Yes, you can learn to surf if you are over the age of 45! If learning to surf is something you have dreamed about or felt compelled to try, we say go for it! It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like we know you can learn to surf at any age! Listen to that longing within yourself if you are called to the ocean. At Pura Vida Adventures, we regularly have guests well into what is typically considered “retirement age .” You can read more about one of our guests and her experience here.
If you are choosing to learn to surf, we applaud you! We also encourage you to be gentle with yourself throughout the process. We know this is easier said than done, but please don’t beat yourself up, compare yourself to others, and get embarrassed or disappointed by your progress, especially if it feels like others in your surf camp are more successful.
Sometimes beginners feel like they don’t belong in the water with other surfers. It can be intimidating when you are in the line-up, trying to determine what wave is right for you or sitting on your board gathering courage. You may not stand on your board even in a small wave close to shore. And that’s okay! When learning to surf, you must check your ego and get comfortable with failing. When it all comes together, the trial and error will all be worth it!
When it comes down to it, we are adults learning to play in the water on a board. Simple as that. Bringing some fun to the experience will make it that much sweeter. There is a steep learning curve. It’s not glamorous. You won’t have sexy “beach waves” after getting tumbled in the surf. You will probably have unexplainable bruises. Learning to surf requires the ability to not take yourself too seriously. Enjoy your time just moving your body and playing in nature.
Surfing is like a dance between you and the ocean. As much as you need to develop the basic skills of paddling to catch a wave and balancing on a board, it is also about reading the ocean, working with it and learning to be comfortable in various conditions in the sea. By doing that, you will become surer of yourself, more comfortable and confident.
It’s not always easy, especially if you are not one of the lucky ones who grew up spending time in the ocean. Learning to read waves, understand the tide, and be comfortable in the water is worth the effort. We encourage you to swim, snorkel, and surf whenever possible to just spend time in the ocean. The more you do that, the more comfortable you will become.
Luckily, surfing is a sport that can meet you where you are physically. But the more surf-specific strength and flexibility you can develop, the easier the surf learning curve will be. It’s hard to replicate surfing actions in an exercise regime, but you can train many muscles used for proper paddling, good pop-ups and turns.
Pilates is great for balance, strength and alignment. Yoga can help you with flexibility and breath control. Plyometrics develop explosive power and bursts of cardio. By practicing these types of exercises, you will be proactively avoiding injury. Someone who is deconditioned or tight may be more prone to hurting themselves because of how physically active surfing is. Of course, surfing is a fantastic workout in its own right, promoting strength, balance, coordination and cardiovascular conditioning.
Sure, you could rent a board from a local surf shop and head out into the waves on your own. The pros make it look easy, so it is understandable why so many people think they can teach themselves. But the best way to achieve quick success and minimize frustrations and the possibility of injuries is to be guided by an instructor.
Surf instructors can provide step-by-step instructions on how to ride a wave safely. They are a wealth of knowledge and usually can’t wait to share their love of surfing with you. They will help you determine which surfboard is right for you and the best ocean conditions and can also provide personalized lessons suited to you and your ability level.
When learning to surf, regardless of your age, it is essential to remember there are many factors involved, including your physical condition, surf instruction (or lack thereof), and the learning environment. It may not be easy, and you will be much happier if you have realistic expectations of what you can accomplish. Nobody can say how good you will be as a surfer eventually, and we all have to start somewhere. Many of the best surfers in the world didn’t pick up surfing quickly or easily. Besides, who is to say what “best surfer” means anyway? At PVA, we think the best surfer is the one having the most fun! So, we encourage you to look at the small accomplishments and celebrate them as if you dropped in on a double-overhead wave. Regardless of if your accomplishment is standing up on the board for four seconds instead of two, finally paddling out into the line-up, or doing your first turtle roll, we want you to cheer for yourself.
One of the reasons we love surfing here at Pura Vida Adventures is that it is an activity that allows you to be in the moment and go with the flow. When surfing, many people report leaving their stress and worries on shore. You set your own pace. You choose how extreme you want to get. Maybe getting barreled is your goal; maybe it’s graceful longboarding. Whatever it is, it is precisely right.
We love this article about a woman who caught her first green wave when she was 59, and now is completely hooked on surfing. There are a growing number of older adults who are surfing in whatever way makes them happy. And that’s what surfing is about: doing something that makes you happy.
At PVA, we believe you can learn new things at any age, and surfing is at the top of our list. You will gain not just a fun new sport but a way to stay in better physical and mental shape. You will be learning a new option for stress reduction and relaxation. A bonus is the surf community you will join once you learn to surf. We can’t think of a better sport to learn in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond!