INSIDE PEAK-May 15, 2015
In 2001 a remarkable entertaining and inspirational video documentary called Surfing for Life was released, detailing the fascinating lives of nine heroic role models who are “following their bliss” through actively surfing into their seventh, eighth and ninth decades. “SURFING FOR LIFE not only challenges ageism, it also weaves a tapestry of unforgettable stories that embody many universal aspects of the human experience. The surfers’ tales reveal, among many lessons, courage in the face of adversity, the power of the human spirit and a celebration of values and relationships that contribute to rich, meaningful, well-spent lives.” From the videos press release: “Older surfers provide a great metaphor for how our society is struggling to redefine what it means to grow older. Similar to the Civil rights and Women’s movements, this age wave is tantamount to a movement and involves new behaviors – with new attitudes trying to catch-up. Could it be that “staying young” doesn’t need to be the goal after all, and that “staying well” – physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally – becomes the goal? It’s possible if the term “OLD” can shed some of its unnecessary connotations and stereotypes. The new attitude that is emerging – and supported by lots of medical and psycho-social research – is a view of our later years not dominated by sickness and decline. Rather, the later years can be very vital, satisfying and meaningful periods of our lives.”
Nosara has been described as a “wellness town”, with yoga, healthy food, and surfing leading the way to increased vitality and longevity. We welcome surf enthusiasts of all ages at Safari Surf. When is the best age to start surfing? Whenever you take that first step and paddle out. In this edition of Inside Peak we talk with a few of Nosara’s resident older surfers whom serve to dispel the myth that surfing is just for kids!
OLD GUYS RULE!
The growth in the surfing senior citizen population started with the shift back to longer surfboards following the pivotal “shortboard revolution” of 1967-1970. Older surfers found themselves wanting equipment with better flotation and glide. A new boom in “retro” longboards took hold and mid-range “fun shapes” became popular for their user friendly qualities. Many who had stopped surfing got back on board. Fathers and mothers were surfing with their sons and daughters. Surfing was just too good to leave behind. Here in Nosara we have a healthy population of older surfers. The frequently mellow waves of Playa Guiones invites all to get involved. One look at that gorgeous blue sparkling water is all it takes – how could you not go in?!
Harry Heinke is a well known icon in Playa Guiones. He is often referred to as “The Mayor”.
With his fit, tanned frame and long blond hair and perpetual big smile, he is easy to spot.
This guy is almost 65 years old?
“I first tried surfing in 1967 on a 9’6″ Gordon & Smith longboard – Virginia Beach, VA – no leashes back then, so a LOT of swimming. “Surfaried” to Cocoa Beach, FL the next year with 2 high school buddies in a VW bug and 3 longboards – slept in a state park until the park rangers ran us off. Went to college in western part of VA (Va. Tech) and worked summers to put myself through school and then got a ‘real’ job, so did not take up surfing again until mid-80’s. Started going to Hawaii – made 7 trips – heard about Costa Rica via Surfing magazine and came to CR in 1992 – found Nosara in 1994 after somebody in Tamarindo told me about it – a ‘secret spot’ he said, “don’t tell anybody”! Although I don’t rip it up like the 20-somethings we have here at Guiones, I feel good and still have fun at my age – will be on Medicare in 3 more months…
Vaya con Dios” …..
“THE MAYOR” AT THE OFFICE
At 67 years young Lulu radiates boundless positivity, aloha, and stoke. “ I love love love surfing” she beams, “its my life, what I want to do forever! I started when I was 14 years old in Manhatten Beach, California. I took a 20 year detour with marriage and some bad choices, but
Thank God I got back into it and never looked back. Everything I do; eating, exercise, yoga, swimming, biking, etc. – I do to keep in shape for surfing. I live in Guiones 10 months out of the year and love the warm water, wave consistency, and positive vibes in the water. Back when I started there weren’t so many girls surfing and I felt like one of the guys. Now there are so many good woman surfers here, it’s so great. I plan to continue surfing forever! Age is just a number! Get out there with us!”
“VIDRIO AZUL” – BLUE GLASS…..
Pictured above, John is a dedicated “North End” surfer (along with me!).“I began surfing at age 16 on Long Island at a beach called Gilgo Beach. So I have been surfing about 50 years in the summers. Now summer is all year long since retirement 12 years ago. I still work as a lifeguard supervisor in the summers at Tobay Beach on the south shore of Long Island so when there is surf I am on it. I am beginning my 48th year working on the beach in the summer so other than not surfing in the winters I have always surfed May thru September. As far as surfing into old age, I have never lost my desire to get in the water whenever I can. I think being active keeps you young to a certain extent and surfing is my favorite all time sports activity. Hope I can continue for many years to come”
‘JOHNNY-MAC’ GIVING THE NORTH END A WORKING OVER
“I started surfing in Ocean City, New Jersey back in the early 60’s. We would surf year-round in inferior wetsuits where we taped the seams with masking tape to try to stop the freezing water from getting in. When the ‘Summer of Love’ rolled into town in 1967 everything changed. Surfing back then was more aligned with the counter-culture than the high school football team, pep rallies, and cheerleaders. By the end of that summer I had grown a sun bleached peach-fuzz mustache and sideburns, a burgeoning hipster! We were the original gang of Baby-Boomer surfers in Ocean City. There are only two of us left from that original group who never quit surfing, me and Monk. Everything I did in my life reflected my need for ‘water time’ – where I went to college, career choices, relationships, marriage – all focused on being near an ocean. In 2008 I moved to Nosara with my wife, ‘looking for the seventies’, I like to say. It didn’t take long for me to find my way to Safari Surf, and I have worked there for the last 6 years. Guests seem to get a kick out of this old fossil still stoked and in the water every day. Safari is one of the best things to happen for me here. My wife Emily retired from 35 years of critical care nursing and now makes carrot cake! In two weeks my daughter Amber and granddaughter Jaida are moving here, bringing the family back together again. Pura Vida.
BODY-SURFING WITH DAD AT PLAYA PELADA
MY THREE SURFER GIRLS!
THE ORIGINAL SURFING FOR LIFE CREW (AGES 59-89)
For more on the Surfing for Life documentary: http://www.surfingforlife.com