Losing My Religion

As I write this the surf is four to six feet and clean as a whistle. There’s a nearby sandbar throwing up the odd beautiful peak and there’s not a soul surfing them. Partly this is because there’s minor flood levels of rain thundering from the leaden skies but also because the waves require a fair amount of physical effort to chase down the gems amongst the overloaded beach break. The good ones out there are hollow and powerful. Abrupt takeoffs necessary to drive under the pitching lips and through throaty tubes. It’s the sort of waves I typically dream about. Today I returned home and began to write this story instead of surfing. Those waves feel like they’re beyond me. 

For the past half year I’ve been experiencing a health situation which has had bizarre effects on my physical abilities. I won’t go into the details too much, save to say that my speed getting to my feet has slowed substantially. This has dramatically affected the types of waves I feel comfortable surfing. Unless the situation improves, waves I've spent years chasing no longer appear to be viable. There’s no chance I’m going quietly into the night and accepting that this is my fate. Every effort to strengthen, stretch, and train my way out of this is being undertaken, yet there’s no escaping from the reality: sooner or later everyone’s Big Dreams about surfing have to be reassessed and measured against reality. Age does weary and the years do condemn. I’ll be the first to grab you by your shoulders and scream that you ought to rage against the dying of that light but unfortunately the heavy weight of time will outlast us all. 

The question then is how you accept the change.

(Michael Blake/Reuters)

Quitting surfing is not an option, though I’ve seen plenty of passionate and capable surfers simply walk away over the years. Sometimes it seems that the decision to stop surfing completely was something which incrementally overwhelmed them and gained more momentum every time they left the beach without getting wet. After a while they believed that the decision has been taken out of their hands by a run of poor conditions or increased crowds. For the sake of reassurance, let’s assume that none of us plan to ever go down this road. Did anyone ever plan to go down that road? 

So keep surfing we must. Though how to reconcile a love of surfing built upon the Gambler’s Fantasy that tomorrow you may pull off some unprecedented manoeuvre or get the best tube of your life, if the ability to improve performance and successfully ride challenging waves is removed ? The inherent hope that the future still holds the peak underlines so much of my passion for surfing. As much as I find sincere spiritual fulfilment in being amongst the pure idyll of the ocean, how can I get excited about a surfing life without the dangling carrot of thrill and physical sensation? 

I’m no Kelly Slater but my mind is still preoccupied with mentally simulating possible tweaks to my cutback, ways to increase turn speed and criticality. I’m not sure if surfing will mean as much when these dreams of improvement are taken from me. 

It’s hard to describe the void felt in my soul when I returned from another flailing session at a mellow beach break and realised that the allure of exotic tubes might no longer be something I’m capable of pursuing. Why travel half way around the planet only to admit that the waves are beyond you? Who’s ready to look themselves in the mirror and speak the truth that they’re closer to their final wave than their first?

There’s a couple of spots on the map where I always assumed I’ve got destiny to fulfill, places of open barrels over shallow coral, in warm, tropical waters. I hadn’t reckoned on that dream being denied by physical inability so soon in the piece. The story isn’t over, but it’s a lot to take onboard when the possibility that dreams of magnitude are not there forever. Whether or not my temporary outlook improves, the certainty is that one day, somewhere, you will ride your last wave and that this day is always closer than you’d ever want it to be. 

I’ve been there when a close friend rode their last wave, when they were overcome by the truth that something they’d been so good at and loved so wholeheartedly was no longer possible. Sadness doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt for them on that day. To be forced to turn your back on something so special and so important to you was heart-wrenching to watch. 

I guess a lot of the importance is self-imposed. It depends on whether you define yourself as a surfer, which I do. I’ve elected to create my life around an involuntary love of surfing. This love of surfing has dictated where I live and formed the catalyst for almost all of my most enduring friendships. It’s put me on a path which led me to the love of my life and an incalculable number of resonating moments of happiness, satisfaction, and joy. Surfing has literally built me into the person I am. My interpretation of the world has been elevated by it whilst it’s also shaped and sculpted the body in which I move through the world. Broad shoulders, strong arms, blonde hair. Eyes red with pterygiums, ears thick with wind inflicted calcium deposits. Surfing has occupied my mind, ambition, and outlook since I became hooked decades ago. It’s outlasted almost everything else in my life.

(Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash)

So what do we do when we are faced with a future of declining satisfaction from surfing? I guess we just keep paddling out as long as we can. Don’t stop. You can try and temper those dreams of threading big tubes, convince yourself that a future steering a softboard gently to shore will be as fulfilling. I’m not sure. I don’t have the answers. All I know is that one day we will all paddle out for the last time and catch our last wave. 

In the meantime I suggest you do what you can whilst you can. Don’t wait, hurry up. Life is shorter than you think. Do everything you ever planned to do whilst you’re able. Get tubed. Do an air that touches the sky. Time and tide wait for no surfer. 

In the words of Andy Dufresne, "it comes down to a simple choice: get busy living or get busy dying."

I’ll see you guys around. Right now I’m going to paddle out into those empty beachbreak peaks and see if I can’t somehow squeak into a cavern or two.

// JOHN DORY

Comments

OHV500's picture
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OHV500 Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 12:43pm

Go JD.
Hope you got a few.

garyg1412's picture
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garyg1412 Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 12:53pm

Wow. That story has been a living nightmare inside my brain for the past 3 years due to back problems and laziness. Time to get busy living. Big thanks for this motivational article.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 1:09pm

You’ll come back, JD, whether fully or partially, and there you’ll find meaning and fulfilment.

At 59 I’m constantly adjusting my goals and desires. Yesterday I sort of accepted a bumbling effort, only to find redemption today - and joy.

Generally my path lies with bigger waves and larger lineups, often where and when others don’t go. And longer boards, although today my Pyzalien felt fast and fun and just right.

I’m a surfer, and I’ll keep at it on a daily basis. There’s still so much to do.
Thank you for the words.

