Backinthewateragain

Camping on remote beach Sunday night

Boy! Partly due to injuries, including a compoundly fractured arm from — yes, I know — skateboarding, stupid! — I pretty much quit surfing about 3 years ago. Plus it was getting more difficult to spring up from prone to standing. (Ah, what didn’t I take for granted in younger years?) But also, I really like what I’m doing in producing books and that’s meant a  lot of indoor time. And the water is so cold, and it’s such a hassle struggling into a wet suit and…and…

During these years I haven’t felt that great. Not bad, but not energetic.

I got a wakeup call when I visited Bob Anderson at his home in the Colorado mountains a few weeks ago. Bob’s the author of our book Stretching, and my visits there have always included long runs, walks, snowshoeing or cycling. Except I hadn’t been there for maybe 10 years.

We got in his car and drove about 45 minutes to a remote unmarked trail at about 9000 feet altitude, and went on a 4-hour round trip hike to the site of a plane that had crashed in the mountains in 1952. I realized I was out of shape. The next day, we “earned our dinner” by hiking up and down some really steep rocky trails with hiking poles. It was a wakeup call.

I’m swimming more, starting to ride a pedal assist bike, and getting back out with my Haut 10′ Surftek board. My 2nd time out, yesterday afternoon, got 3 rides, one prone, two kneeling. Working on getting up, but with some torn hamstring tendons plus codger stiffness, maybe I won’t be able to. Yesterday, I thought, even kneeling on a longboard is fun. Get over it! (One surfer here said to me as he showed me his new kneeboard, “I’ve gone over to the dark side.”) Not really.

Point is not to give it all up because age is limiting your chops.

I felt so great last night after getting out of the water.

How could I have forgotten?

16 Responses to Backinthewateragain

  1. Greg Akers says:

    Try a surf mat. George Greenough knows. #4thGearFlyer

  2. Maui Surfer says:

    a great cheap bodyboard for people with bum knees
    5.8 Sushi Fish surfboard,
    made by CBC, sold at Costco
    has thruster fins
    easy to duck dive
    easier to catch waves than a smaller boogie board
    also a good cheap surfboard for the young/strong

  3. Doug Kirk says:

    Try knee paddling that 10’er. You are half way up before the drop. You will be surprised how many young people have never witnessed this.

    A good stretch is squats done in a doorway with your finger tips on the jam for balance. This adds strength as well as stretches those old tendons.
    It may take a couple of months but you will be going in the right direction.

  4. john hummel says:

    I’m in the same boat, really miss getting out in the water ( 70 years young) so I got a surf mat “Fatty” from 4th Gear Flyer in Carpinteria. Got a pair
    of fins and life is good again. Keep it simple. Highly recommend 4th Gear Flyer, he makes them just for you.
    Keep paddling out.

  5. Linda S. says:

    Lloyd, make sure you aren’t eating glyphosates in the flour your wife is using to bake those delish breads; take liquid glucosamine (not pills or tablets). Add krill oil and fish oil pills to the regiment.

  6. Larry Salaz says:

    I’ve started using a surf mat and they’re a blast. =)

  7. Vince F. Long says:

    Hey Lloyd, you’re an inspiration in so many ways. You’re showing everyone it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

    I myself (age 61) train martial arts three times a week, and on the other four days do a variety of body movement work, stretching, etc.

    My motto: Forget your age, and life your life!

  8. Vince F. Long says:

    Live your life, I mean

  9. Robert Goad says:

    Age 65 in Oaxaca (Mex): just got back here to the highland altiplano from a Oaxacan coast trip with some surfing. I do this maybe twice a year anymore but this time more than one person commented how I looked younger after getting in some salt time. And I agree: it was simply rejuvenating in so many ways. I felt it in increased vibrancy, vitality, and attitude. I honestly believe I will live a LOT longer if I keep surfing, skin diving, etc. and am making serious moves for a full time coast relocation (the trick is it is hot down there and a riot of life including dengue, malaria, etc.). Lastly: I was surprised to find so much online discussion of prone surfing and this run I surfed prone exclusively on a 7-6 foamy and loved it. Elder surfer shaper Jeff Chamberlain is doing remarkable stuff with a crop of 6-3 X 29″ prone-o boards. Great interview at mypaipoboards.org. Every 4 foot wave I caught this time was overhead!!!! Great perspective with your face a few inches above the power source with great speed sensation and no awful price to pay as a elder in a wipeout. I agree: sometimes we forget the basic truths.

  10. Robert Goad says:

    P.S. Tried mat surfing awhile but not for me. But, some other folks love them. Now agree that prone surfing means getting all the body out of the water. Duck diving a mat is almost impossible. Now have three 4th Gear Flyer mats to recycle. Each to their own…..

  11. Pete Harwood says:

    “Getting old as a surfer, I’d heard it said, was just a long, slow, humiliating process of becoming a kook again.”
    Barbarian Days: My Surfing Life by William Finnegan
    Now, at 69, 55 yrs board surfing and 50 of those abusing body and knees as a woodworker, I am reduced to kneeling on my 9′-4″ board. Do I feel like a kook? Sure, but I’m learning to embrace my kookness knowing I’m still getting in the ocean and catching some waves. And I cherish every ride.

  12. Peter T Harwood says:

    “Getting old as a surfer, I’d heard it said, was just a long, slow, humiliating process of becoming a kook again.”
    Barbarian Days: My Surfing Life by William Finnegan
    Now, at 69, 55 yrs board surfing and 50 of those abusing body and knees as a woodworker, I am reduced to kneeling on my 9′-4″ board. Do I feel like a kook? Sure, but I’m learning to embrace my kookness knowing I’m still getting in the ocean and catching some waves. And I cherish every ride.

  13. Lloyd Kahn says:

    Re surfmats: I tried one, agree that it’s really hard to duck dive. I guess what you do is deflate to get out, then blow back up. I’m starting to go out a couple of times per week, mixing it with hiking and bike riding (eBikes are FUN! — I’m gonna write something about them here soon). I’m also gonna explore kneeboards or something like the Sushi Fish that Maui Surfer recommends. I wonder about kneeboarding on one of those fish designs, which look pretty carveable. I didn’t even get a ride last time out because it was good surf, crowded and I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way. But the vibes were good, and I still had the chi revved up after getting out.

  14. Maui Surfer says:

    There are limitations inherent in body boarding.
    Two of them are
    It is impossible to “pump” as in regular surfing, so acceleration is achieved by positioning on the wave face.
    It is impossible to “kick out” when you want to get off of a wave, e.g. a closeout. This can be a bummer!

  15. Doug Kirk says:

    I still stand up surf mostly but I have been knee boarding on a sushi for five years. It works best close to shore on a hollow wave. You can ride close to rocks because you aren’t going to fall {you are all ready on your knees and don’t have to step off} and your legs are not dragging behind you as on a biggie board. The board is between you and the rocks if it does closes out and it doesn’t ding. This opens up a lot of unrideable waves at crowded beaches and a lot of empty beaches. The sushi is fast on the take off and can make waves normal boards can’t.

  16. Laura says:

    Lloyd, you make my heart sing. 🙂

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