They say that time waits for no one, and anyone who has started to feel those twinges in their knees, shoulders, and back knows that aging is an unfortunate inevitability.
While there are always freaks and exceptions to the rule—47-year-old Kelly Slater, 62-year-old Michael Ho, and 69-year-old Gary Linden come to mind—the reality for most of us is that getting old means reining in our desire to charge and focusing on waves that are a bit more user-friendly. Fortunately, there are a lot of waves like that out there—and if Doc Paskowitz and Doc Ball are any indication, there’s no reason we can’t all surf the mellow rollers of Waikiki and San Onofre into our 90s.
In the meantime, the best way to stay young is to surf, explore, and never stop moving. Whether you are just breaking into your 50s or solidly in your 70s, here are four surf zones worth visiting while you are still young (or at least young at heart):
If Mainland Mexico is where old surfers go to die, then Baja is where they go to thrive. Full of frisky, fun, right-hand point breaks that peel endlessly over sand on both north and south swells, Baja is as good a place as any to trim your way into the senior years. Relatively safe and easily accessible from California, it still maintains the dusty, barren romanticism of surfing’s golden years—a place where you can get away from the crowds and enjoy a relaxing reunion with the Pacific Ocean.
When to go to Baja? See HERE.
In terms of surf, northern Peru is the goofyfooter’s Baja. Left-hand points abound, ranging from hollow and hairy to slow and leisurely—with a lot of rippable options in between. Cabo Blanco in your 40s, Lobitos in your 50s, Chicama in your 60s and 70s—there’s no such thing as “past your prime” if you allow your definition of “world class waves” to grow with you.
Keep an eye on the Chicama forecast, HERE.
Like the other zones on this list, Sri Lanka brings together adventure, affordability, great food, and a ton of relatively uncrowded sand-bottom point breaks—basically the perfect place for an aging surfer to retire.
Forecast: Sri Lanka.
Let’s be honest—half of the world’s retirement-age surfers already live in Costa Rica, for all of the reasons we have listed above. It’s cheap, it’s safe, it’s warm, and all their friends live there too. Basically, Costa Rica is what Florida wishes it were—a retirement community with hundreds of consistent points and softish beach breaks—and a handful of spicier waves for those looking to relive their glory days.
The complete guide to surfing in Costa Rica, HERE.
Cover shot: Greg Stahl