I'm 63, and have had my OW about a month. I ride dirt exclusively- as in dirt roads because that's all there is on this ranch. First time I rode it (Classic mode), after cruising the flat a few laps and feeling OK, I tried going down the dirt road on one side of the house- a nifty little hill kinda the same height and steepness as a skate park- like a nice little five foot wave, and wooomps- that little sucker took off right out from under me and I came down real hard, square on my upper back and shoulders.
My head bounced off the deck, and was I ever thankful I had on my helmet, elbow guards, wrist guards and knee guards. My back ribs hurt for a week. I won't ever consider hitting my little playground without all the safety stuff, long pants and long sleeve tee shirt. All those little pebbles and dirt get sharp even if you're only going eight or ten miles an hour. Learned my lesson right from the get-go.
Anyway, after a week of yoga focused on my upper back, and back in general, I got on it again...this time realizing exactly what an OW is and what it isn't. Although some of its ride characteristics can be compared to other board sports, it's an entirely different animal all together- a lot of fun but I've come to realize that just because I skated when I was a kid a lot, and surfed out at the Channel Islands (CA) all the time for over 30 years , it definitely doesn't mean I'm going to jump right on an OW and master it any time soon.
The duration of service of my body parts has become a finite entity at my age, and I intend to protect them for maximum uninterrupted service. My sessions are getting longer and longer as all those muscles I forgot about are being reactivated, and I spend a lot more time upright before I fall now- it's all dirt and I'm learning how to ride the rough stuff- 'cause that's all there is. Depending on the fall, it may be time to put it away for the night, or I might get up and give it another go until the second fall. It's really a great way to workout. It's amazing but I'm seeing a lot of improvement in overall toning of my body, plus what doesn't kill ya makes you stronger, so I take the falls as part of the learning curve, and they've become fewer and fewer. I'm really stoked- playing with the modes now. It's not surfing or skating, but it makes me live in the 'now', and takes my mind off all the other stuff going on in the rest of the world. It's a hell of a workout.
I'm a little amused when I see OW's ridden with minimal or no safety gear- but I've only done the dirt, so maybe riding the smooth is way different. All I can say, especially when these guys are talking casually about some of the speeds they're hitting, is don't be a knucklehead- wear your safety gear! It will save you a lot of pain and a lot of money!