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Five Tips for Learning to Surf after 40

This is a guest post from Jay Recinto from Warm Winds Surf Shop on  Rhode Island. While I’m an avid snorkeler, I’ve never tried surfing but I’m willing to listen to what an expert says on the topic.  Here’s Jay. 


Riding The Wave

There’s a saying that, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” A lot of middle-aged men feel that whatever skills they have at this point, that’s it. This belief also applies to sports. Sure, they’re thinking that maybe they can start running. There’s almost nothing to it. You just have to put one foot in front of the other and just do it fast.

But did you know that a lot of middle-aged men are taking up surfing? There’s a common misconception that surfing is a young man’s sport. It’s easy to see why this is the case. After all, it can be physically-demanding.  Some of the best surfers in the world started really early. For example, Brett Simpson, Laura Crane and Mitch Crews started before the age of 12 . Kelly Slater, aka The Michael Jordan of Surfing, started surfing when he was 5 years old, but don’t let this discourage you. For what it’s worth, Slater won the ASP World Tour Champion crown when he was 39 years old. Elissa Steamer traded in her skateboard for a surfboard in her late 40s.

However, just to set expectations, you may want to give up your late-blooming dream of becoming a pro surfer but if you’re willing to hang 10 just for fun, here are five tips:

Are You in Good Shape?

This is the first thing that you have to consider. With the physical demands of the sport, you have to make sure that your body can handle it. This actually applies to beginners of all levels, but it’s more important if you’re in your 40s.

It’s not that big of a deal if you’re just looking to try a lesson or two. But if you want to take it up as a serious hobby, you need to get clearance from your doctor. Let the doctor know that you’re planning to take up surfing so he can advise accordingly. While surfing  can help you get in shape as it will burn 200 to 400 calories an hour, it’s a good idea to complement that with a fitness routine to lose that spare tire around your waist. After all, you wouldn’t want other surfers to refer to you as a Grey Belly.

The challenge in surfing is not really your age, it’s your weight. If you’re overweight, the mere act of getting to the standing position may prove to be an insurmountable challenge. Think of it as doing push-ups, but on a moving platform.

Here’s some good news. Surfing is a low impact sport compared to sports like running and basketball. This means that it’s easier on the joints

Ignore what Other People will be Saying

You’ll get a lot of haters. Unfortunately, some surfers feel that you shouldn’t crowd their spot simply because you didn’t start young like they did. They’ll call you names. They’ll laugh at you as you join surf lessons with 8 to 10 year olds.

Should you care? Nope. Just because you didn’t start surfing as a baby doesn’t give you less of a right to surf. They should be envious of you because even at an advanced age, you know what you want and you’re getting it.

Get Lessons

You may think that lessons are just for kids, but you’ll be surprised to know that there are also a lot of adults signing up for lessons. They’re just like you.  Forget the fact that you’re taking the lessons with young ‘uns.

Get the Right Gear

Should you buy a surfboard before getting your first lesson? Not so fast. You may want to consider getting a rental first. This is because you don’t really know if it’s something that you’d want to pursue later on.

Rent a surfboard first and use that to attend a couple of lessons. If you feel that it’s not for you, then it’s no big deal. At least you’ve tried. If you feel that it’s something that you can do as a hobby, then that’s when you can invest on a surfboard.

As a general rule for a beginner surfboard, get the biggest foam board that you can carry. Bigger is better if you’re a beginner. Get at least an 8 foot board, although something over 9’6” is ideal.

You may also need a wetsuit if you plan on surfing on cold water. If not, then board shorts will do.

That’s basically it – a big foam board and a wetsuit or board shorts. You can also get a surfboard leash and some surf wax.

Make it a Family Thing

One of the best things about surfing is it’s for the whole family. It’s a sport that can be enjoyed by anyone – young or old, man or woman. So attend surf lessons as a family. Before you know it, you’ll be planning your weekend surfing trips together.

Start Now!

As you can see, learning to surf at 40 is possible.  It’s like learning how to ride a bike, you just have to get started.