OldGroveller's picture
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OldGroveller Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 1:12pm

Good read JD. As someone in their mid fifties this certainly resonates with me. I have had to reassess the types of waves I'm now capable of riding, along with the boards that offer a bit more forgiveness.
Great to see that your drive is still strong. Hope you continue to score plenty.

flollo's picture
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flollo Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 1:24pm

Time for a SUP.

hahnsolo's picture
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hahnsolo Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 at 8:46am

The best advice whether being sarcastic or genuine. I’m 62 and still in the ocean regularly and still in love with the sport I started nearly 50 years ago. But……. my boards have grown and for 70 percent of my water time i have a paddle in my hand. The trouble with surfing is the scene. you walk into any surf shop or check the surf report and it’s some kid busting an air or getting barreled on a slab or a hot chick hanging five on a log. If you don’t do this apparently you don’t matter. Just look at the feature photos on this site!! As we age we slow down like it or not. and if we don’t do the above you are marginalised in the surfing scene and that makes HP LONG BOARDS OR STAND UP NOT WORTH EXPLORING because you will think I don’t want to shunned buy fellow surfers. These however are the solution. If you ride a short board and struggle you need to transition to a HP long board. It took me 5 years to convince my younger bro and now he’s on a HI diamond drive he can’t believe how well he’s surfing. Still the pop up will get to difficult and you can retire or get a stand up. Ok at this point for some it’s unthinkable as these arnt apart of surf history or culture. Wrong. Stand up has been around longer than modern long boarding and started in the late 40,s in Waikiki by the Waikiki beach boys and yes the Duke did it also. My surfs these days consist of paddling out on a long board and getting a couple till my back and ribs are to sore to continue. I paddle in get the SUP and get another 10 waves and I’m Done!! If you do take up bigger boards to stay surfing my advice is DONT BE A HOG. Call people in, tell them a sets coming etc and you will still wind up getting tripple the amount of waves you do on a short board without being a prick. It takes time to get the hang of long boarding and it takes patients but then that’s the new challenge! As for SUP, I’ve learnt the hard way and by observation don’t buy the smallest board and paddle straight out in the line up you will injure yourself or worse some one else who doesn’t deserve the the result of your poor judgement!! To stand up surf is hard! It’s not easy. the paddling takes years to get really good at! Start in flat water and get your paddling together for a couple of months first and start in small waves first. Use small fins only because if you bottom out you will hurt yourself. Don’t go anywhere near crowded line ups or barrels for a couple of years at least or not at all! I will only paddle out if It’s Quiet at my regions point breaks. My advice is if you want to go down this path get the stand up early and only do it part time at first and ease your way in over a few years. I’m now in my 13th year and wasn’t any good for at least 5. The good news is you will increase your surfing life for at least 10 to 15 years. The choice is yours keep surfing or stair into your half empty beer……

Bungan33's picture
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Bungan33 Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 1:34pm

Great piece. Very powerful.

I was at Cloudbreak once and there was a guy out there just drawing confident slow, strong lines - and on closer inspection he looked 75+. I chatted to him and said how inspired I was - and all he said was "you just gotta keep surfing....".
Obscure health calamity aside that's the goal - but that fear lurks - the diabetic blindness, the stroke, the patch of black ice you dont see leading to the wheelchair...the list of sliding doors is endless and paralysing to contemplate (not to say futile)
Thanks for the mortality reminder John Dory - always appreciated.

bbbird's picture
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bbbird Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 8:56pm

Shakespeare may have reflected of these important crossroads of life....
to surf or not to surf.... that is the question ?

other wise words from video below are from Barry 'Magoo' ... still surfin at 85....
@3min "the exhilaration is... mind-blowing"

was once told a glass can be half full or half empty....
perfect glassy waves ridden on a reflected sunset tonight were... half full & empty...

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 9:28pm

Good onya Magoo! And go well mate, you are so right that you have to believe you will get better!
Great little waves to finish the day here too. Half full.

batfink's picture
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batfink Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 8:28am

Funny I should watch that while staying in our holiday house which is next door to Magoo’s place. First bout of good weather for months and at the end of a period of good waves that were first beyond me, and then just right for a bloke trying to get his form back.

stunet's picture
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stunet Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 1:51pm

You've no doubt heard it many times before but cos it's referenced here, and cos it's such a fantastic assembly of words, here's DT's poem in full:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Bungan33's picture
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Bungan33 Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 2:48pm

Aah Stu....the eternal question - do you listen to old mate Dylan - or accept the fate with buddha like calm?

stunet's picture
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stunet Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 3:23pm

A very good question indeed, and I lean towards old mate Sid, though it's worth noting that in the second stanza:

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

DT appears to advocate for acceptance of fate. Men who made no impressions in their life (forked no lightning) still don't go gentle, so what of the ones who led bigger, satisfying lives?

Yeah, he turns it around in the following stanzas but that one shows there is a tug of war happening.

Much more to say but I'm raging against this deadline.

garry-weed's picture
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garry-weed Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 8:45am

"I was so much older then. I'm younger that that now." The other Dylan.

Crab Nebula's picture
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Crab Nebula Tuesday, 1 Nov 2022 at 12:07pm

Bungan, I am glad you brought that up. From a psychological standpoint, it may seem like the great dilemma: Do you fight til your last breath in attempt to preserve something and prolong inevitability or accept life is in a state of flux?
In the natural physical world, my short answer is it is not your choice at all and either way when the night comes, the result is the same: it gets dark. Life changes and a new dawn is available.
We are determined by external forces and free-will is an allusion. Our surfing is determined by its accessibility, our own skill to access it, and the enjoyment we feel during/after accessing it. Take one of those out of the equation, no amount of rage will prolong the night. It will still get dark and you will only feel harm. Rage while the sun shines, embrace the darkness quietly. We must accept and move on for we dont have that choice anyway.

Sprout's picture
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Sprout Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 3:28pm

Head first on a Konys bomb. *Shakes fist at age* You'll never catch me!

Dillosurf's picture
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Dillosurf Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 4:28pm

I always think it is amazing how relevant that third verse is to surfers. It seems almost written for us but I don’t think Dylan Thomas ever paddled out.

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 9:51pm

"To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,...."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_be,_or_not_to_be

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 10:27pm

Challenges of nurture & nature (behavioural responses vs innate survival ) has been pondered for millennium.
A modern movie version of this struggle....

teejay's picture
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teejay Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 2:20pm

I read this article, bandaged and sore, recovering from my latest round with skin cancer. A drawback to a life dedicated to surfing. As my friends and I approach the 70’s we are just as committed, just as keen but know that the last wave is fast approaching. Until then with a bit of luck from Huey and a good shaper we can maintain the stoke. Thanks for the well written reminder….

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 2:28pm

As someone who is not far off the big 4-0 one of the most inspiring things for me to keep surfing into old age is going to G -land and seeing quite a few blokes in their 60’s & 70’s still catching amazing waves.

It’s such good motivation to stay fit and healthy, not put too much weight on, not drink too much piss and just generally look after yourself so those annual trips can continue for another 20-30 years

JB1's picture
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JB1 Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 3:06pm

Old surfers never die... they just get bigger boards.

bbbird's picture
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bbbird Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 11:08pm

good design & motivation is your friend....

Gra Murdoch's picture
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Gra Murdoch Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 3:37pm

In the challenge and the inevitability etc lies the invitation to grow beyond attachment. Apparently. Not that wise myself though. After a sad and pathetic surfing experience between chrissy and new year I've spent this whole year on the careful eating / lotsa walking / morning exercise program and am loving being able to surf again. As freely as two decades ago? Nup, but immensely better than six months back, and I'll take that with a massive smile. (I think having always been a mediocre surfer makes it easier somehow, the slide probably doesn't feel as dramatic.)

Hazrus's picture
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Hazrus Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 3:39pm

My old man is early 70's and still getting out there a few times a week. He also spends a few weeks a year in Hawaii every year surfing every day at a south shore reefbreak that he's loved for decades. It takes hard work to keep up his ability to surf, but he reckons it's worth every minute.

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 3:41pm

Great read. These topics seem to strike a chord with the swellnetions. Perhaps if we all wish old man time away...

Weatherman's picture
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Weatherman Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 4:01pm

Great piece of writing JD. In my mid 60's I definitely "rage against the dying of the light". I consider myself incredibly lucky to still be able to surf and enjoy the many aspects of a surfing life. I know of an 80 yr old who has been out of action for months due to heart and lung issues but intends to have a go again soon. He is an inspiration to many surfers I know.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 4:30pm

Yeah I can relate to that article.

Love these lyrics and song from Ben Caplan
"And I believe we were all dead or dying
But I see different in the blue light
There is no such thing as a dawn or a dusk
It's daylight until it is night
You gotta fight through the dimming
You gotta run into the winds
You gotta rage against the dying of the light
Live for the moment that's left
You gotta fight against the dimming
You gotta run into the winds
You gotta rage against the dying of the light
Live for the moment that's left
'Cause there is no such thing as a dying man
We are alive 'til the moment we're dead
And a drowning man is just a living man
Who hasn't run out of his last bit of breath"

owgoodaquads's picture
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owgoodaquads Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 4:38pm

Great piece JD and love all the comments too. On Stu and Bungan's comments around choosing between the rage of DT and the acceptance of the Buddha, I'm going with the idea that my quiet acceptance of failing abilities, while doing enough good living health and fitness-wise, is in fact my raging against the dying light. Also, similar to Gra, mediocre abilities to begin with make the decline more acceptable!

back beach's picture
back beach's picture
back beach Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 5:17pm

Resonates with this soul too. Boards are now mid length and glide is the new groove. Body bits dictate as much as the surf widow nowadays.
However discovered sup surfing as an adjunct and am blown away by the stoke and glide and embarrassed by the years of close minded arrogance. It’s like a rebirth into a whole new realm of surfing and to learn new surf skills post the big 60 is a fkn hugely satisfying thrill.
Saltwater addiction never leaves and after both mine and the aforementioned Handbrakes dice with the Johnny dancer never been more needed.
As mentioned by others just keep surfing rinse and repeat.

Finntim's picture
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Finntim Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 5:18pm

For a modern musical take on this theme, have a listen to Tool ' Invincible'. Poignant lyrics and the music alone will make you paddle a little deeper. Cheers JD, great stuff.

Sprout's picture
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Sprout Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 5:38pm

Great song, album, band. Chuggedy chug chug chuggedy chug chug chug.

GreenJam's picture
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GreenJam Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 5:35pm

this one hits home.

JD, I'd have to say be grateful for the wonderful surfing life you seem to have had to this point, grateful that it wasnt ripped away from you at a much earlier stage/in your prime. And you can keep on surfing, just at a lighter pace. Many others would have lost that ability all together, or have heavy limitations on how or when they could surf

and if this relates to a recently alluded to prelim diagnosis (if same author) - that can be managed. Always keep moving - walking, stretching, light weights - surfing at a lighter pace seems perfect for that, and embracing the nature hit, as it seems you well do. Just dont go the toxic pharmy approach that most docs will push on you. Good luck

GuySmiley's picture
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GuySmiley Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 5:43pm

Reading the great comments above most of us never lose our religion rather we develop a more nuanced relationship with it.

dandandan's picture
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dandandan Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 6:26pm

Thoughtful piece JD.

I'm far off that, though there's a long line of early deaths in my family (trying to buck that trends as best as I can). One thing that gives me comfort at the moment is that I already feel a bit more of an expansive idea of what my relationship to surfing and the ocean is. If I am in full surf brain, then I can easily end up in a slump when it doesn't work out. But I'm finding that I am just as happy (in a very different kind of way) swimming across the bay, or snorkelling over the reef, or sailing a dinghy, or body whomping the shorebreak. It's not surfing and nothing really compares to that feeling, but it's nice to know I can feel like I've had a really lovely day on planet earth just by doing those things. It's a freedom that I didn't have a few years ago when I was in full surfer brain.

Goodwolf's picture
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Goodwolf Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 8:48pm

I agree Dandandan.
For me, a period of not being able to surf
(2 hip replacements) actually set me free. I was previously compelled to surf, not loving it. Now I get to choose, as it's not a compulsion or a core part of my identity. And it feels lovely to seek joy from other sources.

