Surfing at Middle Age as a Female Takes Confidence and Heaps of it!

These ladies may not be the stereotypical surfer, but don’t let that confuse you. They are the truest embodiment of what surfing is about.


She might not be what you think of when you think of a “surfer”. Even standing on the beach she remains unassuming in her yoga tights and bucket hat buckled tightly under her chin. Her face streaked white with zinc cream. Her years of selfless dedication to her children, partner and career mean this is her first go at trying something new, just for herself in a very long time.

Many people might not even give her a second thought. But just for a moment imagine how this brave woman must feel as she stands there with her nine-foot foam board under her arm, taking up a new sport at middle age. A sport in which there is no female tee, no beginners area, no 40 and over division. If she wants to get waves she must assert herself, maintaining her position right alongside males of half her age and people with decades of experience.


Middle aged surfers learn to surf on surf camp
Nothing is better than paddling out with a group of gal-pals. These ladies were all learning to surf together in Vanuatu.

Go inside her head

Imagine how she feels as she reaches the line-up, having taken a beating in the shore break with her limited ocean experience, wrangling a board three feet taller than her. Her breath is short; a full-time job, a couple of kids and a challenging partner haven’t left her much time to maintain her fitness level. 

She watches as a girl half her age flies by her in a bikini and all the boys turn their heads. She watches as five men paddle around her and take waves she would have liked to have ridden. Then she sees her wave, coming straight for her. The wave has chosen her and she has accepted the challenge. The whole line up watches, their stares burning holes in the back of her head. Her attention-seeking days ended years ago and now she has far more than she would like. Every muscle grips.



Who deserves to call themselves a surfer?

She turns her board to face the beach, she drops her head and paddles as if her life depends on it. And it does, she needs this waves. She needs this wave to remind herself what the world has forgotten – that she is every bit as worthy, valid, and deserving as anyone else. The ocean doesn’t discriminate. She is a surfer in the truest sense, and this is her wave.


female middle aged surfers learn to surf
Learning a new sport at middle age takes a very special woman, a surfer in the truest sense. 


When I think of the word “surfer”, this woman has taught me to think not so much in terms of body types and ability levels, but in terms of character. This woman is the trustest embodiment of what surfing is all about – confidence, grace under fire, bravery, and strength. 

I recently joined Surf Getaways for an intro to surf retreat in Vanuatu. The women, all middle-aged surfers were so inspiring. Here are their stories. We’ve also got an exclusive discount if you’d like to check out one of these unique retreats. Use code StillStoked to get you 5% off any full-priced Surf Getaway tour – Check out all their surf camps here


Meet the amazing female middle aged surfers that taught me so much!


I am a writer and wanna-be big wave surfer. Surfing is my muse. I write about it and how it’s teaching me to live better. I hold certification as a nutritionist, personal trainer, yoga instructor, and lifeguard instructor. My story “100 Days in Mexico” of how a solo road trip surfing my way through Mexico changed my life can be found here


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