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Learning to surf at 56 years old!

See my four YouTube films relating to this blog here

Surfing is something I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to. I’ve always had a fear of the ocean, and hadn’t swam in it until a holiday in Ibiza at 52 years old. I'm now 56, even though reasonably fit, I'm feeling the passing of time and the aggravation of past injuries on my joints.

My four week stay on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, specifically Waikiki, was the ideal opportunity to have a go.

There are many board hire and lesson providers on Waikiki’s beaches, I knew that a lot of them just want to ‘give the tourists a go’ but I wanted more than that. I stopped off at a life-guard station on the beach and asked the guy if he had any recommendations, he said he knew just the man, Louie Ferreira, one of only a handful of licenced and certified Surf Instructors in Waikiki.

Louie came down to the beach to have a chat, and we arranged to meet later that day. My first lesson went well, Louie got me up on my first run, and all subsequent runs that session. I was super stoked, and thought perhaps I’ve found the one thing I’m OK at!

The Lifeguard that introduced me to Louie

At the end of each run I was meant to get down on the board then paddle back, alas often I fell into the drink, which isn’t a big deal except that there’s a rocky reef in Waikiki bay. Getting down onto the board is easier said than done if you’ve lost your balance.

It really is the luck of the draw if you fall awkwardly on the reef, and I learnt the hard way, to always try and land on my feet, which are protected to some degree by reef shoes. During my first lesson I hit the reef with my left butt cheek, hard, it took a few days for my bum bone to stop hurting, and I couldn’t cycle that week which was a pain, as I’d planned to get to the trails.

The lessons are $80 an hour, although Louie doesn’t clock watch at all, usually I tell him when I’ve had enough, on my first session I only did seven runs before my arms were shot, and I’d hurt my bum. It’s a lot more strenuous than it looks, and the longer your run on a wave, the further you have to paddle back to the instructor, and that’s what knackers you.

My second sesh with Louie was with Marcy as well, a Canadian lady I met at the hostel, she was around ten years younger than me, but we got on really well. The lesson fee reduces for two people to $60 each, which makes it a little easier on the wallet!