Remigogo's picture
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Remigogo Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:12pm

Sounds like you are a thrill seeker dandandan... even during the quietest times.
Respect....
'As one with the ocean', through and through.

batfink's picture
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batfink Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 8:38am

Dan, body surfing has kept my connection with the ocean when surfing was a poor option, usually due to ridiculous crowds. It’s a great way to get through summer on the east coast.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 6:44pm

It's hard for a lot of us older blokes to accept we're not indestructible grommets anymore.
"A man's got to know his limitations". Dirty Harry

Gra Murdoch's picture
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Gra Murdoch Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 7:01pm

This is the best kind of article 'cos it hums away in the back of your mind for a while after reading it. I'm kinda thinking that the inevitability of that last ride, the decrepitude along the way, not to mention mortality, can all be weirdly uplifting, like, fark, today might be as good as it gets, it'll all be over in a blink, etc, which can make even the most ornery surf – especially with mates - incredibly precious and to be cherished.

old-dog's picture
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old-dog Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 7:14pm

Classic writing that, something I've pondered over myself. Mid sixties and keen as ever. Over at K.I. a few weeks ago surfing perfect little glassy runners on a crystal clear emerald green beach break all to myself, surrounded by dolphins for about four hours. Really pigged out. A bus load of pensioners rocked up and were so proud of just making it through the cave to the beach. Then I realized half of the old bastards were probably younger than me. When I start slowing down I will be stoked just to go for a paddle and sit on my board and if I catch a few waves it's a bonus. It's all about avoiding crowds and appreciating the little things. When I go down to my local little reef and its deserted I feel like a grommet and can't get into my wetty quick enough. Keep it up. Cheers.

birdhouse's picture
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birdhouse Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 8:41pm

Great read JD, that I can entirely relate to. After 50+ years of surfing and now in my 60's, I lost my 'pop-up' overnight. It seemed to just evaporate like ether. No reason, just gone. Started by continuously taking late take-offs and going over the falls, wtf? Having a great surf session and then the next day surfing like a beginner, again wtf? Light bulb moment, I'm not getting to my feet quick enough. With more exercise and loosing a few kg's things have improved marginally, but all my board's now start with a 7 in length instead of 6, and things are more drawn out in turns etc. Keep the dream alive JD, whether it is a mid-length, mal or SUP, we all have to adapt a little when we all get older. See you in the green room.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Thursday, 27 Oct 2022 at 9:36pm

If you are still able you can still give back in the surfing world... best thing I have done. Pass forward: knowledge, kind words, encouragement, stoke.

Anyway, not nearly done and I think the popup is still fast. Completely out paddled by my young one though, geez we had a great session this arvo. Humble size, rail length and momentum.

Optimist's picture
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Optimist Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 6:49am

Many shapers are thinking about the older crew now which is great. I recently and sadly sold all my boards ranging from 6’1” to 6’8” and now only have two boards with a 7 in front. A car accident years ago has now punished me well into my mid sixties , but it’s funny how you just reinvent yourself and it all starts with getting your mind right and just keep at it. The longer boards give you time to get up and while the vert reo’s are a memory these big boards fly and plenty of these models are also pump and rip sticks not just gliders. I’m stoked watching my kids and grandkids now…the next gen embracing something that to me was a way of life all my life. Watching your grandkids riding a foamie wave for 20 metres with a big smile is now my pure ocean joy. Paddling out with them even though I’ll be surfing badly , will be as much fun as the hardcore days gone by.

Mick Lawrence's picture
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Mick Lawrence Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 7:14am

A comprehensive and compelling synopsis of the problem of addiction.

I'm now 76. I surfed for almost 50 years, lived the dream. Hawaii, California, Mexico, Indonesia and the wilderness of southwest Tasmania. During the Golden Years, before crowds. I was no Kelly Slater, rather a medium fish in a big puddle. While surfing was my life, some 10 years ago I walked away without a pang of regret. How did I manage that?

I always had this ritual. Whenever I left the surf, no matter what it was like, I turned to the ocean and gave thanks to Huey. I always treated every surf as if it was to be my last. And one day it was.

We get very little say in when it will end. Some lucky buggers surf into their eighties. Die of a heart attack in the lineup. Some get taken out by a body failure in their prime. Grommets die in car accidents on the way to the beach. If you're really lucky, you do get to have a choice. A choice between walking away when you're ripping or rippling.

Fate shows no favour. None of us get to miss out. Every wave must end.

Problem is, that's when you get to pay for the journey.

I paid for mine by embarking on another one. I discovered sea kayaks and named mine The Tardis. Over the next ten years I explored the lakes, rivers and coastline of Tasmania's southwest wilderness. Rode different waves.

But I never lost touch with surfing. I gave back through the local board rider club then a few years as president of Surfing Tasmania. Now I'm working with Surfrider Foundation Tasmania on environmental matters. It's not only important work, but a good way of giving back to the surfing lifestyle that gave me so much. A lifestyle that just keeps on giving.

Last night it served me yet again. A double overhead Padang barrel from 1982. Just because age has determined my body is no longer up to it, doesn't mean my mind isn't. The great thing about 'surfing on the inside' is, you always make it. You never fall off.

batfink's picture
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batfink Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 8:43am

Lovely words, Mick. Dips me lid!

GuySmiley's picture
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GuySmiley Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 1:07pm

Thanks for your comment mick

Bobba's picture
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Bobba Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 7:36am

If your into your 50’s +++ and not lifting weights then your allowing the old man in and certainly not raging against the night. Squats and deadlifts increase testosterone and trust me on this, you will notice it! Steep drops into 4-6’ barrels? If that’s how you liked to surf before than you can get to surf like that again. When you’re old but can still perform you feel good about yourself. Lift gentlemen, lift and rage against the dying of the light.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 8:50am

Yep your onto it Bobba
And at least once a Year get the Body into Autophagy...Cellular Cleanup.....its Free .
https://www.dietvsdisease.org/autophagy-body-cleanse/
JD theres some good stuff out there on Autophagy and Parkinsons.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 10:56pm

Just saw this. Say it ain’t so :-/

batfink's picture
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batfink Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 8:49am

Second that, Bobba. I’ve been off the weights for about 8 months and no surprise that I’ve ended up with ‘tennis elbow’ over the last two months. Weight training fixes so many things.

On the path to gently get back into the weights, gradually as the elbow repairs, which I understand could take some time.

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andy-mac Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 7:39am

Great article, and wonderful comments. Thank you.

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andy-mac Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 7:58am

https://www.booktopia.com.au/lifespan-david-sinclair/book/9780008292355....

I just finished this book, has some interesting theories. NMN seems to be a big one and game changer if true. I am going to order some, may be wasting money, but hey I want to rage against the night. :)

bonza's picture
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bonza Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:33am

I was taking these for a couple years. have had about 1 year off. But will return. There appears to be solid science behind it This is the only supp I have or will take as supps are a crock of shit & waste of money.
have also been interment fasting for 3 years with a hiatus the last 6 months but starting again. From sinclair: "eat less more often". and like udo says - use weights - though I use bands. hate gyms
but its the sharks! sharks have really stole my mojo last 12 months living on the MNC. always keen for the earlies but... father of 2 young boys with only time for earlies - it's been playing on mind and so has my water time... I'm picking up a OI 5'11 quad gumtree bargain and have some C drive fins in the post. picking up some litres. gunna jedi mind trick the sharks away. Time to own the morning again and remember I'm dying every day

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:34am

what's NMN?

bonza's picture
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bonza Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:38am
andy-mac's picture
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andy-mac Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:40am

https://eternumlabs.com.au/nmn-australia/

Have not tried it yet, but after reading above book will give it a go. He recommends this with resveratrol along with fasting.
Based on trials in lab he has done. Interesting read ..

bonza's picture
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bonza Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:45am

there is NMN or there is NR to boost NAD. I was using NR. But the science is out on which one is better.

https://medium.com/festival-of-dangerous-ideas/ageing-is-a-disease-606cd...

andy-mac's picture
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andy-mac Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 10:24am

Thanks for that link.

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andy-mac Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:43am

Cheers Bonza. Did you notice any positives from taking NMN. I am generally sceptical of supplements, but as you say the science seems to back it up as explained in his book.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:43am

Cheers gents.

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bonza Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:50am

No.. But I started at 40 along with a new weight routine and intermittent fasting coupled with much less alcohol. So too many confounding factors. I went off the wagon last 8-12 months but am now returning to my routine. I have not restarted the NR but will return maybe when cash flow is back. The most important thing is east less more often from my reading of the science.

belly's picture
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belly Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 8:42am

Now late 40's and this article and some of the comments have inspired me to follow through on selling that 6'1 that never quite felt right.

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dean maddison Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:29am

Described it perfectly. Gotta keep paddling out.

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old-dog Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 9:41am

Age is relative, when I was 18 I remember feeling really sorry for a mate who was 28, didn't help that he was going bald. At 40 you think you are old, now on the wrong side of 65, 40 sounds like a grommet, and to someone in their 80's I'm a young whipper snapper. The mind is still willing but the body is not quite so sure anymore.

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David.Green Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 10:02am

Great article, so close to home, I'm 55, broke my back in 2016 and have a fusion cage on L5 / S1, tore my quad very badly in 2018, docs told me I was done for and nearly threw the towel but in 2019, decided I wasn't done for, restarted training generally and then for a triathlon with the sole aim of not having to lose my religion and the upshot being that I have been back surfing 3-4 times a week for a couple of years now and completed a tri in December 21 and doing it again this year.

andy-mac's picture
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andy-mac Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 10:44am

Good work!

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David.Green Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 10:51am

Cheers!

bonza's picture
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bonza Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 11:26am

Thats awesome David

NDC's picture
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NDC Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 11:12am

Trying something new is a great tonic

I have taken up skategboarding at 52 as a result of shoulder problems hampering pop-up and paddling.

As a beginner you get accelerated performance improvement - even when you're old - and my god that's exciting. Noone who's been surfing for 30 years is getting the rate of improvement you do as a beginner at something else.

Maybe people could even adapt this idea of 'new' to their surfing - start surfing finless on tiny days and getting better at those free glide moves the fin free'ers are doing. Or try some of the foiling formats (SUP foiling, prone foiling, wing foiling)... Ive dabbled and it's a surreal sensation to glide across the top of the water in what feels like flight - like an albatross

I'm 'raging' to get back in the water as well as skating - with rehab, weights, maybe surgery - but the space of not being obsessesd with wind/tide/swell for a year and a bit has opened up the door for some fresh obsessions to move in

Hope that's somehow helpful to someone
Thanks for all the wisdom, ideas, the gr8 peom and the support
Nice piece JD

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SurferSam Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 11:51am

Totally relate to this article. For me I found being at peace that my best surfing is behind me, while riding longer boards suited to my age really helps. Pop up might be a bit slower, turns a bit stiffer, but I’m having as much if not more fun than my younger days and to me that’s all that matters.

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SurferSam Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 11:51am

Totally relate to this article. For me I found being at peace that my best surfing is behind me, while riding longer boards suited to my age really helps. Pop up might be a bit slower, turns a bit stiffer, but I’m having as much if not more fun than my younger days and to me that’s all that matters.

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radiationrules Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 11:59am

"Your best waves are still ahead of you" - I think you've got to start with that mindset.

Like a lot of the contributors here, I'm well past my prime and I've had a life-threatening illness that took 12 years of dedication to overcome. I'm going to Sumatra for most of November, so feel like my training program is working for me.

The philosophical perspective that I would add to the comments above is - focus on the waves you really love, That "feeling". For me, an average surfer, @ age 25 a 6-10ft scattered line-up, no pressure from the other (better) surfers, and plenty of power in the waves to cover up my clumsy turns. That was my dream tarmac.

And then the gradual decline and frustration; aided by peak career moments (AKA sedentary lifestyle) and a dedication to raising a family.

I found retreating to mush burgers and riding longboards not compatible with good mental health - for me. Sort of like freezing cold beer vs. warm English bitters.

My response, manicured over 20 years, has been to learn that - for me - training hard every week counts - swimming, cycling, beach walking, exercise physiology (resistance training), yoga, and meditation. I avoid the shitty beach breaks of my youth and dream about the same types of waves I love the "feel of" and then make trips to surf those types of waves happen, so I do get to ride the types of waves I love, but less often.

These days 6-10ft would terrify me, so 2-6ft similarly shaped waves that generate similar feelings are my target. I still ride a performance shortboard, it's 4in longer than the one from when I was 25; such that after I "overcome" my random takeoffs, the surfing experience of "riding a wave" is comparable.

I've found that the more often I get the types of waves I love; the more often my mind feels like I want more of the same. A virtuous circle of satisfaction, based on preparation.

In summary, my suggestion is to focus on getting the types of waves you love surfing, such that finding them; even riding just one, can re-affirm the glory of this reality and your imagination, as these dual states of mind can happily co-exist.

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 12:07pm

"Trying something new is a great tonic"

Absolutely, NDC. That's my advice too. I did so and came away with many benefits that I didn't foresee.

