SURF TILL 100, by Felipe Pomar & Christina Degano, PhD

I am confident you have at some point in your life felt "bulletproof". Maybe you feel bulletproof today?

Would you like to feel bulletproof at 80 years of age? Of course, you would! That is what this article is about. It will teach you at least three valuable secrets and several things you should do, or not do, to enjoy a long and healthy "waterman or waterwoman lifestyle."

Who am I and why should you listen to me? My name is Felipe Pomar. I was born in Peru. I have lived in Hawaii for 59 years. Like many of you I am a surfer, a paddler, and a competitor.

Among my titles are: Peru National Big Wave Champion, First Big Wave World Surfing Champion (1965), and Haleiwa Champion (1967). I have won numerous paddling events, in all age groups. However, I am better known as the first person to surf a Tsunami (1974). The picture of me in this article, that shows me SUP surfing in Hawaii, was taken in February 2022. I am 78-years-old.

If I can do this at age 78, and you choose to follow this path, imagine what you, too, can accomplish! All you will need to live your best life is to set a goal, believe you can accomplish it, and have a plan that you will follow with all your heart. It is my intention for this article to change your beliefs about aging. Most people think that by retirement age we are too old to perform well and that our lives are pretty much over. It need not be so for you! I am 78 and I firmly believe that some of my best days, and many of my best waves, are yet to come. Let’s mind our health, build our health, and surf till 100!

Beyond the Genes: Literally

As a young man, I was fortunate enough to meet several extraordinary watermen who have been leaders in watersports. They all have influenced and inspired me. Allow me to introduce you to them: Duke Kahanamoku, Carlos Dogny, Paul Bragg, Jack LaLanne, Dr. Dorian Pascowitz, Rabbit Kekai, and Thor Heyerdahl. I mention their names so you may learn about them in your own time if you do the research. It’s worth it.

For many generations, it was believed that our genetics marked our physiological fates, which were presumably handed down to us from our parents and ancestors, and which determined our expected lifespan, rate of aging, and even medical conditions. However, the science of Epigenetics, which literally means ‘beyond the genes’, has proven that this is not the case. It turns out that genes can be turned on or off, depending on lifestyle and behavior. Belief and environment are the ultimate chiefs to which our genes are actually servants, not the other way around. This is good news! Not only are we responsible for our health span and life span, we are in full control of it.


Stand up surfing and paddling is arguably the healthiest sport on this planet, a sport with a 5000-year history made famous in its nascent beginnings by Laird Hamilton. Exercising in the ocean or on the water, with fresh air, sunlight, and friends is the best health benefit we can receive. Working on our balance challenges our muscles and is excellent for our brain. You just can't beat SUP! It is important to realize that our health is our responsibility. The more we care for our body, the more our body will care for us.


Nutrition: Eat whole food. Let your food be your medicine.

Exercise: Move, stretch, play! Preferably outdoors.

Sleep: This is when your body rests, recuperates, and regenerates. Seven to eight hours works best.

Stress: Befriend and control stress. Too much stress can break you down. The correct amount will build you up

I would like to add that if you stick with the health basics outlined above and you practice your chosen sport regularly, you should be able to prevent the major ailments of our time such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.


If you wanted to give your family the gift of health, what would you do? The best and surest way to give your family and loved ones the gift of health is by example.

Prevention is, in my opinion, the best cure for degenerative disease.

Let’s identify what are some of our weakest links so that we can take preventive steps for a long and healthy life..


To prevent heart disease, we need to follow the basics: an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, plenty of sleep, healthy oils and vitamins. We need our share of sunshine, supplementing it with Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, and Zinc.


The ocean, like the snow, reflects the rays of the sun. That reflection over time can burn our eyes, literally. The result could be blindness. If we plan on living a long life, it’s important to protect our eyes, especially those of us with light-colored eyes.


If we do not take care of our gums, we could lose many, or all, of our teeth. To add insult to injury it will hurt, and cost us a pretty penny to make repairs. Even worse, it may be the cause of a heart attack or stroke.


