Surfin’ Safari in Your Sixties

Jun 10, 2022

It feels somewhat counterintuitive to contemplate taking up a sport like surfing in your sixties. Anyone who ever tried that tricky obsession when relatively young (even once!) knows it rewards all the physical characteristics we oldsters tend to lack: balance, endurance, flexibility, strength and – above all – the ability to stand up quickly from a prone position into an unstable standing position. Not easy even as a teen!!

Dreams Don’t Die

However compelling the old Beach Boys favourite ‘Surfin’ Safari’ continues to be as a reminder of a misspent youth, the idea of considering a pastime emblematic of washboard stomachs, ice-cold beers and a free-and-beachy lifestyle as an appropriate athletic sideline for seniors may seem far-fetched.

But, as we all know, our personal dreams never really die. And they’re achievable, at least if Jeanne Keith-Farris of Ucluelet – a township on the west coast of Vancouver Island – is anyone to go by.

Surf’s Up!

As reported recently in a spirited story in The Globe and Mail it was there, “in the sand and surf of the Pacific Ocean, that her surfing dreams were reignited.”

A native of California, Ms. Keith-Farris spent most of her working life in land-locked places such as Colorado and Calgary where the closest thing to surfing was downhill skiing. But when her working years came to an end, and she and her husband retired to the west coast of Vancouver Island where the surf roars in from the Pacific Ocean – hey presto! – she was hooked on the sport once again.

“It’s a little daunting, starting, because I would have been 56 or so then,” she was reported as saying. As Ms. Keith-Farris recalls, she played around in the surf for the first few years, but these nominal encounters lacked the edge that only the real thing delivers: “That was not cutting it,” she concedes, “that was not surfing.”

Hang Ten

Then came that cool precipitating incident which truly re-energized her passion for the sport: “A few months before my 60th birthday I caught my first so-called green wave (an unbroken wave, the kind you see in surf pictures) and just got hooked on it,” she was reported as saying.

“You get that one wave out there that one day and you’ve just got to find that magic again because it feels so amazing. And I won’t get them as often as some of the younger kids, but it keeps happening and I keep going for more, trying to find that elusive better wave.”

Ms. Keith-Farris is 65 now, and the proud owner of seven surfboards. She hits the waves nearly every day when the weather cooperates and has introduced her daughter to the sport. She inspired her daughter to learn and together they have gone three times to a surfing school – Las Olas Surf – in Las Olas, Mexico.

“I built up strength and endurance, and then became obsessed with getting better,” she says. “I do keep improving and that’s what keeps me going out. It’s slow progress at this stage in my life.”

The great thing about surfing is that the physical preparation for the sport delivers benefits that extend far beyond the sport itself.

Regardless of age, Ms. Keith-Farris “advises those who want to learn to prepare by starting with some basic yoga stretches, including lunges and forward folds, and some arm strengthening exercises such as arm circles and push-ups or planks.”

“Anything that gets that upper body strong because the paddling is really what takes it out of you,” she was quoted as saying.

What a fun way to stay in shape!

Recent Posts

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: May 20th – May 24th

Market developments Equities: U.S. stocks climbed after data showed consumers tempered their inflation expectations in late May. The S&P 500 had its fifth straight week of gains, the longest bullish streak since February. It topped 5,300 and the Nasdaq 100 rose...

NEI Monthly Market Insights: April 2024

Robust earnings helped mitigate fear of persistent inflation Market sentiment turned bearish in early April for both equity and fixed income markets as sticky U.S. inflation data fuelled market fears that central banks will not ease monetary policy as quickly as...

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: May 13th – May 17th

Market developments Equities: The stock market has been rallying recently, with the S&P 500 on track for its fourth straight weekly gain. This has been fueled by hopes of Federal Reserve rate cuts following some positive inflation reports, as well as strong...

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: May 6th – May 10th

Market developments Equities: The S&P 500 closed near 5,225, for its third straight weekly gain, while the Dow rose for an eighth consecutive session. The stock market lost momentum after economic data pointed to a slowing economy amid persistent inflationary...

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: April 29th – May 3rd

Market developments Equities: The economic data to close out the week was seen as a "Goldilocks" scenario by markets, indicating the economy is cooling enough for the Federal Reserve to likely start cutting interest rates as soon as September. The S&P 500 rose by...

NEI Monthly Market Insights: March 2024

Unstoppable equity market rally on soft landing narrative Resilient economic data throughout the first quarter supported the soft landing narrative and pushed equity markets around the world to new record highs. Global equities posted strong returns with the MSCI ACWI...