- Kenny Howell
In Search of Stability: Aging Gracefully With a Wider Surfski
Father Time always shows up uninvited to the party. He doesn’t bother to knock, but just barges through the front door, helps himself to a cold one from the fridge, then makes himself right at home on the couch while you stare in shock and disbelief. Call 911! Deep down you knew this day would eventually come, like the unsolicited junk mail from the AARP. It’s a rude awakening. And that’s how it feels sometimes when the ageing process kicks in and starts to impact your enjoyment of surfski paddling.
This is a tale of two kinds of people: those who feel less stable on their surfskis as they age, and those who have yet to feel unstable. It’s also a tribute to the super fit and active seniors out there who are young at heart and still adventuring on their sleek paddlecraft. In addition, it’s a primer for the youth today who pilot their skittish boats with ease and finesse – but one day may experience a change in their balance and coordination.
Surfski: no age limit, no barriers
In a sport that is defined largely by one’s ability to control a tippy boat on a rolling sea, balance can become an increasing challenge thanks to the aging process, and its various effects. That skinny, super-fast race boat that you used to handle easily in the prime of life will not always be so forgiving. Do you feel a little twitchy in your surfski when a boat wake comes by? Are you bracing more frequently with the paddle? Slower in rough water than flat water? How about falling in unexpectedly? (A sea monster did it!) In paddlesports, we are all “between swims”, but feeling unstable in the boat – even slightly – can tire you out quickly and even lead to unsafe situations. These issues are not necessarily limited to a particular age category. Father Time might have just crashed your party. It could be time to get in a more stable ski, as well as consider the factors causing the instability.
No matter your age or experience level, the easiest solution to the stability problem would be to swallow one’s pride and get a wider surfski. That can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially if you once felt bullet proof in an elite level boat – or were hoping to master it one day. The bitterness will pass with the understanding that a stable surfski is still crazy fun (particularly when downwind surfing), it can still go plenty fast, and you can find total bliss on the water with the “fat” boat! The world has changed for the better in recent years with the introduction of more stable designs that are great downwind boats. When Epic introduced the original V10 in 2005, thanks to the computer-aided design features of the hull, it was considered revolutionary as a competitive model that intermediate paddlers could handle, and elite pros could also paddle to win the Molokai Challenge. The V10 Sport followed in 2006 - Epic’s most stable ski until the V8 was released in 2010. The V8 was a game-changer, allowing new paddlers to participate in a sport that had previously been out of reach for all but the most determined athletes. Seasoned veterans quickly recognized the V8’s potential in rough conditions for all skill levels. It has become a “secret weapon” of sorts for tackling extreme conditions and has given extra courage to those in need.
Blue water surfing made for surfski
Prior to the stable surfski era, choices for ocean racing skis were mostly limited to narrow spears about as stable as a greased log made for a log-rolling contest. The term “barrier to entry” applied perfectly to the era of “Only Elites Need Apply”. If you grew up racing razor-thin sprint kayaks, then you had some advantage jumping into a surfski, at least in flat water. To paddle a 17” wide boat well in the ocean requires tremendous focus, lots of time in the seat, and phenomenal balance. Youthful fitness helps, too. Surfing downwind in a raging sea demands something extra; an “X factor”, the ability to handle the boat in a dynamic environment, link runs, and see patterns within the chaos of crossing swells. This can take years to master with the skinny ski. It can also be the most fun thing you’ll ever learn to do – and you can learn to do it faster with a more stable surfski.
The Balancing Act
So, what exactly is balance, and how can we get more of it? The conventional wisdom in the kayaking world states that core strength prevents you from tipping over the moment you shove away from the dock. We learn balance; we’re not born with it. Babies must learn to walk, and if they’re fortunate, they will also learn to paddle surfskis when they grow up. More than just simple core strength, however, it’s the network of neurons in the brain that allow us to paddle a tippy boat by receiving input from the environment and giving the motor commands to our body. These signals continually adjust our center of gravity while cruising along on a glassy pond or chasing that perfect wave for the ride of your life. One needs very good kinesthetic awareness (the sense of muscle movement) working in concert with proprioception (the sense of balance and awareness of arm and leg movement in a defined space) to keep the boat upright and moving smoothly forward. It’s finesse, not brute strength, that defines a good paddler!
