Young guys get old

I am 35, which is still young in my opinion, but my story is a bit different than most, similar to many.

I grew up surfing and, of course, shortboards were all the rage. I started about eight on different older guys boards (Leucadia) and got my own board (a six foot Doyle) when I was ten. In one year I was on to a fish, followed by a regular modern shape within a couple years after that.

Unfortunately, once I really started getting better I forgot about stoke. To us it was all about performance. Who could surf the best?

Later, when I was 17 I fell in love, and for a year the only thing getting wet was NOT my surfboard, if you know what I mean (elbow, elbow).

Then, after that cruel, heartless, evil thing dumped me, and I spent three weeks crying, I paddle out. I was still young so getting out wasn’t too bad. I caught a perfect, six foot glassy wave (nobody out—strange) and rode it all the way to the beach. I was STOKED. Then, out of nowhere, while cruising the inside and setting up an off the lip, the board simply broke clean in half. Very odd. So, I ordered up a new one and my love of surfing was rekindled.

Later (female again) I moved to Georgia and even sold my board (thinking I wouldn’t be surfing for awhile). What was I thinking? It wasn’t but a couple months before I realized I couldn’t get it out of my system that easily. So I went about once a month to the beach to surf crappy little waist high wind swell (on my brother’s board that I stole from him—Okay, I took it with heavy protest, but nevertheless took it----MINE!).

Fast forward: I moved back in May of 01 and boy was I out of shape. The South has a way of doing that to you. So, I bought another board (6,10) and again rekindled the stoke. Then the boards kept piling up. I bought more and more, each time giving some lame excuse to my angry wife (after I bought each board, of course—better to ask forgiveness).

Eventually I narrowed it down to the half dozen I have now, and they all work well. Each one surfs its purpose. So, even if the waves are crappy and small I have a board for it. If the waves are chest to head high and perfect, I have a board for it. When the waves are slightly overhead to double, I got it covered, baby. And when it’s thirty feet and grinding I have it…I don’t have that covered and I don’t want to.

Now, staying in shape I finally figured out. PADDLE. Two years ago I decided to surf the North Shore. Talk about a humbling experience. After that I decided to paddle. So, I started paddling about 1.5 miles (from the Tamarack parking lot to Offshore Surfshop and back. Then, to the powerplant and back (two miles). Then, the the power plant and back and then to tower number eight and back (three miles). At first I would count one fifty strokes and then rest. Then another fifty. Soon it became one hundred. Then two hundred. Then three hundred. I never made it to four hundred because I finally hit a break through. Between about three hundred and four hundred my body did something that I thought was almost miraculous. It didn’t need to count anymore. In other words, I could travel pretty much as far as I wanted without a rest (up to about five miles) and it was the best feeling. Plus, once I got to that point I found that I only had to paddle long distance about one per week to stay in shape. And it doesn’t take that long. I can paddle two miles (my usual distance) in about thirty minutes, sometimes less, and then there is still plenty of time for surfing.

Keep in mind that I only paddle long distances on a ten foot, thick longboard, but it helps my shortboarding as well, and ever since then I haven’t had any trouble getting out on bigger days or making the looooong paddle out at the point breaks without resting.

So, take my advice and paddle. You don’t have to do the Catalina classic to stay in shape. If you can do two miles without resting you will be in awesome paddling condition.

Now, if only I can discipline myself to do that with my swimming I might actually be able to surf big waves. But it’s really hard for me to get in the ocean without a board. I love surfing.

I have a confession. At 46 I surf more now than when I was a Kid. But, I go out in some shitty waves. I just like to surf. If its crap I tell myself,“Just 5 waves.” My feet hitthe deck and I go over the falls, it counts. If I’m still having fun after 5 I keep surfing. It is harder to stay in shape. If I dont surf I try to do laps at the pool. This motivates me to surf because riding shitty waves is more fun than swimmin f-ing laps! I think about paddling like Fairmount from time to time,but dang the water is cold with lots of whiteys around here. Fairmont, you moved to Georgia for a girl? I recind my offer of a case of beer and lunch from a few days ago. Kidding! Mike

In two weeks I’ll be 52 and this summer I will be starting my 38th year as a surfer. I’ve been a surfer longer than anything else in life. Although Im not in the greatest shape, I do try to eat healthy and stay fit. It’s not always easy. I don’t get to surf as much as I would like, but I do have a few rules that I follow religously. #1 If Im not having fun I get out of the water. #2 I try to surf “my kind of waves” if it’s crashing, closing out, to hard to get out, or just to darn big, I’ll catch it another day. #3 I try to surf the type of waves that get me stoked. That can be anything from 2’ to 5’. If Im stoked I surf better and lets face it, it’s all about style.

