Maui Man Marks 100th Birthday with Zipline, Kitesurfing Adventures
Maui resident Nels Gerhard Glesne marked his 100th birthday by doing something not too many centenarians can boast about–ziplining and kiteboarding. With a GoPro in hand and youth in his heart, Glesne helped to document his own birthday adventure as the oldest-ever zipline participant at the Skyline Eco-Adventues’ Haleakalā course.
The World War II veteran and retired forester took to the mountains on Sunday, April 17, for the two-hour zipline crossing, and was accompanied by more than a dozen family members who joined in the celebration.
Glesne completed all five lines of the course, which includes towering eucalyptus trees, 90-foot drops and a swinging bridge through Upcountry, Maui.
“My favorite part of the zipline is jumping off and accelerating,” said Glesne.
Glesne, who was born in 1916 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, moved to Maui in August 2013 and has three daughters, one son, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Nearly all accompanied him on his birthday zipline adventure. Glesne was also married for 69 ½ years.
Glesne planted thousands of trees while working in forestry. After completing the zipline course, he planted a native Hawaiian ʻōhiʻa lehua tree with his family to commemorate the occasion.
Glesne also celebrated his birthday by kiteboarding with his son and two instructors on a small customcatamaran. Glesne was introduced to the sport by his son, Tom who is a passionate kitesurfer.
Staying active is part of Glesne’s lifestyle. He is also an avid tennis fan who started playing the game at the end of World War II. “Any day on the tennis court is like Christmas,” said Glesne, who still plays doubles four times a week. His philosophy is to “just keep moving.”