Don’t worry, be happy – on a stable surfski
If your neurons are firing on all cylinders, and you’ve mastered the skills required for the task, it’s astonishing what feats of balance and dexterity humans can accomplish. Just try paddling an Olympic sprint kayak at full speed and see how far you get before flipping over. Juggling while riding a unicycle down a flight of stairs might be easier.
Living a healthy, active lifestyle in general can help maintain balance, and will improve your chances for paddling with style and grace into your golden years. Dr. Sven Jonsson, a physician and avid fitness paddler who at age 60 handles a narrow K1 with ease on lakes and charges downwind on a surfski at the Gorge – easily passing younger but less agile neophytes - explains why balance is an indicator of health and longevity, and offers some advice for keeping your neurons and nervous system healthy.
“Balance is a good predictor of longevity, and a healthy nervous system is good for your balance. So, the better we can maintain our balance, the better our chances are for staying healthy longer in life. If you don’t exercise in a way that activates the neurons controlling balance, those neurons will atrophy, and as we age, the neurons will eventually start to die. The evidence for this is well documented in medical literature. Certain forms of dementia can be held at bay with regular balance exercises. Surfski paddling greatly stimulates your brain and neuron activity as you are continually working to stay balanced in the boat. It is absolutely one of the best activities for keeping the nervous system healthy.”
He adds that other lifestyle choices are very important to balance control, and thus a longer lifespan: maintaining a healthy diet; avoiding stress; practicing good sleep habits; and fostering connections with our community, family, and friends. All are key ingredients of the secret sauce for staying healthy, happy, and fit—in body, mind, and soul.
With these tips in mind, we should feel encouraged to pursue a fitness-oriented lifestyle that might also include an adrenaline-fueled downwind paddling adventure now and then, followed by a cold beer at the tailgate party! (All things in moderation.)
Tailgaters – post downwind
Hardly a day goes by at Epic Kayaks when we don’t take a call from a customer who says, “I want the fastest boat you’ve got.” This leads to some polite questioning about the person’s experience level and goals, which hopefully leads them to choose an appropriate boat for their ability. Many paddlers think that their first surfski needs to be at least one level above their ability, believing they might grow out of a wide model in six months, or they will somehow grow into the tippy one eventually; neither of those is necessarily true, nor the best way to shop for a surfski. Our job is to talk the person down a level from their initial desire for the “fastest boat”. “If you’re not stable, you’re not fast, and it won’t be fun”, we explain. The truth hurts, but the truth will set you free. To solve this dilemma, many surfski aficionados have more than one boat in their quiver. They get a skinny one for flatwater, and a wider one for the ocean and, voilà! While you might be fast on the skinny boat when the water is calm, and enjoy the challenge of keeping it upright, that same boat won’t be much fun (if you’re not stable) in a big following sea, or on a large lake with whitecaps blown up by a strong breeze. It could become a life-threatening nightmare if you can’t control it or remount it easily.
Check the Data
The two graphs below created by Epic Kayaks founder Greg Barton illustrate the change in paddler speeds for different “types” of paddlers in flatwater and downwind conditions using wider and narrower Epic models (V5 being widest and V14 and the K1 the narrowest). For the graphs, a “fit” paddler defines someone in good shape (possibly transitioning to ski paddling from another sport), but not highly skilled with paddling in different water conditions. Interestingly, this type of paddler will see the largest drop off in rough water performance if the ski is too unstable for their skill level. A less skilled paddler may be okay in calm conditions with a certain ski, but then they may run into trouble (expressed as slower speed) when they get the same boat out in serious downwind conditions. For reference, boat widths utilized in the speed charts are as follows:
V5 - 23.6" (60cm)
V7 - 21.25" (54cm)
V8 Pro - 20" (50.8 cm)
V10 Sport - 18.9" (48 cm)
V12 - 16.9" (43 cm)
V14 - 16.89" (42.9 cm)
K1 - 16" (40.6 cm)
Note from Greg Barton on the graphs: “Bear in mind that these are my estimates and not necessarily 100 percent accurate numbers; however. I have literally spent 100’s of hours over the years using various methods of theoretical speed calculations and many timed tests with different boats and heart rate monitor, etc. So they are based both on science and on-water experience and should be reasonably close.
