A downwind master at 70

Updated: Oct 8



Sometime ago I remember someone asked me "who is your role model in paddling?"


I remember I replied something in the line of not being sure I had any role models who came from paddling.


The person on the other side seemed a bit perplexed as he was probably expecting I was driving inspiration from some of the elite paddlers in the surfski community.


For me a role model is a bit more than someone who is good in the sport I love. I would look up to someone with whom I share similar values but not because they are good at paddling.


And then I met Denis...


I went upstairs out of our classroom to pick him up and I was kind of surprised. I saw this guy whose face looked like he was in his mid or late 60s but his walk, his movements seemed to be of a person of a much younger age.


He looked a lot like a surfer dude (later I found out he was actually a surfer) with fast and slightly bouncing walk, dressed in shorts, hoodie and a trucker hat.


He had a strong handshake with the firm grip like someone who was used to hard physical work. Of course few days later he told me he had just built two houses practically doing all the work with the help of a friend and his son...now that's really impressive!


"I am 70 years old"


Denis surfing the tidal race at Bajeta


Of course that didn't add up especially considering he was paddling at a very good speed (translation: it was very challenging to stay with him during paddling).


I thought this would be an inspiring story if maybe I got him to agree to do a short interview about surfski paddling, what motivated him etc.


I was imagining a Q&A type of a blog post but after agreeing to do the interview and me being slack with giving the questions, Denis just went ahead and wrote down his thoughts about surfski and life on a napkin he found in the apartment they were staying at.


So I decided to just post his thoughts as he wrote them down so I avoid directing or influencing his message in any way.


A message from the napkin that is worth reading:


A friends bumper sticker said

“Everyday Paddling Adds a Day to Your Life.”

It’s not how many days of Life we have But how much Life we have in our days.

It’s something special about being in the water, especially Salty Water. Being in the rhythm, motion and fluidity is something we don’t get sitting on the sofa.

To live long well it’s good to do something we can excel in and also something we suck at. Paddling Surfski can fit the file.

  • It’s low impact which is nice compared to other sports which can cause injuries that can take a long time to recover from.

  • It can take some skill that can be easy to begin yet have an endless learning curve. Something we need later in life.

  • What also great about Paddling Surfski is the community is very positive. There is enough room for everyone (unlike surfing). The ocean is big enough.

  • It can also be challenging, something we all need as we get older. To compete with each other in a good sportsman like manner.

I’ve found it very supportive and encouraging.

It’s important to be surrounded by others who are pursuing health and fitness in ways that are sustainable and yet commands growth in abilities and attention.


Let’s not forget it’s Super fun. It’s exciting Typically there is plenty of laughter and good feeling after paddling. The hormones realign in out bodies. Dopimine, is released, we get a great feeling of our muscles being worked.

We gain some endurance which is a key component to living a longlife well.

It’s very difficult to serve the world when it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, get off the sofa or pick ourselves up of the floor. Movement is one of the main essentials. We all need to keep moving.

Getting older can be challenging enough as the body takes its toll from the earlier year. If our body doesn’t want to work it can be very challenging from our minds, Frustration, Painful and Discouraging.

The Biggest Battle is with the mind. We need to develop a strong mind - Positive. To live beyond our potential not within ourselve imposted limitations. We need courage not fear to move into later years. Make the most of every opportunity. Do the best you can, with what you have, From where you’re at.

Only focus on your past failures, mistakes, long enough to learn from them, then move on.

Get Clarity - on what you want, versus what you don’t want. Create a strong desire what is best for yourself and others.

Start soon than later, later than never.

Start now, the earlier the better.

Create goals that are specific and make consistent progress towards them.

It’s not the goals but the process that brings happiness.


A practical advice for your daily life

Each day consider 3 or more things to do or be to enhance these 3 areas in your life.


  1. Energy/Zest - Top indicator of a long life.

  2. Work/Productivity- Get things done.

  3. Love/Relationships - Family, Friends, Enemies.

W.I.N - What’s Important Now?

WHAT DO I WANT?

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? WHAT’S IMPORTANT NOW?

STAY SALTY

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