100 Years Old And Water Skiing

ByABC News via logo
November 19, 2005, 2:46 PM

Nov. 20, 2005 — -- Not everyone can age as gracefully as Frank Shearer: He's strapping on water skis at 100 years old.

Shearer, a retired physician in Washington state, might be the world's oldest water-skier.

"I just ski for fun," he said. "And it's fun out there in the water on a nice day."

He also rides horses and can be seen atop a steed on the cover of this month's National Geographic magazine, which features him in an article about longevity.

So what is his secret to keeping such a long and healthy life?

"I think it has to do with the fact that I have been so active," Shearer said. "I've been active all my life, from one sport to the other sport -- snow-skiing in the wintertime, water-skiing in the summertime, hunting, fishing. And, especially in recent years, I've been doing some weightlifting regularly."

Water-skiing was a different sport when Shearer first started in the early 1930s.

"These were homemade ply boards," he said. "A friend turned the ends up, and we put some straps on them, and he brought them out to the lake, where we were playing around."

On Monday, Shearer officially turns 100 years old. For his birthday, his son, Doug Shearer, has helped organize a dream-come-true trip to a water-skiing paradise in Acapulco, Mexico.

"We were talking about what we should do for a 100th birthday celebration," Doug Shearer said. "And the idea came up: It would be really fun to take him water skiing on his birthday."

Gordon Rathbun, a water-skiing enthusiast and owner of Ski Paradise resort, invited the Shearer family on an all-expenses-paid trip there.

John Disney, another water-skiing enthusiast, who works in corporate aviation, tracked down a private jet to fly the Shearers to Frank Shearer's dream destination. They will leave for Acapulco in two weeks.

"A private jet, to Acapulco now that would be a lifetime trip," Frank Shearer said.

"I've had a good life," he said. "I tell folks now, I've made 100 and it's been a good life. I think I'll sign up for another 100 [years]."