Before that, however, I had three hell crashes - the 'something new' I started was mountain biking - until I realised that, sure, I was exercising different muscle groups, but I wasn't actually learning anything new. It was all physical, not mental.

So it came to be that whenever I rode I had to teach myself a whole new mindset. The analogy I use is that you can't pull into closeouts on the mountain; if you're not 100% certain of making a jump / drop / wall ride / whatever, then you simply shouldn't do it.

Prior to my injuries I was effectively surfing in the bush. Now I, very overtly, approach the trails in a new way - more conscious, more cautious - and it's surprised me how, what appears to be pulling back, has somehow become the more satisfying thing.

It also no longer feels like a mere proxy for surfing, but rather as something entirely separate and new.

The other side of taking up something new is filling in the space when the magic of surfing starts to slip away. And it will - it's hard for lifers to retain the same level of enthusiasm. It goes in cycles for me and I've learnt not to force it. So now if I find I'm not thinking about surfing so much, I'll go ride my bike or do track work, knowing that, like a loyal dog, surfing may take the occasional wander, but it'll always come back home.

Coincidentally, after a few months absence, me best mate returned a few weeks ago. Took a little while to get proper fitness back, but I spent the last two swells fizzing with excitement. A few early morning sessions on a new board and I wondered how I could ever lose the thrill. But I did, and it'll happen again.

One last thing, separate from the above, is retaining the connection with the water. I've always loved bodysurfing and rarely go anywhere without a set of flippers in the back. When the day comes that I'm too old to sit on the ledge at the point, I'd like to think I'll simply swim out there and watch it. Be part of it. Maybe get a few insiders coming back in.

I do it on occasions now and readily accept the lowly position in the pecking order. I'm not out there competing.

I focus's picture
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I focus Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 12:31pm

Talking about enjoying writing eh...

That piece is going to strike many a cord, loved the title "Losing My Religion" just says it all.

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suchas Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 1:28pm

Definitely Something Desirable about Surfing....

udo's picture
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udo Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 2:33pm

Radiationrules said :
I found retreating to mush burgers and riding longboards not compatible with good mental health

That has been the Demise of many Comebacks.

cleelo's picture
cleelo's picture
cleelo Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 5:09pm

Just thought I might throw in another option on how to keep the stoke, stay in touch with your mates and get into the ocean. I am 68 and recently had total hip replacements in both hips as well as open heart surgery all in the one year. I guess I just wanted to get it all over with, recover and move on as best I could. I was told that my heart function would only be 80% for at least a year and that I shouldn't surf big waves anymore for fear of hip dislocation. Well as with most of you guys surfing has been my life and I wasnt ready to accept a no or limited surfing future. I sure as hell wasn't going to become a pain in the arse old guy on an SUP hogging set waves and scaring the shit out of others in the water so I went the BELLY ! Once my wounds had healed, I began by making my way down to the water at a local boat ramp on crutches and paddled around to rebuild fitness while also doing rehab exercises. There was also a small wave on the sandy point break there which was gentle forgiving and a reasonably long ride. I was on an Aloha 8 ft epoxy mini mal and needed the length to support my legs during recovery. After a few efforts I couldn't resist catching a wave and began to have so much fun that I started to think that maybe this could be the future? As things improved I was able to access my favourite breaks on the Surfcoast but it was challenging putting on a steamer (Winter) and walking over the dunes but hey 'no pain no gain' right ? Guys would watch me taking of late on 4-5 ft waves and think about dropping in but this rarely happened because I was taking off deeper and my 8 ft board was flying. It was seriously a totally new stoke for me. I started to appreciate the advantages of surfing on my Belly - You can take of late and not blow it - Its always overhead - Its easy to pull in even on tiny waves - you go faster due to no wind resistence and you seem to get way more waves than you ever did in a session. The crew mostly accept you in the rotation and call you onto waves because they know you will make it. I was so stoked to be back into it but had to be carefull to bail out and push my board away before it closed out or things could get ugly. Now no disrespect to body boards but its just not the same as being on a longer fiberglass board. The length is impotant and you can learn new ways to approach how you ride and feel on a wave. A year on and I have moved to the NSW Mid North Coast to find another surfer doing the same thing and loving life. Now my fitness has improved I am back to standing on a shorter 7 ft mid and getting some carves back into my surfing but still have the mini mal for smaller waves and the belly option. As I am slow getting up I still opt for the Belly on critical drops and have just as much fun as I ever did. So for me I am stoked to have had this unexpected experience and I know now that if I can no longer jump to my feet I can still continue to surf on my Belly and love it. 'Where there is will there is a way', Just ask Bethany Hamilton.

Shnellgor's picture
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Shnellgor Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 11:36am

Love it Cleelo. I hurt my back badly and have taken to doing the same thing on a little twinny softboard that I bought for my daughter. The softboard takes the seriousness out of things in the line up. Just some old seaweed man having a dig and getting deep. Sometimes I get up but mostly I am looking for the insides of waves. Everyone seems to accept me and let me go. I have had some awesome belly rides !
Keep it up mate !

cleelo's picture
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cleelo Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 2:50pm

Glad your having a great time Shnellgor. The Belly gives you a whole new perspective on a wave, right. Maybe we should make a movie and call it - Inner Most Limits of Pure Fun. Ha ! Surf On

Ardy's picture
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Ardy Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 5:44pm

I’m 54 , awhile back my wife was abusing my ears, telling me I had to start making plans about the future and that I couldn’t just keep floating around in the ocean forever , my reply was watch me :)

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Garden Gnome Friday, 28 Oct 2022 at 5:57pm

I hear you. I keep telling myself at 60 that the surfing is the thing holding my back together. That back injury happened 41 years ago and it still hurts. I'm a bit slow to my feet now... but there is the odd gem each session. A recent trip to Agnes Water was great for my motivation and my head space... two older ex surfer dudes staying at the same park were calling me Grom as I walked down to the Point past their motorhome every day! Two really nice old blokes, full of compliments (and wine), I reckon they fancied my missus and were happy to keep me happy! Referring to me as a Grom made my back injury disappear and made me feel 30 years younger as I hit the water, and I was a legend in my own lunchbox. The warmer water helped but nothing like the positive talk from these two old dudes! Taught me a huge lesson... I can do that positive talk myself. Keep paddling John, pick your days and size. Those gems will continue to come.

