Healthy Living, Fitness

Senior Surfing: Learning to Ride the Waves in Retirement

Surfing in Retirement
Published on July 13, 2023

Surfing is often associated with youthful energy and adventurous spirits, but who says it's only for the young? Baby boomers across the country are embracing the waves and discovering the joy and exhilaration that surfing brings. From taking lessons and joining surf clubs to reaping the countless physical and mental health benefits, seniors are proving that age is just a number when it comes to riding the waves. 


Starting with the Right Mindset


You don’t have to be a superstar athlete or gold medal swimmer to learn to surf. If you have the desire and are willing to put some time and effort into it, surfing in retirement is an achievable goal! Have fun and make sure to laugh at yourself along the way. The key is being prepared to try and try again. Never give up! If you have grandkids, you’ll be the coolest grandparent on the block!


Preparing for the Surf: Safety First


Before hitting the waves, it's crucial for seniors to prioritize safety and adequately prepare for their surfing adventure. Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind:


Consult with a Physician: 

Talk to your doctor to ensure you're in good physical condition and receive any necessary advice or modifications based on your health profile.


Building a Base Level of Fitness: 

Take long walks, run, or bike to build your cardiovascular fitness. Work on improving core and arm strength as this will help you keep control of your board while you’re in the water. Practice yoga and stretching to help you stay flexible and improve your balance.


Just Keep Swimming:

If you don’t know how to swim, sign up and take lessons. You’ll begin learning to surf in shallow water, but the better swimmer you become, the better surfer you’ll be. 


Proper Equipment: 

Work with a local surf shop to ensure you find the right board. Invest in a high-quality surfboard that suits your skill level and body type. Additionally, wearing a leash, a comfortable wetsuit, and sunscreen with a high SPF is essential for protection against the sun's rays.


Beginner Beaches in the Southeast US


The Southeast US is home to numerous beginner-friendly beaches that offer ideal conditions for seniors to learn and enjoy surfing. Here are some popular spots:


Folly Beach, South Carolina: 

With its gentle waves and wide sandy shore, Folly Beach is perfect for beginners. Local surf schools provide lessons for seniors of all skill levels, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.


Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina: 

Known for its consistent surf conditions, Wrightsville Beach offers a welcoming environment for novice surfers. Surf lessons here focus on building fundamental skills and instilling confidence in the water.


St. Augustine Beach, Florida: 

Surrounded by stunning scenery, St. Augustine Beach boasts small, manageable waves, making it an excellent destination for seniors seeking a laid-back surfing experience. Lessons provided by local surf schools offer individual attention and support.


Surf's Up: Lessons for Seniors


Alongside the picturesque beaches, the Southeast US also offers exceptional surf lessons for individuals or groups. Surf lessons are essential to help you get started! Not only will you learn more quickly, but you’ll be taught proper techniques and important safety tips. Lessons focus on providing a safe and supportive environment while teaching the basics of surfing. Whether you're a complete beginner or looking to improve your skills, these surf schools have got you covered.


  • Isla Surf School (Folly Beach, SC): Carolina Salt Surf Lessons offers group and private lessons for seniors, focusing on balance, technique, and wave selection. Their experienced instructors prioritize safety while fostering a fun and relaxed atmosphere.


  • Tony Silvagni Surf School (Wrightsville Beach, NC): With a friendly and knowledgeable staff, Tony Silvagni Surf School offers beginner lessons for seniors, emphasizing ocean safety and proper board control. They provide all the necessary equipment, making it easy for seniors to jump right into the surfing experience.


  • Aqua East Surf Shop (St. Augustine, FL): Aqua East Surf Shop offers personalized lessons for seniors, with patient instructors who take the time to understand individual needs and pace the lesson accordingly. Their goal is to ensure seniors have a memorable and enjoyable time in the water.


The Benefits of Surfing for Seniors


Surfing offers many benefits for individuals of all ages, and seniors are no exception. Here are a few reasons why surfing has become increasingly popular among older adults:


Physical Fitness: 

Surfing provides a full-body workout that improves strength and cardiovascular health. Paddling through the waves, standing up on the board, and maneuvering through the water engage various muscle groups, contributing to increased mobility, balance, and flexibility. You may wipe out with a big wave, but you’re not likely to have a fall at home.


Mental Well-being: 

The calming effect of being in the water and connecting with nature has a positive impact on mental health. Surfing also promotes mindfulness, as it requires focus and concentration, allowing seniors to escape daily stressors and find inner peace. The challenge keeps you working toward a goal, and once you ride that first wave, the sense of accomplishment is priceless!


Social Interaction: 

Joining a senior surf club or taking surf lessons is a fantastic way for seniors to meet new people, build friendships, and feel a sense of belonging within a vibrant community. Surfing sessions often involve teamwork and collaboration, fostering camaraderie and support among surfers of all ages. Clubs also plan trips creating a fun getaway where great memories are made!


Age Is Just a Wave: Embrace Senior Surfing


Surfing knows no age limits, and seniors are proving that the thrill of riding a wave is a joy that can be experienced at any stage of life. Surf clubs, the physical and mental health benefits, and the abundance of beginner-friendly beaches and surf lessons in the Southeast US make it easier than ever for seniors to dive into the world of surfing. So why wait? Grab your board, catch the wave, and let the ocean be your playground. It's time to embrace the excitement and freedom of senior surfing!

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