Men: we do not want a prostate problem. This is a slippery slope that we want to avoid at all costs. NOW is the best time to do research and start taking natural products to nourish the prostate and prevent future problems.


Accidents and overuse can damage our joints. Let’s get into the habit of stretching every day and finding alternative exercise activities that we enjoy so that we can train and strengthen opposing muscles.

Health is More Than the Absence of Disease

The following things have helped me build my health: Surfing, SUP, weight training, medicine ball, running, vitamins, minerals, some hormones (at the right age) fasting, hydration, saunas, electromagnetic machines, hyperbaric treatments, massage, breathwork, yoga,

Be a Champion: We have the opportunity to become living examples of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. To be a champion, become a beacon of light for your family, your community, and - why not - the world? Remember that once we find our passion we become unstoppable, and that the impossible is only an opinion!

Surf Till 100!

We formed Surf Till 100 to help others learn about health and learn to build “The Champion Within”. My partner Tom Woods has been an athlete and a health researcher, coach, and waterman for most of his life. I have also spent most of my life training and the last 20 years studying health.

In 2012 Tom and I started training together and were surprised, mildly shocked really, by our results. In April of 2013 to test ourselves further, we announced that we would travel to Peru where we would compete and I would try to beat my winning time for the classic Herradura to Club Waikiki 6-mile Paddleboard Race, which I had won in 1968. In the presence of a large crowd and major news media coverage, we competed. At that time Tom was 66 and I was 69. The race was unchanged (6 miles) and I finished it in 44 minutes and 9 seconds, beating my winning time from1968 (when I was 25) by 1 minute and 51 seconds. That race confirmed that we were on to something special and that we should share it with people interested in building their health and extending their life span.

Challenging myself to perform is deep-seated in my heart. I am still riding Hawaii's big waves on my SUP, not just for my own enjoyment, but to inspire others to not give up on doing the things they love. Belief is a very powerful tool.

Shortly after we formed Surf Till 100 , we were joined by legendary surfer and co-founder of Quiksilver US and Europe, Jeff Hakman, and Christina Degano, a PhD in Natural Medicine. Jeff has entered into his 70s and is still surfing masterfully and inspiring others. We are now planning adventure retreats in locations with excellent surf where we can teach wellness and enjoy riding world-class waves. If you would like to learn more about how to stay healthy and surf till100, check out our schedule of events at , and sign up to get our newsletter.

At the beginning of this article I promised to teach you 3 secrets: :

The secret to living a long life is..... not dying.

The secret to living a long, healthy life is to stay young.

The secret to staying young is to be perfectly healthy and find a mission, a passion, or a dream and pursue it with all your being. Find something that is deeply embedded in your heart that will make you want to jump out of bed every morning, something bigger than yourself that will help leave the planet better than how you found it when you were born.

On a personal note, I have been fortunate, and I have been lucky, but luck will only get you so far. Today, at age 78, I have no aches and no pains. I am engaged to a bright, beautiful young woman (Christina Degano PhD), and I regularly enjoy SUP surfing those double and triple overhead Hawaii waves. That takes wisdom, training, and discipline. I am happy to share what I have learned so I make myself available as a Life Extension and Peak Performance Coach.

I hope I have succeeded in changing your beliefs about aging and that I have persuaded you that living a healthy life is well worth the effort. I want you to know that you can stay active and healthy much longer than is currently believed, and that the best time to start developing a personal health plan is now. If I or any of my partners can be of help feel free to contact us at:

Aloha and Mahalo

Felipe Pomar & Christina Degano, Ph.D

About Surf Till 100 (MAYBE, let’s put this in the contributors section)

Surf Till 100 is a mission-based organization dedicated to the principle of healthy longevity, rediscovering the roots of surfing and protecting our ocean environment.Its founders are:

Felipe Pomar, First Big Wave World Surfing Champion, Life Extension and Peak Performance Coach

Tom Woods, veteran surfer, avid athlete, and health researcher

Jeff Hakman, aka “Mr. Sunset”, co-founder of Quiksilver US and Europe and legendary surfer

Christina Degano, PhD in Natural Medicine, is an expert collaborator in health, aging and longevity.