As far as my boards are concerned, Im presently riding long boards and having as much fun as I was in 1966. Right now Im concentrating on shaping longboards, but there are some funboards and a few in the 7’- 8’ range that are bouncing around in my head waiting to be templets as soon as I can find the time to make them happen. The bottom line is ride what you like and the soul will follow.

I stayed out till now, but the thread seems to be getting younger and younger. I’m 36 and more hooked and stoked about surfing than ever. I grew up near the beach and spent a lot of time riding waves: body, boogie, handgun, skim, surf… you name it I tried it. Began waterskiing professionally and the boat wake took priority over the ocean wave. Moved around becoming ocean land locked. That is OK because if I was there, there was a ski boat near by.

Moved back to So Cal in '95 planning to take up surfing but but but but…

Finally walking through Costco, 9’0" Realm, I know I’m one of those evil Asia supporters; I did not know any better, all I knew was I wanted to surf and here was a cheap board that looked good. Went out and had more fun than I ever remeber having on a shortboard. Surfing in highschool in early eighties was all about did you see that, and I did not do much impresive. Got into knee boarding, big waves and late takeoffs. Got every wave I wanted, none of that was my wave stuff.

My discovery of longboarding was great. It was all about feeling the wave and going with the feeling, not ripping the wave a new … {b.t.w. my take on longboarding is it is more about dancing with the wave than look at me - guess that is just a difference perspective}

Now I go surf when ever I can, does not matter what the conditions are. Unfortunately work, waterskiing (still ski pro/international), family (2 little boys) and 1hr+ drive to beach keep me from surfing as much as I would like. I now understand the give it all up to surf mind process, but I am too committed to my wife and kids to make such a drastic transition, but sometimes I do wish I had made that choice earlier.

Now I am 2 months into recovery from a shattered heel (calcanius) and will be several more months before I can surf. It is killing me. So for now it is the dream, the stoke, and reading all your stories that keeps me going till I can paddle out again into the lineup. So until then I am taking up board making and have several boards I plan to build between now and then.

Keep feeling the stoke, how ever it comes, but keep feeling it


P.s. longboarding for me was the answer to getting older. I don’t want to thrash the wave I just want to cruise. It is all about catching the wave and I catch more on the longboard.

Well, I’m new here, but since we’re down to 35, I’ll make it 33. I started out skimboarding at 6, and skateboarding shortly after… skateboarded forever (still skateboarding) but somehow picked up surfing at 15 when a classmate offered to sell me a board. Man, I can still remember the excitement. Everything about surfing got me stoked. The look of the boards, the smell of the wax, the sunsets, and the hurricanes rolling into Florida. I was addicted to the local surf line. Somewhere along the line I sold that board (girlfriend duh) and regretted it ever since. I didn’t do any surfing for a number of yeard, and then one day I just remembered that I was a surfer. Not sure how it happened but I had the itch and I had it BAD. I picked up an egg and paddled out. It was just as fun as I had remembered and I cursed myself for about an hour for ever forgetting. At 33 weighing 185, I’m not going to be any ripping shortboarder… so I accepted the fact and decided I would concentrate on style. I picked up a longboard and it’s a whole world of surfing I just wasn’t even aware of. Watching the kids bounce on knee high slop gives me a good laugh inside… because I was there too. Now it’s all about the glide… going with the wave rather than trying to fight with it. I don’t have any aggression these days and don’t feel the need to run hardcore through my head while trying to slash up a wave. I’d rather glide, carve a bit, run up to the nose, and get long clean rides. It just sort of fits into my soul. I’ve decided I need to ride a board I made myself to increase the high. I guess it helps that the only longboard I could afford has thin glass and soft foam. I’ve been babying it but after a couple weeks the deck looked like the surface of the moon. What a waste of cash. It’s encouragement to make my own. I’m gathering my first run of tools (all hand tools) and digging through the archives every day. I’m printing out threads, and making notes so I can ask questions later if I need to. When I finish digging I’ll order my blank, resin, etc. Yes, I’m glassing it too. I just can’t wait to feel what it’s like to catch a wave on MY board. I don’t care if it looks like a dirty slug, it’ll be solid, and it’ll be exactly what I wanted.


