An informal group of ocean loving older adult body surfers and boogie board riders at Trigg beach are a shining example of active ageing at its best.
Recent research has confirmed that adults who belong to a group and enjoy sport or other activities together will most likely live longer.
It is not just the exercise that helps achieve this outcome. The social connection and sense of community that is a spin off to adults enjoying sport or hobbies together cannot be underestimated.
Trigg Friends between the Flags formed in the summer of 2009/10 when several enthusiastic adult body surfers and boogie board riders started chatting whilst looking westward waiting for waves.
By the end of that summer there were about a dozen in the group who would meet from around 9am or later depending on the surf and weather.
Having someone to chat to and look out for each other meant that no one was surfing alone. The group then enjoyed an end of season lunch which has grown in numbers somewhat over the past eight years.
Kevin Menagh or YK as he is known was one of that original group. In the first few years YK kept a roll book, but as the number of surfers grew and grew to the hundred or so they are today it became impossible to remember who surfed on any particular day.
The group, which was only officially named last summer, consists of mostly retired folk, several part time or shift workers and some who can only surf at weekends and holidays until they retire.
Another legend from the original group is 86-year-old Meryl who has had a strong affinity with the ocean since she was a teenager living and body surfing in Scarborough.
Meryl drives from Dianella to Trigg for a surf most weeks in summer and always enjoys the special treatment from the lifeguards who drive her back up to her car from the beach.
Over the years Meryl has written some amazing poems about the group and the joy of the ocean, several of which she has recited at the end of season lunches.
Many of the group enjoy coffee together after a surf plus lunches and festive season drinks have become regular occasions over the years.
Several of the group go cycling together in the cooler months and in recent years have enjoyed cycling holidays to Asia as well as organised walks along the coast during winter.
The ocean is the drawcard for us all from October to May each year, plus our annual dip on the day of the Winter Solstice.
We meet in front of the patrol or lifeguards marked by our special flag which depicts the waves of Japan.
Anyone is welcome, we truly have salt water running through our veins.