One of the most enlightening and exciting features associated with this year’s Everglades Challenge, and of previous years, is that age is no barrier to having a right rip of a time.
Many sports still have the ‘oldies’ strutting their stuff, but sports associated with “messing about in boats” may well have a higher share. And I think this is one of my key loves about sea kayaking – it doesn’t matter how old I get, and how well I’ve thrashed my body over the years with the climbing, backpacking and ski mountaineering, I should still be able to keep paddling.
What first brought this to mind was a story in today’s NZ Herald that two Japanese yachties have been plucked to safety by a NZ ship near Guam, in what appears to be pretty rough conditions. The younger crew member of the stricken 11m yacht was 67. His mate was 72. Both were partially deaf. One suffers from high blood pressure and has reduced mobility due to the steel plates he has inserted in his back.
My dad (right) is 86 next week and is still sailing his 32ft Davidson around the NZ coastline for weeks on end.
One particular crew comes to mind in this year’s EC - Tyro and PaddleCarver (photo above) – whose combined ages add up around 146.
And Audrey Sutherland, at 85 the Grandma Moses of paddling, is still doing her thing.
I’m not criticising the fact that the two Japanese, on their way across the Pacific to NZ, had to be rescued, but celebrating their attitude to life.
As my grandfather so rightly said: “You’re a long time dead.”