age is only a number…i’ve had the privilege of surf vacationing with the owner of a very well known surfboard company in hawaii. dude is in his mid sixties and rips on a 6’2" squash tail thruster. as long as you maintain fitness you can ride whatever you want, when the conditions permit…i myself am 42 and ride boards ranging from 5’11" fish to 9’8" longboard, depending on the conditions. i feel the key is to log water time to not lose a good fitness base, so you CAN paddle what you WANT to ride…

I agree it is about staying in shape. I just turned 45 and I felt it this winter when i started loggin some water time. I was way out of shape! Been doing kick boxing and I have to say it works pretty good. Especially the stretching! Punching a bag for two minutes straight feels like making a run between sets to the outside! I have always ridden a shortboard and like the feel of a highspeed carve…nothing like it. Have just shaped a 6’4" that I dubbed the “Ultra Fat Boy” Confusing though, was I thinking of me or the board??? Nice and thick (2.625) but definitely still a performance thruster. The family has a funboard for the really small days but when it gets shoulder high and juicy I will be carvin’


i was gonna say im the grommet among you guys …but i think run has the title there…

im in full agreement with keith,ride anything in anything,as long as its a wave and im on a surfboard ,every board has its place ,i have customers who still ride boards youd find a grommet riding even tho there in there 50s ,its just that they have a hard time when its crowded ,so a mal or something else with paddle power is more appropiate for the day…

i drive around in a longwheel base offroad van …with a full quiver that sits in it permanantly,the other day a guy comes up to me in the carpark and says"do you run a surf school or something do ya mate".i said na ,these are just mine, you never know whats each day has in store…

be prepared …the more boards you have ,the less chance you have ,of having a bad surf…



Bert, You are really making guys here envious. Well one guy anyway. All chant…more boards…

Hey Bert - I sure I am not the only one who will be so stoked when you get your dig. cam., as your boards sound sweet - But, what about those of us who can’t afford a big quiver, or who don’t want to pack around a bunch of boards. One day, when I get the proverbial going, I’ll show my attempts at interchangeable tails, noses, so I can pack around a variety of options in a small, carryable case.

So, again… What about the minimal “one board quiver,” doable, impossible?

the beauty of building your own boards is, how many you can make for yourself, your family, your friends…


Sure it’s possible, but you can’t cover knee high to 15’, that’s all.

Well, you could, but you’d suffer one end or the other, or lose performance in the middle.

Depends where you live, where you surf, what your size preferences are, your size, and all those factors.

If I had only ONE board for surfing NorCal, and limited to ONE only, it’d be close to a 7’9" x 19 x 2.5" thick squash tail, with 3 boxes, all able to handle 7" fins.

Yes paddling.

40 years young and riding big guy shortboards…funboards in knee high mush.

My goal is to ride SBs to at least 50.

Now Im the proud new owner of an old 9.5 ft epoxy sailboard in mint condition for $35. Very little rocker past the nose…I think its a slalom board.

Paddling this thing is totally different…even a longboard. Three strokes and youre off!

Maintaining paddling ryhthym in flat water is amazing. I can also knee paddle it…helps to stretch the lower back. I intend to use before surf trips. What a steal!

Surf…exercise…stretch…detox…youre only as old as you feel.

Here in Berkeley, they are a dime a dozen, and you can get them for a song and a dance.

I’ve got one that weighs 11lbs… It probably would paddle OK.

But I normally paddle with my smaller, heavier glass boards, to get a similar feel to a surfboard. Most daze, my car sits under 4 windsurf boards, and carries one kiteboard, so no room for any of my surfboards.