The picture that comes to mind when discussing the elderly and the retired is one that borders on frailty, sickness, boredom, and loneliness. In fact, statistics reveal that senior citizens die more from the effects of being alone and depression than from being sick. While nature takes its course in the occurrence of the first two characteristics, the latter two can be in control of the people in question.
And take control is what the Silver Surfers have done and continue to do. This group of retirees and friends ensure that they cast out any feelings of gloom and doom by surfing in the frigid waters of the South Ocean of Australia. They storm the waters daily, every day in the last decade. And they do it grinning and waving at fellow surfers and onlookers, on a boogie!
A regular member of the gang, Mrs. Parker, states that the name of the group was coined by her daughter-in-law. And just in case you hear the group being addressed by another alias- Granny Grommets, know that the term originated from the grand-daughter of another member.
Mrs. Parker lets out that she never learned to surf as a child. Upon receiving a gift of a bodyboard from her son, some eleven years earlier, she decided to take it to sea and test the waters, together with a friend. While there, they met a group of elderly divers and the rest, as is said, is history. Ten long years and counting!
A member of the group, who is also a retired medical practitioner, Michael Page, speaks highly of the exercise. Together with his friend, Mrs. Parker and others, he never missed a day in the warm and inviting waters of the ocean.
He opines that while the activity is a time for great fun and unwinding, there are health benefits too. He states:’ It’s great exercise, walking out against the waves…”
It seems boogie-boarding also increases the retiree’s feel-good coefficient as well: “but I’m just happy in waist-deep water and getting long waves, looking along the wave and seeing everyone smiling,” he said
Mrs. Parker agrees with the latter postulation, describing the magical medical benefits in the following words: “Sometimes as you’re getting in the water, you can see a whole group of people all smiling,”
The group keeps the excitement alive and well, by sending improvised text messages to members. One such text message might read thus: ‘Doctor’s Appointment at the beach at 9 o’clock.’
And what long stretches for doctors’ appointments it turns out to be, as the surfing season stretches from October to May each year.
The oldest member of the group, Max Harrop, still boogie-boards at 87 years of age. For him, learning in retirement was easy because of the supportive spirit in the group.
This sense of shared fun manifests in the way Silver Surfers (or the Granny Grommets) take on the waves. Unlike younger, stand-up surfers who like to take ownership of the wave, these retirees prefer a ‘party wave,’ whereas many boogie boarders as possible jump on the same wave and surf in unison.
So the next time you think about keeping yourself busy in retirement, look no further than becoming a member of the Silver Surfers!