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Oh Swell Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 7:43am

There is snowboarding in powder...

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Island Bay Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 11:59am

Skier turned snowboarder turned skier.

Skiing affords me thrills akin to riding big waves, and it doesn’t have to be powder. Big open faces, full throttle, as few turns as possible.

Just like I’m a mediocre surfer, I’m not strong enough to be a great skier, but I have good technique and a lust for speed. Longer, heavier skis with lots of metal, some courage, and off you go.

Oh Swell's picture
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Oh Swell Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 12:41pm

No wish to get into a skier vs boarder row!
As some others have suggested (eg >skating (esp surfskating) eskating, SUPing, even horror, foiling) you can dabble in another religion, even convert.
Anyway, once again a great article.

(there are no goofy or natural skiers are there?)

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 1:09pm

Would be right back on a snowboard, at least part time, with access to more powder. Definitely not starting an argument :-)

Lots of goofy skiers, but nothing to do with their stance, hehe

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Charlie Brown Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 9:17pm

Goofyfooter here. I think there are actually goofy and natural skiers. I prefer to turn right as this feels "goofy" to me. If I'm bodysurfing, matting or bodyboarding I prefer righthanders to lefthanders as this feels "frontside" somehow.

Remigogo's picture
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Remigogo Tuesday, 1 Nov 2022 at 12:30am

Goofy learning to snowboard means your right ass cheek is sold blue for the first week. Then a weird purple 'e, orange 'e, yellow for the second week. And expect concussion induced r and r on the right side forehead the third week.
That's my experience .. any ways.

I must add that the fourth week carving only fresh powder was well, oh so well worth the bruising I'd went through.

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spencie Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 8:40am

Great article and so many well written comments. One of your best yet. I can totally relate to almost everything written (at age 74 with numerous injuries). Can well understand how most older surfers end up on bigger boards simply to keep surfing.

linez's picture
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linez Saturday, 29 Oct 2022 at 9:32pm

I reckon you've struck a big fat power chord with this write-up JD. You know what I'm loving about all the comments? The stoke of finding different ways to keep the same stoke going.
How good is the ocean

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AlfredWallace Sunday, 6 Nov 2022 at 9:52pm

Linez.
‘How good is the ocean ?

The best mate, the best.

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Optimist Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 at 6:28am

Regarding the belly surfing story, if your back is completely shot or your going through injury, Jack Knight on the godly makes brilliant fibreglass belly boards. I met a guy well in his 70’s who Jack made a quad fin spooned out rocket for….very impressive watching the old bloke ride it. I think Jack trades under the name harvest now if you want to go that road.

morg's picture
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morg Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 at 8:20am

Great read JD. This journey from frothing Grom to discovering you’re now that old guy on the bigger surfboard you swore you’d never be happens way to quickly.

I focus's picture
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I focus Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 at 4:40pm

Needed that Udo thanks

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 at 4:59pm

Great Story & supporting comments from the crew.
Bloody hard read for us fellow knocked around hodads.

Just how sick do ya need to be, to avoid the surf?
Unfortunately...tbb can answer that...all too easy!
Only have to pick Today!
A Perfect Dreamy Sunday as good as gold & all locals are headed to the beach...all but one!
tbb carts his sorry carcass across town for a week's postponed > Monday's Med Test Results...
Nurse : "But it's not Monday yet ... It's still Sunday morning?" (Like how could she know that?)
Wished away another perfect Gold Coast Sunday...that is a real sick sport...it really is a horrid illness!

Born Free to Surf, then be strapped to boards, then set free, then be strapped to boards at death's door.
Knowing that shielding out just a drop of universal flow from the heavens to our soul is blasphemy.
The very idea of being re-fastened to a surfing aid was outta the question...never never again.

(Huey's Law of the Sea) Unless you consummated the wave you can't claim to have surfed it at all.
[Ride of Yer Life] Could equally brand as a wave pool Sticker...ever shielded from the majesty of nature!
Whereas your intrinsic [Wave of Elation] permeates natural progression of human endeavour.

Around mid 2019 kept saying to mates it was a huge effort to make the lineup but well worth it.
Still being the only Day Long Winter boardie basher in the Village
Ever optimistic by claiming it's better to flounder about in the ocean than die of boredom at home.
Only kidding oneself as by now yer whole body is collapsing upon the shore & struggling to exit dunes.
Just more work for the Life Guards that tbb Salutes...get yer arse up off the beach while ya still can!

Paid for Weekly physio to force tbb back to the local a few times...still collapsed on exiting the beach.
No longer wish to even view the ocean as it instantly laughs & echoes with sheer exhaustion & pain.

Autumn 2022 recovery from Flurona produced just enough boost to mount a comeback challenge.
Tried to blank out all natural love of the Ocean & just scan the side of the Nutri-Grain Pack...[Kill Kill Kill]
Perfect hardcore Plan...that'll get tbb back in the line up...just be the robot of yer dreams.

One stylish bash of one wave & retrieve "Strewn Beach Gear" (Bastards) + Successful exit from dunes.
Trick was that the sand was cemented after heavy rain...that helped to hold heavier body weight.
Making sure tbb never enjoyed any bit of it > soon home to slide the lid on the Sarcophagus.
There! Did it...World can get fucked! Not the spazz ya all think tbb was!
"Ok then...care to try that again!"...Never! Go away!

Doctor/s Prescription : No > Walking / Swimming / Cycling / Hwys / Comments / Committees...&...&...?

Shh! Still have a passion for frolicking in the townhouse pool...(Strictly No Swimming or wading!)
Surfing in microwaves can still be a hoot? (Maybe!)

Self appointed Pond Lifeguard...Volunteer Rescue service.
* Have another crack at decoding the comics on the CPR poster.
* Palm Frond Crisis may or not require moving the frond away from the pool edge...(Fark!)
* Noting Birds only bathe in the pool once you look away...Super Quick with their Dip!
* Springtime rescues of precious petals & returning them safely to their Flower Gardens.
* Emergency Rescue of floating leaves before they drown ( Often rescue 20-30 leaves/session )
* Rescue Bodybashin' Bees that stray outta their depth. (Usually one or same bee rescue each session)
* Rescue & resuscitate 1 Xmas Beetle/week...mostly to keep Local Hairdressers employed.
* Rescue & resuscitate 1 Dragon Fly/Season...Upon recovery they return to hover a genuine thanx!
* Rescue Father Xmas (Fairies) Currently 5/session to stoke enough Xmas Wishes for Aussie Kidz.
* Warn of Flying Ant Season & scoop the swarm of 100's from the Pool Line Up.

