Surfing Longevity

As we continue to witness Kelly Slaters surfing improve with age, we must redefine our perception of the word ‘age’. It seems common perception of this word has been skewered by societies recent decline in health.

From the Oxford Dictionary:


  • the length of time that a person has lived or a thing has existed 

verb (ages, ageing or aging, aged)

  • grow old or older

Now lets look at ‘Old’

From etymonline:

Old English ald (Anglian), eald (West Saxon) “aged, antique, primeval; elder, experienced,” from West Germanic *althas “grown up, adult” (cf. Old Frisian ald, Gothic alþeis, Dutch oud, German alt), originally a past participle stem of a verb meaning “grow, nourish” (cf. Gothic alan “to grow up,” Old Norse ala “to nourish”), from PIE root *al- “to grow, nourish” (cf. Greek aldaino”make grow, strengthen,” althein, althainein “to get well;” Latin alere “to feed, nourish, bring up, increase,” altus “high,” literally “grown tall,” almus “nurturing, nourishing,” alumnus “fosterling, step-child;” Old Irish alim “I nourish”).

So to age is to grow old, to grow old is to nourish, strengthen and grow. With age comes experience. This is the way we used to think of ‘aging’, before laziness and poor nutrition took over. Its time to exercise your right to longevity, and it starts with your perception.

Dr Alexander Leaf studied regions of the world that have high numbers of centenarians and found that  a balanced diet and lifestyle (work,play,rest) was key. But its the cultural perception of ‘aging’ and the elderly that differed the most compared to the rest of the world. The elderly were seen as strong, wise and held great responsibility, they did not believe that age should stop any activity and still rode horses and played with the children. Old age is something to look forward to among these cultures.

Understand that aging is a process of ongoing growth, harness the power to overcome any obstacle and to gain confidence through wisdom and experience. Preservation of youth is but pure fantasy. Youth is simply replaced with experience, wisdom, refined skills & efficiency. The ignorant innocence of youth gives birth to the Master and the Sage.

Watching Kelly Slater at 42 surf better than he did in his 20’s makes me look forward to my 40’s and beyond. My goal of still riding a short-board in my 70’s becomes more certain everyday as I continue to notice improvements in my health and my movement. Years of dietary and bodily abuse in my youth have given way to creating great improvements in both going forward. So ignore the perception of aging in our general society and focus on not just maintaining health, mobility and strength but constantly improving it!

Surfing is Movement. If movement is a skill you want to master, then Move, “use it or lose it”. All your joints and muscles (including diaphragm and heart) need to be challenged through a range of capacities, and full range of motion every week. If you don’t have the luxury of surfing everyday then dedicate at least 30mins a day to movement, and since you are a surfer then it makes sense for that movement to be as surf specific as possible.

Nourish, don’t just eat. Nourish. Consider your health and longevity before anything enters your mouth, and educate your self in these matters. Start HERE. inflammation from poor nutrition hinders movement, recovery and brain function. A clean natural diet based on real foods, and stay hydrated.

Lifestyle, a balance of work, play and rest.  Work hard, play harder, and sleep (7.5 hours min)

If your ‘young’ then I urge you to start implementing the principles immediately. If you feel ‘old’ stiff and painful already, then believe me you can rediscover pain-free movement and suppleness. The principles are the same, move, nourish, rest, repeat.

Know this, all movement is controlled by the brain, re-learning movement is about slow and pain-free progressions. All movement is a skill and is learnt through repetition, consistent practice begins today.

For advise on movement start here



One response to “Surfing Longevity

  1. Pingback: Kelly Slater: Better with age | Surf Health and Fitness - Surf Training, Surfing Fitness, Surf Health·

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