to pop up and stand up on your surfboard.

  • Weight: The more you weigh, the less buoyancy you will have and the more difficult it is going to be to paddle the surfboard up to speed to catch the wave.

A Fit Person Can Learn To Surf At Almost Any Age

What it really comes down to is the desire to learn to surf and a reasonable fitness level. You don't need to be able to complete a triathalon, but the ability to swim a half mile or go for a two hour hike would be a good indicator that you are fit enough to surf.

People with Physical Disabilities Can Surf Too

There are many people who surf with physical disabilities. One of the more well known people with a physical disability is Jesse Bellauer. Jesse was an active surfer who was paralyzed after an accident surfing. There is a very inspirational segment of the surf documentary “Step Into Liquid” where Bellauer is filmed going out to surf with the help of some well known pro's. He has an infectious joy for life and a passion for surfing that has not been altered by his paralysis. I forget the exact line, but when one of his friends asks him if he would like the surf to be glassy, but smaller or a big day, he replies, big, always big.

You can surf, whether you are young or old. There isn't a reason to say that you can't surf because you are too old. Once you are on your feet and surfing, you are going to be hooked. Get out there and surf!

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