We had to wait six months after filming the interview in November but finally we had the opportunity to film Wolfi surfing his favourite spot in Cornwall, Watergate Bay. Not a perfect day as the wind blew a bit too much from the north and west but he made the best of it, and we were able to capture some of the graceful and stylish surfing that this 76-year-old brings to the waves.
Part of the reason for the delay is that for the last 28 years Wolfi has taken himself off to Tobago for part of the winter to get some surfing in warm water and, as he says, to enjoy the way of life and the music.
Wolfi has been surfing in Cornwall since 1973. He came to Cornwall from Killarney in Ireland, where he had been working, and took a job in a hotel in Newquay. Before that, there was his childhood in Germany and the usual array of school sports, which in Germany of course included alpine skiing. He enjoyed skiing as he did other sports, but it was only when he discovered surfing in the South West of England that he found his true vocation and it is through surfing that his true spirit has been expressing itself.
Wolfi says that things have changed a lot since those days, when there were far fewer people in the water and the equipment much more basic. Surfing had a far smaller community then, but apart from the more crowded waves, overall he says that things have generally changed for the better. Technology has moved on, giving more flexible and warmer wetsuits, leashes that don’t stretch forever and then recoil to cause nasty injuries, and the modern boards are lighter with much better shapes than before.
Settling in Cornwall, it was around surfing that he built his life. Driving his taxi to pay the bills and to afford the winter trips to warmer waters also gives Wolfi the flexibility to continue his love of the waves.
When not actually in among the waves Wolfi can be found walking his dog on Watergate beach, which he says is the only exercise he does apart from surfing, although when pressed he does admit to a small amount of exercise at home. He also says that being active around the house doing the maintenance, painting and plastering etc contributes to his being able to continue his surfing adventure. At one time squash used to be a part of his sporting life but after a swollen ankle made him miss two weeks of three to four foot waves with light off-shore winds he decided that the risks outweighed the benefits and, as he said “Finito squash”.
Meeting Wolfi, we realised that this man was one of the people who exemplify the spirit of the Silver Grey Sports Club. He has found his passion and he is determined to continue with it until (his words) he's on crutches or in a wheelchair. He loves surfing the waves and he believes that stopping doing it is the only thing that will bring him to be unable to do it. As long as he continues there is no reason why he can't continue. And that is what SGSC is all about. Find your game and keep playing!