Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Over 50s Hitting the Waves; in the Final of a Two-Part Series about Fitness for the Older Generation, FRANCESCA CRAGGS Meets the 'Silver Surfers' Making a Splash in Tynemouth

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Over 50s Hitting the Waves; in the Final of a Two-Part Series about Fitness for the Older Generation, FRANCESCA CRAGGS Meets the 'Silver Surfers' Making a Splash in Tynemouth

Article excerpt

Byline: FRANCESCA CRAGGS

THINK surfing and images of tanned teens with sun-bleached hair spring to mind.

Visit Tynemouth Longsands on the first and third Fridays of each month however, and you'll find a slightly more mature group of 'boarders' catching the morning surf.

Silver Surfers, a surf school aimed specifically at the over 50s, is the brainchild Paul Gascoigne and business partner Nathan Bulch.

The pair, owners of trendy surfing shop Hurley Tynemouth on Tynemouth Front Street, launched the group after recognising a demand for surfing lessons for the more mature generation.

Paul, 36, said: "Surfing is extremely popular here in Tynemouth and growing all the time. It's becoming more and more inclusive to all members of society and people of different abilities, as the Silver Surfers project demonstrates.

"We were getting a lot of enquiries from people, many of whom said they fancied giving it a go but were worried they might be too old.

"We're convinced that you're never too old to surf. We try to make the lessons 'age appropriate' so people don't feel out of place."

With around 50 people on Hurley's Silver Surfers mailing list, lessons have proved really popular. His oldest student so far, according to Paul, is the ripe of age of 82.

"We always start with a refresh on the beach safety aspect of it. Then we do some gentle warm-up exercises and go through the basic manoeuvres.

"Finally we go out on the water and coach people to their individual Continued needs or abilities. "There's quite a few Silver Surfers who can and actually surf and there are others who are happy to body board or just have a paddle." The sport is great for both body and mind, says Paul. "As well as providing a gentle cardio workout, surfing is also great for wellbeing. You're out in the water and fresh air, and it's just a nice feeling and a great atmosphere. "There's more to it that a physical workout. Having fun is the main part of it and there's a great social aspect to it as well." For retired Desmond Watkiss however, Silver Surfers has proved much more than a fun pastime. …

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