As you go from fast skis such as the V12/V14 to slower skis like the V8, there are 2 factors in play separating the Elite vs Advanced speeds. The first is that at lower speeds/intensities, most boats are very similar in speed to each other. It is only as you push them harder and faster that the bigger differences in drag start appearing. Second, a less skilled/experienced paddler’s speed will suffer on the skinnier skis because they are not able to apply full power to every stroke. Even though they may not feel like a capsize is imminent, their stroke is not as aggressive, and power suffers because they are subconsciously holding back on power to maintain stability.”
Surfski paddlers totally stoked in Korea
If your ultimate goal is to win a race or be as competitive as you can, then the quest for speed is noble and respectable. Eventually, however, everyone will grudgingly realize that they have been exerting too much effort to maintain stability in open water on the skinny race boats, and thus average paddling speed suffers. Aside from boat width, your speed will depend on numerous factors including the water conditions, (and how much time you spend training in those conditions) age, fitness, and endurance. Pure downwind paddling with organized wind waves, for example, can be easier to handle than a chaotic beam sea. Beating upwind with half the boat flying off the back of the wave and bouncing like your aunt’s antique rocking horse on loose springs will wear you down in no time. Flat water is very forgiving, while the ocean quickly exposes all our weaknesses.
Stability Training Exercises
Along with user-friendly surfski designs, there are best practices that can help improve and maintain stability. Rust never sleeps, so maintaining your balance over time requires the “use it or lose” it approach. Step away from paddling for a while and stability doesn’t always come back like riding a bike. Here are a few tips we’ve learned through experience over the years and from experts in the field:
· “Loading” the paddle blade - At the start of each stroke in the catch phase, through the exit of the blade out of the water, applying strong force on the paddle wil help stabilize the boat while also driving it forward with power - which is the essential goal! Every stroke should make you feel more stable. “Keep paddling!” is a common encouragement heard by everyone trying to get more comfortable on a skinny boat, particularly in rough water. With sufficient “loading” of force on the blade in the water, you’re essentially adding a “third leg of a stool” as some coaches describe it.
· Stability training seat pads – You can challenge your balance ability in the surfski by stacking layers of seat pads, raising your center of gravity. This simulates a more unstable boat and is sometimes used to train for a less stable ski than you’re used to by forcing your core muscles to adapt. It also can train your core and reflexes to handle rough conditions better with a stable surfski; after using the pads in calm water sessions, remove all or some of the pads when moving on to rough water, and in theory your muscle memory will have imprinted from the training with a higher seat, thus giving the feeling of increased stability in the same boat. (Warning: if you neglect to remove the pads after a period of training, especially in rough water, then you may just be training to feel more unstable all the time, and never feel the benefits!) https://www.epickayaks.com/product-page/seat-pad-set-for-composite-skis
· Hip pads – The benefit of hip padding could be one of the most underappreciated aspects for improving surfski stability. If your hips are loose in the cockpit, adding thin hips pads to the seat can help you stay centered while the boat is rolling side to side in bumpy seas. (You still want to be able to rotate the pelvis and torso as much as possible without feeling too tippy.) Connection between the seat with the hips allows you to edge the boat better and react to the motion of the ocean and show the boat who’s the boss – not the other way around, which is what happens if you’re sliding around in a loose cockpit. Many experienced paddlers make their own hip pads from mini-cell foam, tape, and Velcro strips. Epic also has a hip pad kit available. https://www.epickayaks.com/product-page/hip-pads-for-composite-skis
· Time in the boat – “Practice, practice, practice” is an often-heard phrase when trying to improve in any activity, but “Perfect practice makes perfect” is a different way of approaching your training. With deliberate attention given to practice, success will likely come sooner, without reinforcing bad habits. Don’t muddy the waters by trying to practice too many things in one session! For example, one practice session will be focused solely on a good catch for the forward stroke. Nothing else. Stability should improve with repeated time in the boat. If you are bracing constantly with the paddle or falling in repeatedly, that is probably not “perfect practice”, and a wider boat may be more beneficial. Be sure to keep it fun so you’ll want to keep practicing.
· Gym Time – While there is nothing better than time on the water, if you live far from a good paddling location or in a climate that isn’t conducive to winter watersports, then certain gym exercises are worthwhile for maintaining a minimum level of paddle fitness during the offseason. Sitting and balancing on an exercise ball for short periods can build core strength and the muscles around the spine, improving posture. Any exercise that develops core strength will carry over to your paddling. Just be careful not to overdo it! Stretching, yoga, Pilates – all provide excellent cross-training for increasing your potential balance on the water.
