World renowned waterman Laird Hamilton, 52, is known as the guiding genius of crossover board sports, and is largely considered the primary influence behind many surfing innovations, including, tow-in surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and hydrofoil boarding.

1. Forget age. Just keep driving the car: I take better care of myself today not as an accommodation to age but to maintain continual high levels of performance and just to feel good. I have a friend, Don Wildman, who’s 83 years old — and the guy’s an absolute stud who works out with weights, mountain bikes, paddles, surfs every day.

2. Take care of everyday priorities: The stuff you do every day — your sheets and towels, the food you put in your body — these are your priorities. Not a fancy car or fancy clothes or fancy watches. For instance, I used to drink red wine every day, but haven’t had a sip of wine or beer in nine years and have no desire to. I realized that sugar is not good for your body and that alcohol is one of the biggest culprits.

3. Be a fat-burning monster: I don’t eat energy bars when I’m out on the water all day. In fact, I don’t need to eat anything. My body runs off its body fat. That’s because I’m Paleo. I consume hardly any refined sugar (only if it’s in a salad dressing), a few raw dairy products and almost no wheat or grains. I eat plants and animals.

Laird dropping in at Jaws in 2009.

4. But don’t be a zealot: I have a saying: ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation.’ I make it achievable, not stressful for me and people around me.

5. Golf-ball your bare feet: I grew up barefoot in Hawaii and didn’t give a thought to walking on gravel, but I’d notice some people who’d been in shoes their whole life couldn’t even cross the driveway. The feet are loaded with nerve endings and are the key to balance — and I’m in the balance business. In fact, we all are.

Hamilton Shoots the Pier at Surfrider Beach in Malibu. “Shooting the pier,” in surfing lingo, means to ride a wave through the gaps in a pier’s support posts.

6. Watch your back: I’ve had back issues and injuries over the years. When your back goes out, you’re out of commission. I give it relief with stretching and inversion, and strengthen it with core work and stand-up paddle boarding.

7. Do the water workout from hell: To me, swimming laps in a pool is like punishment — being in a cage. Out of my disdain for lap swimming, I developed what in my opinion is the greatest exercise routine you can possibly do: a bouncing, no-impact, high-intensity strength and cardio workout that is a cross between swimming and weightlifting.

8. Be innovative in all aspects of life: Coming up with new ideas keeps me young and excited. I think traveling to unique places gives you an opportunity to be active.

9. Get role models: It’s monkey see, monkey do. It’s hard to be the monkey that doesn’t see. We all need an example, a road map, to tell us what’s possible, a Jack LaLanne. Am I going to fret that I’m old and washed-up when I’m mountain biking and paddling alongside Wildman, who’s 83?

10. Make it fun: Having as much fun as humanly possible is one of the keys to staying young, so find fun, physical activities you love. I forget about the time when I’m out there on a [stand-up paddleboard]. Activities are better than the gym because you’re not looking at the clock.

(Via LA Times)