Jeff Clark

jeff clark, 60, surfer

The Wave Maker

“Things that we don’t think we’re able to do,” he says, “with a little education –  and check your preconceived notions at the door and step outside of your comfort zone – with the right guidance you can experience some amazing things that the world has to offer.”

Clark is now 60. In the last 42 years, his name has become synonymous with Mavericks and the wave itself has built up a fearsome reputation as one of the most dangerous waves in the world. It’s claimed the lives of skilled and talented surfers, like Hawaiian Mark Foo, and been the focal point of a surf contest held only when the waves are at their biggest – up to 30 to 40 feet.

For Clark, the wave has presented not only a challenge, but a lifelong commitment to the kind of physical and mental preparation it demands. There’s rarely a day he’s not surfing or paddleboarding – often on boards of his own design. When he’s home, he does ‘breathing scales’: practicing inhaling deeply by opening his stomach, chest and throat cavity as wide as possible then holding his breath for 30 seconds, repeating the exercise a minute or so later. “Something as simple as holding your breath during a commercial can change your life experience,” he says. “Try it for a little bit and you will see a difference.”

At 60, Clark isn’t looking to retire any time soon. That doesn’t mean he’ll be out on the biggest days every time. He’s already ridden the biggest waves he’ll likely ever ride in his life. So nowadays it’s more about using his knowledge of the demands of heavy surf to create products like big wave life vests and boards that will ensure the safety and performance of current and future generations. Of course, it’s not all about catering to the elite. He also designs and shapes paddleboards intended for a wider audience.

“There was a lady the other day and she just turned 76 and we taught her how to paddleboard and she loves it,” he says. “So when people say they can’t I say, ‘If someone told me I couldn’t, and I listened to them, I would have never surfed Mavericks and I would’ve missed out on one of life’s greatest experiences.’ ”


Andreas Tzortzis
He has worked as a journalist for the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Monocle Magazine from Berlin and London before leading Red Bull’s mainstream-facing content platform, The Red Bulletin, from Los Angeles. He recently returned to his hometown of San Francisco with his small family. dre@agei.st


Join the AGEIST Movement
sign up for the newsletter today.


Five Strategies for Alzheimer’s Prevention in Women

With increased evidence linking menopause to Alzheimer’s, it helps explain why two out of every three people diagnosed with the disease are women.   And with the...

New Trackers Coming

Everybody is different and everybody’s needs are different. This makes it difficult when determining the best diet, movement, and lifestyle plan for yourself. What...

Learning to Surf over 50: 10 Tips

Maybe you were inspired by surfer Patti Sheaff. Surfing is a magical, mesmerizing sport. The surfer paddles out into the ocean, and at just the...