· Get a stable boat – Sounds simple enough, but pride and human nature will conspire to interfere! People want a challenge, and challenge can be a good thing. But one must also be practical about it. If you are unable to develop sufficient stability in the boat, or to find your “comfort zone”, it will hold you back from enjoying the sport, and you might eventually give it up. That is the worst-case scenario. There is much to like about a “fat” surfski; it’s stable, comfortable, safe, reasonably fast and efficient, and will allow most paddlers to take on challenging conditions with better results than a less stable boat. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice. Choose wisely.
It's good to have paddle friends
Observations From the Field
We spoke with a few individuals about their “search for stability” and how that shaped their paddling journeys.
In 2006, at age 60, Ken Moore competed in his first Molokai Challenge. Born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, and now in his mid-70’s, he is healthy, fit, and still chasing downwind runs from his backyard in Maui.
Ken Moore works the bumps on a Maliko Run in Maui
Q: For your Molokai Channel crossing, conditions were perfect – big trade wind swell, 25 knots tail wind. What model surfski did you have? Did you think it was stable enough? What do you think your crossing would have been like if a more stable ski had been available?
Ken: I was paddling a Twogood Portlock, an 18' mix-it-up--surf ski. I'm guessing it was a ~20" wide boat with moderate rocker and a traditional spec-ski bow. Only problem was, it had a HIGH seat, so when I got tired, I sucked, which happened past mile 25. So, while the hull was actually pretty good, stability sucked once I was tired. I believe I would have been faster and had much more fun in a V8. It was my first really big race, and my paddling style made stability much worse. It wasn't 'till I had Dale Ponsford video me on a Maliko run years later did I understand and adopt a much more vertical stroke that was favorable stability wise. So one of my key old-guy understandings is how IMPORTANT proper stroke is for stability. (And you can't learn proper stroke technique in an unstable boat!)
Q: You live on the north shore of Maui and regularly paddle the world class Maliko downwind run. What is your go-to surfski for that run? Does it depend on the conditions?
Ken: Absolutely. For me, boat choice on the Maliko is conditions-dependent. Up to 30 knots, the V9 is great fun - quick, forgiving and has excellent secondary stability. And quick turning! Love this boat. If I'm not feeling strong or confident, then it's the V8. Which is often as fast as the V9 in such circumstances. And, arguably, more fun as soon as seas kick up. Shorter, fatter boats are a gas in nasty conditions. I remember a southside downwind run in a V7, where it was fun, fun, fun in nasty, short period swells. I had a huge grin the whole way.
Q: You’re in your mid 70’s now. Have you noticed a change in your overall balance and stability on the surfski over the past 15 years?
Ken: I think it's more a matter of being aware of my skill level versus conditions that is important. Skill level means have I been paddling frequently? Am I well rested? Have I been regularly practicing balance skills? I think my balance and timing and technique are all significantly better than they were even 5 years ago. And, - my strength is down about 30 percent. So, I'm simply not as strong as I used to be, and that becomes a major issue when thinking about getting myself back in a boat in bigger conditions.
Q: Looking ahead, do you see your choice of surfskis changing? Would you want something more stable than the V8, assuming it still has an efficient hull, and is good for downwind paddling? How about an 18 pound V8?
Ken: I'd love to see a 18 pound V7! (Rather than a V8) It’s a very, very fun boat in steep, close-coupled swells. I'm also finding it much more fun to do southside runs on Maui. The Maliko run is still fun, but many of my younger paddler friends have either lost boats or had serious incidents happen to them, as well as me. Being strong enough to implement remounts is a major consideration.
Bob started sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking in the ‘90’s, and eventually discovered surfskis. He lives in San Francisco and has had many surfski adventures in Spain, Italy, Canada, the Columbia River Gorge and on San Francisco Bay.
Bob Ostertag on vacation in Tarifa, Spain
Q: How long have you been paddling surfskis, and how old were you when you got into it?
Bob: It was when the V10 first came out, I believe. 17 years ago. I would have been 48.
Q: How much time do you currently enjoy on the water during the average week, and in what conditions?
Bob: I paddle 3-4 times a week, from flat water to hellacious storm conditions.
