INTERVIEW AND PHOTO BY NANCY SCARDAONI LELIVELD
At 85, Fred continues to inspire all who have the pleasure to share the shore and the water with him. Whether it be a smile, wave or a launch, he has impacted many of us. Most aspire to be that healthy and active at his age. I was honored to chat with Fred and find out some of his secrets. He said “they’re not secrets, just common sense.”
Kitesurfing Magazine: When did you start Kiting?
Fred: I’m a late bloomer. I started to windsurf around age 40. At the age of 69, I biked down to Sandy Bay in Oliphant and sat and watched three young local guys kiting. It looked so exciting and I knew I had to investigate this. The next summer I went to Jack n Jill’s and bought my very first kite package. The kite was a Naish 14 meter C kite. This was early in the kiting era and I wasn’t aware of the dangers. I did get a couple of pointers here and there from others on the water, but I basically taught myself. Definitely not advisable.
KM: Can you tell us about the twintip board you made yourself?
Fred: Yes, I built that board when I started kiting. I think it’s about 15 or 16 inches wide and a little shorter than me. I took three cedar fence planks and glued them together. I ordered four fins, I acquired the straps and then applied four quarts of varnish. I’m still using it and it works great.
KM: How do you maintain your strength and stamina?
Fred: My garden keeps me very busy and stocked up on all my fresh vegetables. A lot of stir fries. Chicken, turkey, wild salmon, sardines and herring. No red meat or alcohol. I also eat a clove of garlic every day.
KM: I hear you have a really great garden?
Fred: Let’s just say numerous kiters love Fred’s famous Oliphant cucumbers.
KM: When you’re not kiting, what fills your day?
Fred: Every morning I do stretching, squats and push ups. I have good knees and good hips. Last winter I cross country skied 32 times, usually around four to six kilometers each time. In the summer when it’s not windy I swim. Last summer I swam a lot. Not just swimming but freestyle swimming, 46 or 47 times. On the days that I can’t swim, I bike.
KM: How do you deal with fatigue when kiting?
Fred: I just stop kiting. I have a lot of common sense.
KM: How old do you feel?
Fred: Mostly I feel I am 80-something even though I do things most 80-something-year-olds don’t do. My presence of mind is not the same as that of a younger person, but I am motivated to carry on.
KM: What is your favorite wind direction and wind speed?
Fred: West or North West, blowing 25-40 kmph. Its the steadiest wind you could ask forat Oliphant.
KM: Do you have a session that really stands out or is memorable?
Fred: After supper sunset kiting on a NW with a couple of other local kiters.
KM: What do you fear most about kiting?
Fred: I fear I am not going to be able to do it any more, but then I go out and prove myself wrong. When the kite is in the air and the board is on my feet it’s the greatest feeling ever. Kiting still has a very firm grip on me and I thank everyone that helps me continue to do what I love. You all know who you are.