OCEAN CITY, N.J. (WPVI) --Earl Paul worked as a pipe fitter for 41 years in Philadelphia before retiring to Ocean City, New Jersey.
The self-proclaimed world's Number 1 beach bum takes his role seriously, and with many grains of sand.
Earl Paul is 80-years-old.
He said, "I think I represent something. I represent hope."
But it was grief that brought Earl to the beach. Just two years into retirement, Earl's wife passed away.
"I went down to the beach, I felt more comfortable. And I started doing it every day. I wasn't cured, I wasn't over my wife," said Earl.
That healing has continued for some twenty years. And nearly 7,000 beach days later, Earl's quest has brought him attention, even celebrity.
"Radio stations, television stations and newspapers need stories. I am a story," he said.
According to Earl, one beach day is at least 3 hours on the beach, sometimes 12 hours in the summer. He does it rain or shine or snow, about 350 days a year.
"If you want to lead a long life, you better change your lifestyle. You just don't come down here to sit, you come down here to absorb the fresh air, to absorb the sunshine, to make yourself healthier," said Earl.
Earl claims to have failed English at Frankford High School, but has published a book about his journey.
"I'm more than a beach bum. It took me two years to write it. I had never written anything. I don't even write good Christmas cards," said Earl.
But the beach days have brought purpose for Earl. He's engaged in life. And now at age 80, he has no intention of slowing down.
"I'm here today, I'll probably definitely be here tomorrow, and God only knows what the other days are about. My intention is to do it until my body wears out," said Earl.
For more stories on seniors, visit our Art of Aging section.