AGE is just a number it seems, in this case 72.

Welcome to the world of Des Salmon, who has been catching waves at Burleigh Heads for the past 20 years.

Salmon moved there from Brisbane with his family looking for a change in scenery and lifestyle. It appears he found it.

Salmon looks to surf every day.

“It depends on the waves, it depends on the surf, if it’s too big I won’t go out.”

What sets Salmon apart from other septuagenarians is his incredible level of fitness.

Mr Salmon’s friend Terry ‘Tappa’ Teece, thinks he resembles golfer Greg Norman who, at 66 years of age, is known for his youthful physique and social media posts of running along the beach.

“He has got a bit of the great white shark going on, Des,” Teece said admiringly.

“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.”

In his previous life, 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.”

And there it is. The secret to his longevity and youthful appearance.

Salmon also eats extremely healthily, stretches every morning, regularly balancing on his head to maintain flexibility and poise. He also 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 believes that resistance exercise is the most effective way of improving muscle mass. Results can be seen by people who train consistently for six to eight weeks.

Ironically, most elderly people are resistant to the idea of regular exercise.

“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.”

For Salmon, there is also the added benefit of the social interaction with members of his community, both young and old.

“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.”

Not surprisingly, Salmon is proving to be a source of inspiration for those who see aging as a prelude to their demise.

“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.”

Words of wisdom from one so young…

Ludo Aequitas – Equality Through Sport – where you are as young as you feel.


Image via

« Back to Articles