Q: Your first single surfski was a V10, then you went to the V10 Sport. You eventually settled on the V8. What drove you in that direction in terms of boat choices?
Bob: I got the V10 back when I had no surfski community. I was off on my own with no clue. So, I didn’t get very far with it for quite a while. The original purchase of the V10 was driven by the fact that I had no clue what I was doing, and the fact that the more stable boats did not exist. Over the years I have paddled all the different Epic boats and in different conditions. I got the V8 and the world of surfski paddling opened up. I have tried to add another arrow to the quiver numerous times now, keeping the V8 as the baseline but adding something less stable.
Q: Now you’re turning 65 and enjoying the V8 – especially on the ocean. Did you experience a distinct loss of stability at some point or was it a gradual thing?
Bob: There was a period when I was on the V10 Sport and rocking it. I was out in that thing in really big stuff, feeling quite confident. No swims, even in big stuff. There is no way I would want to take a V10 Sport in big water now. This memory compared to how I feel in boats now is a very clear indicator of how my balance has changed. I now paddle the V8 and the NK Squall, but only take the NK on flat water or in very organized waves. But even last summer in the gorge, when I was there for a month and paddled like crazy, I was reluctant to dive right into Swell City on a big day in the NK. If I am in very organized waves below a certain size, I still prefer the narrower boat. It is just a more nuanced dance. HOWEVER, I think the day is very near, and may actually be at hand, when the V8 is the only boat I will paddle.
Kelley started paddling surfski in 2011, influenced by all of the surkski paddlers coming to the Columbia River Gorge to play in the wind and waves. Having paddled outrigger canoes (both OC6 and OC1) for many years, in Hawaii, and about to turn 50, she became intrigued by the fluidity of using a double-blade paddle and the balance required to paddle the surfski efficiently.
Kelley Davis in race mode at the Columbia River Gorge
Q: How much time can you generally get on the water in the average week, and in what conditions?
Kelley: I am usually on the Columbia River in summertime 4-5 times per week, typically in windy conditions, paddling downwind. But I do also try to include some training time in calmer waters and also upwind, for a varied workout.
Q: What was your first surfski?
Kelley: My first ski was a V8, and as I became more proficient at the surfski stroke (it was so different from my previous paddling background in outrigger), I really grew to love it. I sold my solo outrigger and have paddled the surfski almost exclusively since then. I paddled the V8 for several years and was able to greatly improve my downwind surfing skills due to its stability. And I was able to have a ton of fun, as I felt confident with my stability and could focus on my technique.
I then decided to make the move to the V9, a longer and narrower ski. the transition was pretty easy, but I had some “moments” for sure! I’ve now paddled the V9 for a couple of seasons and really love it. However…I occasionally regret selling my V8 when it’s a big day on the river and I want to just go out and have fun without worrying about spending time in the water, or slowing down the group if I struggle with my remount in the bigger waves.
Q: Have you noticed a change in your overall balance and stability on the surfski since you got into it?
Kelley: I don’t feel like I’ve lost much of my balance in the last decade (I’m now 60), but I have seen a few fellow paddlers move to less stable boats and struggle a bit. I prefer to have stability so I can just have fun out there.
Q: What are your paddling goals for the foreseeable future? Do you like to race, or just get out there to have fun and stay fit?
Kelley: I am open to trying a new boat when I feel ready, but for now this V9 works just great for me. I do enjoy racing in local events and plan to keep my foot in the racing scene a bit, but mostly just enjoy my time on the water with friends, getting a great workout, and embracing the beauty of this great sport!
A paddler with determination and superb fitness can move up in this world. Doug Hall was a competitive cyclist who wanted to work his upper body more. He tried prone paddle boarding briefly, and then one day searched for “fast kayaks” online and learned of the existence of surfskis. In 2020 he moved from San Jose, California to Half Moon Bay to be closer to the ocean and paddle more.
Doug Hall exploring the northern California open coast
Q: How long have you been paddling surfskis, and how old were you when you started?
Doug: I purchased a Huki double surfski in 2016 - my wife Karen and I were both 46, athletic, fearless and very naive. After a few disastrous outings, Karen vowed to never go in it again. I continued to paddle the double solo on lakes and mild days in the ocean in Santa Cruz.