Thumbs Up on The Board

Thumbs Up on The Board


Author Bio

Jay Recinto works  for Warm Winds Surf Shop by the Narragansett Beach in Rhode Island. At 35 years old, he’s no spring chicken, but he craves the challenge of outperforming guys half his age. His success rate is rather low, but can’t fault a dude for trying.

Disclaimer (for the litigious-minded)

While surfing is generally a safe sport, it’s still your responsibility to ensure that proper measures are in place for your safety. The writer and the site’s owner cannot be held responsible for any injuries that you may incur if you do decide to try surfing with the help of these tips.  You and you alone are responsible for whatever the outcome is of your decision to try surfing.

Life’s Simple Pleasures

Moon Over Montague Beach

Every now and then I dedicate a post to little pleasures that; if they do not bring joy then they at least help me  get through the day.

BTW:  I had planned to write a post on the value of mediocrity but it came out stilted and preachy, so I abandoned it in favour of lighter fare:

Herewith are the simple pleasures of this mid-life man in no particular order of importance:

  1. Drink


Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.  Benjamin Franklin

After a 27 year hiatus, I’ve begun drinking beer again.  Not just any beer but Crabbies  an alcoholic ginger beer.  I was introduced to it by my friend the gynaecologist.  If you are not a Bahamian you won’t see the joke in that.  Since I drink about one beer every other month, I should finish a case of it by the middle of 2017.  The beer is sold at Liquid Courage.


  1. Music


Music is the universal language of mankind.   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The type of music I’m listening to any given time is dependent upon the task at hand.  I have no real favourite genre.  Click the links and enjoy:


Soothing Classical Music Compilation – Writing at home or work.  Same music on repeat keeps me calm and (sometimes) focused:

Two Steps from Hell Compilations:  Cleaning my house, workshop, desk or any other unpleasant task that just has to be done.


Our Samplus or other Chill Mixes by Stay See – Sunday afternoons, light reading, any other opportunity to kick back and relax.  Warning: They’ve taken to inserting blaring ads in the middle of the track which definitely harshes the mellow.


Workout with weights/before contentious meetings at work – Electric Pow Wow Drums by A Tribe Called Red


Before I start woodturning – Heavy by Gucci Mane 


  1. Reading


Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.    Mortimer J. Adler


The Way of the SEAL

Written by a former Navy SEAL Commander this book lays out through drills and exercises methods  to find your purpose, develop your focus, and forge mental toughness.  My favourite line in the book is the Smokejumpers Creed “Do today what others won’t; do tomorrow what others can’t”


Small Move Big Change.

Resolutions, why are they so hard to keep? This book argues that we most of our behaviours run on autopilot and so we do what we always do even when we want to do better.  By making microresolutions (small targeted resolutions) we have a better chance of changing our behaviour.  Since I have problems going to bed on time, my microresolution is to “Turn off all lights at 11:00 pm”. By doing this I avoid staying up until 2:00 am 


  1. Watching


I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts. Orson Welles


The Story of God – A very broad topic.The show hosted by Morgan Freeman is interesting but shallow. National Geographic Channel


Vikings – Deceit, treachery, nation building, people being killed with war axes, swords and arrows.  Somehow it reminds me of work but with less treachery and more axes. The History Channel


The School of Life – Everything you really should have learned or they tried to teach you in school but condensed into five-minute lessons with nice pictures.  Here is my current favourite on Wisdom. Youtube


Thug Notes – Classics of Western Literature as interpreted by an insightful african-american gangsta.  Some of the books covered include; Romeo and Juliet, Les Miserables, The Fountainhead, Of Mice and Men, and more current fair such as The Life of Pi and The Hunger Games.


  1.     Hobbies


When your hobbies get in the way of your work – that’s OK; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves… well. Steve Martin


The quote explains it best.  I like taking pictures of the Moon over Montague Beach.


Moon Over Montague Beach

Moon Over Montague Beach

That’s my list of current entertainment, what’s yours. Let me know in the comments.



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