89-year-old man named world’s oldest surfer after discovering sport in golden years

Written by on April 21, 2023

Oldest Person to Surf 7

Taking up a hobby can be intimidating at any age, but 89-year-old Seiichi Sano (Japan) loves trying new things.

At the age of 80, after conquering Mount Fuji – the highest mountain in Japan – he suddenly thought to himself: “why don’t I take up surfing?”

And now, Seiichi is the oldest person to surf (male); he was 88 years and 288 days old when the record was verified on 8 July 2022.

Seiichi was born in Hokkaido on 23 September 1933, meaning he’ll celebrate his 90th birthday this year.

After graduating from secondary school, he had moved to Tokyo and attended a wireless telegraph school. It was a post-war environment back then, and Seiichi would take a wide variety of jobs, including as cabaret staff and a doorman at a foreigners’ club.

“I had nothing on my CV, and I had no one to back me up,” he said. “So I had to figure things out on my own. I had no fear, though.”

Later, he went into the timber industry, and eventually moved up the career ladder to have his own business which reached its 50th anniversary this year.

“Business decisions I made were based on instincts and inspiration rather than rational thought, although those instincts and inspiration probably came from years of experience.”

Being the head of a small business meant that he had no time of his own for decades. By the time he had more free time, Seiichi was nearing 80!

One of the things Seiichi tried in his senior life was to climb Mount Fuji. It was as soon as he returned home, he suddenly decided to try out surfing.

And he admits the inspiration came from a surprising place: “I work with a bank manager who has a really tanned skin. I thought he may be a golfer, but when I asked him, he whispered to me, ‘I surf’.”

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