Voluntary Pool Chores / Maintenance
* Magnetic sweeps for 100 x Cheap pool Brush wire spikes from base of pool.
* Jewelry recovery (Mostly Girl's Earrings) 1/2 per season
* Sweep & Retrieve Kidz Dive Bombs / Squidz / Sharks. (Xmas Peak)
* Recover Hats / Thongs / Towels & hang 'em up on pool fence...(Like a proper hardcore Life Guard)
* Rearrange Deckchairs & Pick up rubbish.

Livin' the dream!
We worn out Hodads still swear we gotta vital role to play...just humouring the next wave!
Can only say to surrender fully to Ma Nature before she spits you out...BFF.
Rather to have lived fully during one fleeting glimpse than never once imagined of doing such forever!

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Monday, 31 Oct 2022 at 8:11am

Sounds very tough TBB .... "soon home to slide the lid on the Sarcophagus" - quite an image.

No glib health advice from me that can help. But there is pride in the struggle.

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean Monday, 7 Nov 2022 at 7:09am

Wow t b b
I was wondering if you would have a take on this article.

The memorized waves shall forever exist.
"I surf for those who can't".

Cattsy's picture
Cattsy's picture
Cattsy Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 at 9:30pm

A great article with some quality comments and a lot of good advice for us over 65yr olds! Keep the old man out!!

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Monday, 31 Oct 2022 at 9:02am

For consistent lifelong surfers, at what age do you think the 'tipping point' is? Ie: how long until you question that paddle out, start blowing take offs due to slow pop up, etc.

Backy58's picture
Backy58's picture
Backy58 Monday, 31 Oct 2022 at 9:55am

I dont normally post comments but this story took my eye. If you can, keep surfing in any form on anything. I lost my partner, my house and my job recently at +60 and the only 2 things keeping my life together are surfing and my best mate.....my dog. Surfing is a discipline that has positive effects on so many things in life. Get out there mate.

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow Monday, 31 Oct 2022 at 10:52am

That must be tough Backy. Sounds like you've got a great outlook. All the best

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bazanderson Monday, 31 Oct 2022 at 3:04pm

JD,
You just picked exactly what's on my mind ......
Currently, at 72 years, ticking off a bucket list item here at Pasta Point in the Maldives, paddling a lot trying to unstrap my suspended mojo.
Accepting my hesitation is not easy,
The saying " I use to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure" keeps appearing.
But the feel of tropical water and breeze along with the tropical adores are a blessing to behold.
Will keep paddling.
Thanks for the honest share.
Baz

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Monday, 31 Oct 2022 at 4:02pm

Surfing is fun but can be used as your personal trainer / task master motivating you to maintain some health and fitness.

The slip and slide into becoming soft and flabby is potentially there at almost any age. But for many non surfers there is little apparent price to pay in day to day life. I remember one colleague in my first job who got married, settled in to hearty lunches at the cafeteria and developed a very large middle-aged spread in the space of two years decades too soon.

In contrast, for the surfer, a four to six foot beachbreak just punishes the unfit. Even easier waves can be a struggle. Many walk away.

But if you switch the tough shorebreak or missed take-offs it into a motivator, you may just hold off old age by decades. Who needs a personal trainer when visions of perfect surf can do the job for free.

To keep it fun though, pick and choose your days when you really feel it or know the waves and crowd situation suits your fun zone.

As DSDS said in another post, don't be one of those grim faced [email protected]@kers in the lineup at the local point, fighting for your share in the peak crowd times, who is just out there because of habit, FOMO ..... or perhaps they have no real idea why anymore.

DaWaveslave's picture
DaWaveslave's picture
DaWaveslave Monday, 31 Oct 2022 at 5:24pm

Yeah, well written. I feel that too. After both shoulder surgery and becoming a middle aged fat bastard- I bought a new bodyboard for me and my son and enjoying that at the moment. Not the same buz, but still riding waves and easier to get barrelled! Happy days!

Crab Nebula's picture
Crab Nebula's picture
Crab Nebula Tuesday, 1 Nov 2022 at 1:45pm

Love the topic.
I would put a positive spin on your 'decision' to paddle out despite the back pain (or own rage against the dying light). You did so because it is still accessible, you have the ability, and it is still enjoyable to you.
Take one of those things out of the equation and surfing is trending to extinction.

Will I rage against the dying light (the night)? I would rather say that I will make the most of the daylight within the best of my current ability and will embrace the darkness/night when it comes. It is important to make the distinction between the dying light and something more fleeting like a setback. So long I am able to and get enjoyment, I will not try and fight the night but utilise the day.
Is there a difference?
Yes.
To fight against the dying light and not go quietly into the night is to cling to a fixed idea or expectation in an everchanging world. It will cause you harm as your objective is futile. To embrace the night as you did the day, is to make the most of the present. What other 'choice' have you got?
Surfing through the pain barrier, to the best of your ability is making the most of your opportunity and ability and does little to halt inevitability. Adapting isnt prolonging inevitability, but making the most of your ability that is in flux: Making the most of the light that is left. The adaptation is not the same as the previous state either.
While surfing is still my most enjoyable past time, when the time comes that I no longer enjoy it because the body fails to allow me to access the enjoyable aspects of it (or other), I presume it to be quite liberating in a sense. I could try to modify the form but I cannot force myself to like it. It is what it is. The night has come. No kicking and screaming will bring the light back. I am forced to move on to some new territory. Surfing wont be calling me- blinding me. Perhaps in darkness before dawn I will see more: See the wood for the Tree-3s.
There is no free will, just hard determinism. Accept the night is coming and let go when it falls. There is no other healthy way.

icandig's picture
icandig's picture
icandig Monday, 7 Nov 2022 at 8:48pm

If struggling to stand, you could try this...I have no qualms about gut sliding. If (when) I get to a stage where I can't stand - I'll lie down..

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-06/gut-slider-surfboard-surfing-fitn...