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Image 1 for Surfing septuagenarian Des Salmon reveals his secrets to staying young, fit and healthy

Des Salmon surfs at Burleigh Heads every morning. Pic: Rob Layton @roblayton

Image 2 for Surfing septuagenarian Des Salmon reveals his secrets to staying young, fit and healthy

72-year-old Des stretches every morning to ensure he maintains his flexibility.

Image 3 for Surfing septuagenarian Des Salmon reveals his secrets to staying young, fit and healthy

On a surfing trip to Esperance in Western Australia.

Image 4 for Surfing septuagenarian Des Salmon reveals his secrets to staying young, fit and healthy

Des and Suzanne will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June. Pic: ABC Gold Coast: Tom Forbes

Surfing septuagenarian Des Salmon reveals his secrets to staying young, fit and healthy

2 April 21


A lot of older surfers out there having a lot of fun these days, and here’s a piece on Des, a particularly happy regular in the line-up at Burleigh – as reported by ABC on Queensland’s Gold Coast:

As dawn breaks over the Burleigh Heads surf break each morning, one of the first boardriders you're likely to see is 72-year-old Des Salmon.

The elder statesman in the surfing line-up has been a regular fixture for almost two decades after he and his family made the sea change from Brisbane to Burleigh in 2001.

"I surf almost every day," he said."It depends on the waves, it depends on the surf, if it's too big I won't go out."

What sets Mr Salmon apart from many other senior surfers is his high level of fitness.

Mr Salmon's friend Terry 'Tappa' Teece says the septuagenarian resembles golfer Greg Norman who, at 66 years of age, is known for maintaining his physique and regularly posts shirtless images of himself on social media.

"He has got a bit of the great white shark going on, Des," he quipped."He is very popular with all of the young ladies, they all love Des. 

"If there was a pin-up for 70-year-old surfers he'd be it."

Des Salmon ran a successful building company at Logan in Brisbane's south and retired five years ago.

"I have always done something to keep myself active," he said.

"I've always played some type of sport all the way through, so I've just kept it going."

The Burleigh local says he has a healthy diet, stretches every morning, and walks up to 6 kilometres in the afternoon.

Robin Daly, a professor of Exercise and Ageing at Deakin University, says seniors should undertake 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

"Statistics show that most people are living longer but they're living longer with some kind of disability," he said.

"In fact, an average male will spend their last 17 years with some sort of disability. We really need to promote them getting more active with better health outcomes."

Professor Daly says resistance exercise is an effective way of improving muscle mass and results can be seen by people who train consistently for six to eight weeks.

"Within 12 weeks we can detect improvements in their muscle mass," he said. 

"As we get a bit older, one of the biggest consequences is our loss of muscle mass and muscle strength.

"So trying to maintain muscle function and muscle strength is really important because it helps us maintain our independence and our quality of life."

Mr Salmon says his local surfing community also provides him with mental stimulation. 

"They're such a nice bunch of people, everyone gets along," he said. 

"We have fun out in the surf, we have fun having a cup of coffee and solving some of the problems of the world.

"It's a big age group with surfing, there is no age limit, there are the young ones and the old ones like myself." 

Inspiring others

Mr Teece says his friend is well-regarded by the Burleigh surfing community.

"I think everyone is inspired by Des, he's happy, he's friendly," he said.

"You think 'if Des can do it' at age 72 then so can I."

Mr Salmon will celebrate 50 years of marriage with his wife Suzanne in June and says he has no plans to alter his lifestyle.

"Age is just a number," he said.

"It just happens that mine is a large number at the moment, but I'll just keep doing the same things that I've always been doing."Your lifestyle has to be balanced, don't let things worry you too much and just do things within your ability."

 - AUTHORS: TOM FORBES, CAITLYN SHEEHAN & NICOLE DYER

SOURCE: ABC GOLD COAST

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