Meet Nancy, a 92-year old legend and surfer from New Zealand

Meet Nancy, a 92-year old legend and surfer from Sumner, Christchurch. This is probably the most meaningful personal project I have been working on, to date. I don’t share a lot of my ‘work’ or other passion projects I do alongside photographing our natural world, but photojournalism has been running in my blood for many years (being the daughter of a journalist).
A lot has happened behind the scenes lately, and I’m very grateful to be publishing parts of this project in various NZ and other international magazines soon. I guess Nancy is just an extraordinary and very inspiring person.

Living most of her life in Sumner, Nancy has always loved the ocean and learnt how to surf decades ago with her children. She’s never learnt to stand up, but she loves catching waves on her foam board - a 1970’s model that belonged to her son. Nancy has also been a vegetarian for many years, has been on a sugar-free diet since a young age and she loves gardening and dancing to classical music in her lounge (I was amazed by her flexibility). She has made a real difference to many working as a teacher, and she also worked as a music tutor. She still teaches the latter to some students every week.

Watching Nancy having so much fun in the waves and braving the winter cold at her age with such enthusiasm (14-degree water!), was a very humbling and inspiring experience for me.

Her strength and longevity recipe comes from her positive outlook on life and sense of care for everything and everyone that live around her - from her people to her garden and her cat. I’ll be sharing another short series about her soon.

Thank you so much Julie Chandelier for kindly allowing us to share this feel-good story and your wonderful photos. Julie is a talented photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand who beautifully captures nature at its best.

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