Q: Your first single surfski was a V8 Pro, then you moved up to the V9. Now you’re moving towards a V10. What’s driving you in that direction? Do you just want to get faster?
Doug: I finally wised up and took a lesson on a V8 Pro. I was out on the ocean attempting to catch runs just outside the harbor (in Half Moon Bay) and within an hour. I was hooked. As I spent more time paddling my balance improved which let me focus on improving my forward stroke and build more confidence. I purchased the V9 mostly for improved handling when surfing. As I spent more time in the V9 in a variety of conditions, the stability and tracking performance became less and less of an issue - now I don’t even think of it. I’ll take the V9 upwind in the ocean when its blowing 25+. Once I got there, I sold the V8 Pro.
Unfortunately, after a poor decision and large wave smashed my V9 at our local surf break, the boat needed extensive repairs. I borrowed a V10 to use while I repaired the V9 - this forced me to spend a lot of time in the V10 doing all the paddling I loved in the V9. Initially, it was clearly not as stable as the V9, and I could not take the powerful stokes or paddle at a high cadence in the ocean like I was used to. The stability issues were unnerving, but I was determined since it was the only option. After a number of weeks, my balance improved and I could get back to high power and high cadence paddling, even in the V10, in very dynamic ocean conditions. The length definitely is a penalty in terms of carving across wave faces versus the V9, but the speed is addictive when chasing runs. I am pretty sold on the V10 for racing and lighter condition days and the V9 for surfing and big condition days.
The Outlier: Greg Barton
Not every paddler automatically feels a decline in stability by a certain age. Greg Barton, founder of Epic Kayaks and a 2 X Olympic Gold medalist with boat loads of podium finishes in flatwater kayak and surfki racing over his long carrier, still feels at home in the elite-level boats he raced in his 20s. Greg is 62 now, but a total outlier, as he remains competitive in a field of athletes 40 years his junior! What can we learn from this evergreen wonder. Did he make a bargain with the devil, or discover the fountain of youth while paddling in the Florida Everglades? Is it the spinach or the kale in his smoothies?
Greg Barton making waves in Swell City, the Gorge
Q: Is there a single factor that stands out as the defining contributor to your continued high performance, considering your age?
Greg: The largest contributor to my longstanding success is consistency in paddling and training over a number of years. In my prime I was paddling over 4000 km per year - much of it at a high intensity. While I may only paddle half that much now, it's still enough to perform at a high level - multiple sessions on the water nearly every week. There is a lot of truth to "use it or lose it". By continuing to paddle at a consistent volume with suitable intensity I've been able to reduce (but certainly not eliminate) the typical decline in performance through my 40's, 50's and beyond.
Q: On flatwater, you are still very comfortable on a K1 sprint kayak, or an Epic V14 surfski. What about on the ocean, or downwind paddling at the Columbia River Gorge? Are you ever better off with a V10 than the V12, or can you just get out there and charge on the narrower ski every time?
Greg: The key (to maintaining stability) is continuing to challenge yourself within reason. I find that if I've been out of the boat and/or not getting consistent downwind practice, I won't feel in control paddling in the conditions of Hawaii or at the Gorge. However, if I get the chance to do daily downwinders for a week or two, I start feeling much more comfortable and proficient. At the beginning of such a week, I'd be better off in a more stable user-friendly ski, but can proficiently handle the V12 after a suitable time. The same holds true for a sprint K1 which I may now go month(s) without paddling. The first time back into a K1 I'll feel less steady - especially if there is wind or cross chop. But after several sessions I'm feeling good again. Bear in mind that after paddling 100,000 km in unstable K1's over a lifetime, the muscle memory returns as long as I stay in touch with it. Those with less experience will require more time and effort to get results.
Q: While you’re not old enough to receive Medicare yet, are there senior athletes out there today that inspire you with their continued competition and training? If you had to imagine yourself in another 20 years, where would you like to be in terms of physical fitness?
Greg: I'm hoping that I can continue to paddle well into my 80's and 90's. Not as fast as I am now, and I'm sure that at some point I'll start to shy away from larger, more technical conditions. I'm encouraged to see people like Rainer Storb (rowing) complete the Seventy48 in his mid 80s and Mike Fremont race C2 at age 99 in the USCA marathon nationals (we'll see if he races this year at age 100!). They both maintain a healthy, active lifestyle with a positive outlook.
- Kenny Howell