One of the questions that I get asked pretty constantly is how I am able to keep surfing most everyday at my semi mature station in life. In other words, “How does a geezer like you stay out there all the time?” I should preface this to say that it is normally other geezers who are asking this question. When you are young you don’t even think about it, you just do it and there are little or no physical consequences. Geeze, I remember being able to surf all day, like 10 hours, and then woof down a half gallon of ice cream before heading to the dance. Hahaha, ok I just realized that sounded just like the “and I walked ten miles through the snow to get to school and didn’t even have a pair of shoes to wear,” kinda thing. But, you get the idea. When you are 20 your body just keeps going and you don’t think about it. When you get a bit older you start to get sore, your body aches, you get tired and you start feeling like it might be a good idea to “take a recovery break today.” I see guys missing really good days because they are sore and their body just hurts too much to give it another go. This is something I try to avoid as I hate missing good days. At my age you don’t want to miss anything, I mean ya just never know.
So, here is my little guide on how to keep an older surfing body in tune so that you can surf as much as possible without pain. First off, don’t let yourself get fat like I am because it makes it that much harder on yourself. I must like it to be hard because I stay fat, but I really do not recommend it. One key to staying in the water is to pace yourself time wise in the water within what you feel good with. Sometimes it is not so much how long you surf but more how hard you surf while you are out there. If you go out and sit there for 2 hours and only ride a few waves, socializing and trying to pick up babes, it’s not as much of a workout as if you surf hard for one hour, riding a ton of waves and going for it. Know your threshold as far as endurance. It is when you push past it that your body really gets angry and you pay the price afterwards. When you start getting noodle armed it’s time to go in.
Secondly, it is super important to stay hydrated. Make sure you drink some water before you surf and have some on hand after you get out. Even though you are in the water your body needs fluids. This is especially true when surfing in the tropics or warm climates. Coffee, cokes, beer and all that stuff does not hydrate you, just the opposite. Drink a lot of water or some sort of hydrating drink like Gatorade etc. This is very important to muscle recovery. If you get a lot of cramps it never hurts to take a pinch of salt here and there too.
I am a firm believer in massage and I think the older you get the more important it is to help your body come back from strenuous activity, like surfing. It also helps get your body ready for it, much like stretching and yoga. A massage a day can work wonders on keeping you surfing. Of course for most people getting a massage everyday is impossible, either for the expense or just the time it takes out of your day or night. Years ago I got one of those great massage chairs that you sometimes see in stores and like to sit in and wish you had one at home. It is a HUMAN TOUCH massage chair that is made by a company called; you guessed it, Human Touch, out of Long Beach. It feels like a real person and it is fabulous. A few minutes in the morning just before I paddle out to loosen me up a bit, a short sesson after surfing and 15 or 20 minutes in the evening is a perfect massage chair daily regime. I can’t even come close to telling you how great this is for my old geezer body and I strongly recommend one.
If you want to stay in the water as much as possible and you are middle aged or older you might want to consider my little suggestions here. If you feel good you keep the stoke. And if you have the stoke then you paddle out. Simple deal.