Exercise and Surfing. Important Factors in Marketing to California Seniors


How marketers can benefit from the healthy and active California senior lifestyle.

Californians have the led the country in a variety of trends over the years. And none have been more important than the trend of seniors living longer and healthier lives. As stated by Elder Options On-line Directory (EO),

“As you grow older, an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise can help boost energy, maintain your independence, and manage symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory.”

Similarly, in an article titled 7 benefits of exercise for the Elderly, BT reports that weight-bearing exercise and regular cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking can help people live longer lives, prevent falls, reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack, increase bone density, reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, prevent or delay diseases, and improve confidence.

The California lifestyle is more conducive to exercise because of its weather, geography and youthful attitude. Seniors are walking, hiking, bicycling, skiing, playing tennis, golf, and pickleball to name a few active pastimes. They’re also surfing! In fact, it’s estimated that of California’s 7,000,000 seniors, over 200,000 surf regularly. And according to the San Diego Surfing School, there are some real benefits of surfing for seniors such as:

  1. Seniors who surf will burn up to 400 calories per hour
  2. Since surfing uses all limbs, seniors will have a thorough workout
  3. Surfing is a form of exercise that benefits their minds and bodies
  4. Surfing is a great sport to encourage socializing with fellow surfing enthusiasts
  5. Connecting with nature, particularly the beach, gives seniors a whole new level of experience that makes them feel younger and more vital

Surfing for Life, a 68-minute documentary, shows profiles of some of surfing’s most famous legends riding the waves into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The film highlights Californian John “Doc” Ball who at 93 is the oldest known American surfer. And as “Doc” puts it, “The sea is great medicine. It keeps you young.”

California recently declared surfing as the state’s “Official Sport.” Says State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, who sponsored the declaration,

“I think surfing really stands apart not only for being an iconic part of California’s culture, but also for the environmental message of respecting and protecting our ocean and our environment.”

Plus, Muratsuchi estimates that surfing generates more than $6B to the state’s economy each year.

California marketers who picture seniors living sedentary lifestyles need to re-think this active and vital demographic. And there’s an untapped financial reason to do so. After all, seniors control nearly 50% of spending in the state, yet receive only 10% of marketing dollars! (AARP) There’s an opportunity to not only market products that are related to their many and varied active pursuits, but there is an equally important opportunity to market the attitude of a healthy, active and positive older consumer. Just envision a smiling and fit senior coming out the surf holding their board. If that’s not a reminder of the opportunity of this population segment, I don’t know what is.

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