Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Monday, March 15, 2010

a call for authors to contribute..

OK, last check showed we have 14 wise and witty wordsmiths on board...but only two have contributed! Time to suit up and paddle out, boys. Fish or cut bait. Come on in, the water's fine! hahaha

Meantime, here's some more brain food for the ageing surfer:


I´m 50 now;

I have a 6´0" (kneeboard); a 8´0", quad, and 2 longboards, 9´2" and 9´6"

I still want a mid gun an another performance longboard;

Each time I surf is about 3 hours continuos, with no big problems, but I traine a lot, and principally I lost weight (about 30 pounds)

that was what I needed to get easily in shape in the board..


I just turned 36, but will chime in anyway because I just got back in the water this last August following a 5-7 year period of pretty much not surfing. I started surfing at age 13 and went hard at it until college. At 20 years old I had radical shoulder/back surgery to remove a large tumor. I was left with a fairly full range of motion but compromised paddling strength. I had been shortboarding up to that time, but living far from the water, I was not particularly proficient. Longboards allowed me to enjoy my time out a lot more and get many more waves.

This past August I started out again on my longboards. I was in pretty poor physical condition, having worked a desk job for 10 years and getting little exercise. I was getting maybe 5-7 waves per session and missing lots of waves I paddled for that I should have gotten. But after a month of sessions twice a week, I noticed a lot of improvement.

Lucky to live closer to the surf now, and after two months of consistent sessions, I began to feel very proficient on the longboard. My wave count quadrupled, I rarely missed waves, and was having a great time. Where I had before felt exerted after a session in the surf, I now had plenty of energy. I went from a 9'8" log to a 9'2" HP longboard and felt that was still a lot of board. So I made the jump to a 6'10" Fish type board.

The first few sessions on it, I got waves, but missed too many, felt exhausted and discouraged. But after about a month I started to really have fun on it. I went to a 6'4" Fish after that and it felt microscopic to me -- for about 2-3 sessions. Then it started clicking and I got lots of waves on it.

Lately I shaped myself my a 6'4" HP quad and needed a session to get used to it as well - but the second day out in head-high surf, I had the time of my life.

So my point, like the others above, is that conditioning has to do with a lot more than age. Getting out as much as possible is critical, and if that doesn't work, exercise however you can between sessions. I do a lot of hiking now, light weights, etc to stay sharp during busy workweeks or when it's raining.

Finally, try to stay away from the real crowded breaks if you aren't surfing a lot. It's just an exercise in frustration. I spent a lot of days riding closeouts at uncrowded beachbreaks with the smaller boards to work on my paddling and timing, and heck, just getting to my feet. 20 terrible waves are a lot better for getting your reflexes dialed than waiting hours for a few waves with tons of people dropping in right and left.

After this fairly intensive program for me, I am happy to say that I'm surfing better now than I was at age 18! I want to move down a bit more in board size before hitting the plateau, but my paddling strength is miles ahead of where it was six months ago.

PS - I have tons of grey hair so I am qualified to post in this thread :-)


around the same age a Keith and probably get 1/3 to 1/4 of the water as the rest of the hardcore guys here but I still prefer to ride the shortest board that I can paddle.

But you're right pretty much everyone my age is on a longboard these days so its tough competeing against them and guys 15-20 years younger also riding longboards or others young enough to be my kids or grandkids riding the same size equipment as me.

I find surfing longer boards make me lazy, slower and when it's big they can be a bear to manage paddling out. Duck diving a 6'2" when you get caught inside is a breeze compared to a 9' or 10' longboard. I can't even imaging the pounding the SUP guys take when they get caught inside a breaker.

I don't catch as many waves as I would with a bigger board to the chagrine of the old timers who think guys like me are fools but when I do get a good one I have a lot more fun and can do alot more on the wave than I can with the 4-6 extra feet of foam in front of me.

Its funny that to some surfing's has become how many waves you can catch in session. I actually have an alarm go off in my head if i think I'm catching too many in respect to those sitting in the lineup with me and I'll back off letting waves go or take my time getting back out.

Sometimes on my shortboard i might get single wave in an entire session because of the crowds. But I'll make the most of it and then just go in and go home. I can always come back later when no one else wants to surf anymore in the hot surf or windy side or on shore conditions.

When we were young and lived right on the beach we surfed all day long when ever we wanted to so surfing really didn't mean that much it was just our play time.

Sometimes you'd just paddle out and just ay down on your board to get a sun tan and get away from doing your chores on land. Didn't even bother at catching a wave or looking towards the shore where you might see your parents trying to flag you to come in to help out.

Surfing is so different now its almost the same as going to the gym for the majority who don't have the benefit of living right on the beach. I find that those who still are blessd to live on the beach and can surf any time they want treat surfing differently that most of the rest in the water.

Also grey is good



"Since getting (back) into surfing at the tender young age of 54, I'm finding being a grem again at my age is a challenge. Of course, I've got many years of surfing behind me, but after a 23 year layoff, its taking a little time to regain my sea legs, and my confidence in the lineup!"

I left surfing the fall of 74' and came back to into it in 1990 when I returned home.

Alot happened in surfing between 1974 and 1990 and I came back a white whale more at home mono skiing whistler powder than swimming in the ocean.

I started off with a custom pale pink (for the mountaineering phrase "think pink")10' Jim Turnbull Country Surfboards bonzer bottomed longboard thruster Ed Searfoss made me and in a couple years worked my way down to a painted white 6' experimental epoxy/EPS channel bottom winged fish, just like in that movie Northshore. Both boards provided me unbelievable surfing memories but it was alot of effort working my way from the 10' down to the 6' and that was 20 years ago. And in the end whether I accept it or not I was still a much better surfer/swimmer at 16-18 than I am now at 53.

But it doesn't mean I'm not having as much fun..
today's illustration is a mural I painted for a friend, hope you enjoy!

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