Boogie board fever: Silver-haired ladies cut loose on California surf

By Omar Younis

(Reuters) - Californian grannies and retired mothers are living it up on boogie boards, riding the waves like kids away from the sunset.

For these besties, there was no better way to celebrate International Women's Day on Monday than to surf away their blues together at Solana Beach, California.

"It's exhilarating. There is nothing like being in the water, getting wet, getting cold and loving it," said 75-year-old Patti Fitchen.

"Look at these great women," chimed in Christa Stahl, 85, a boogie boarder for almost 20 years. "Nobody's worried about their hair and makeup or how much weight they've gained or lost, they're just real, you know, it's really been special."

The boogie boarding group, with members aged 60-90, was founded by Fran Dyer and friends after she retired and moved to the area.

"We're not raising children anymore," Dyer said. "Some of us are retired and we need new friends and we need activities. And I'm 74. I want to be busy every minute."

For Stahl, riding the waves on her belly is bliss after 85 years of ups and downs.

"To find something to do that makes you forget all that and feel optimistic, I think that's the toughest part," she said.

International Women's Day has been recognized since the early 1900's to inspire women and acknowledge their contributions, according to the International Women's Day website.

(Reporting by Omar Younis; Writing by Richard Chang; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)