Coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought changes to all our lives and different approaches in various countries; we asked a selection of the world’s top windsurfers for their experiences of the COVID-19 public health measures in their respective homes and their thoughts on the pandemic. Please note that as the situation is so fluid across the world, some of the guidelines by which people are abiding may have since changed from the time of writing.
(Photos by John Carter except where stated otherwise.)
ROBBY NAISH: MAUI
Things tend to change on a daily basis here, and we are now officially under “lockdown”. I am trying to focus on keeping the business running and not having to lay off any of my employees or team riders. So far so good, but very choppy water ahead. Up until today we were not mandated to self-isolate, but just recommended. So, I have been on the water just about every day doing our photo shoot for next year juggling the different sports. Conditions have been very good, and we have been lucky to have shot most of our next year’s equipment much earlier than most others. Today is the start of an official lockdown on Maui that is supposed to stay in place until April 30. Fortunately, there are a couple of loopholes which still allow those that are creative to get into the water in certain spots. Beach parks are all shut down. But yesterday and today for example we shot at La Perouse in some of the best south swell conditions that we have had in a long time. Some very, very windy but fun windsurfing. But I am forced to close the Naish offices and shop, as well as my US operation in Washington. But I have not let anyone go or reduced any pay at this stage. The coming weeks and or months will be challenging for many small businesses, mine included. But I am trying to stay optimistic, and I know that I am very lucky to be experiencing these times here on Maui rather than just about anywhere else in the world. Hopefully this will soon be a distant memory and the world can get back to business, back to socialising and back on the water!
IBALLA MORENO: FUERTEVENTURA
The situation here in the Canary Islands is not good. We are living a nightmare like the rest of Spain, Italy and probably rest of Europe! Not only the virus, but also the economic impact that this will have worldwide, but right now this is secondary. The most important is to follow the rules, the quarantine and fingers crossed we can get back to almost normal in a short period of time (3 more weeks we have of isolating time in Spain after one week has passed) We must follow the isolating time rules to avoid chaos in the hospitals. I am in Fuerteventura at the moment, away from Daida and my family, but I thought it would be the best, so we avoid airplanes and transport. We don’t have “many” cases in Canary Islands comparatively. Around 350 positive, in Covid 19 in total while I write this but going up. The problem is a lot of people may have it and they don’t know as they don’t do the test to everyone. So it is important to stay home and avoid spreading the virus everywhere (we all know how contagious this virus is). From now on our lives will be different! I cannot count the hours to be back in the ocean, meanwhile we all need to stay strong and follow the instructions and protect the older people and the most vulnerable. I stay at home with a routine. Breakfast, computer, studies. I am doing a life-saving course and sailing degree! So I have the online exams and of course training! I am finishing this little project, it was something I wanted to do and never had the time. Also I am working on a new website – more MORENOTWINS and an online store. with different products we have been working on the last years! I just opened a new account on Instagram, Morenotwins store, and soon we will be posting all the products. I also read books and the most important: I follow my training routine at home. It is important to keep your body filled up with energy and motivation.
Action photo by Eduardo Vidarte.
DAIDA MORENO: GRAN CANARIA
We live in a paradise to do outdoor sports, and it’s super difficult to look through the window and not being able to go out. Let us all be responsible for the vulnerable people!
ROSS WILLIAMS: UK
It is a pretty scary the situation right now! I feel it especially as I became a dad only about a month ago. I don’t remember ever feeling so protective over anyone or anything like I do now for the well-being of my daughter Sienna. It is sad to think that there will be so many families that are going to lose loved ones. A lot has changed for me in the past few months and I feel much more connected and concerned about other people. I think this can be a world changing view and we are able to find some good when we reach the other side of this pandemic. I feel mother earth has just flexed her muscles a little and hopefully this can lead to a better understanding and compassion for everyone in the world to be treated equally and fairly. The lockdown itself I haven’t minded it! If it is going to save lives it is the right thing to do. I think I am fortunate to live on an island where there are not some many people living on top of one and other. If we were in a big city, it would feel worse. So far not much has changed for me, there is plenty of work to be done, I had been in the water a lot lately so there are plenty of video edits I could release. But also, there is lots of work and daily updates to make sure I have my family financially and physically taken care of. I have not just my windsurfing career to look after, but also the UK agency and our Cafe too, so it is a lot to juggle and keep on top of. The great things about this, is the time I get to spend with my wife and daughter, we are quite into preparing healthy foods and stuff, so for me I have been getting more practice in the kitchen as well as hanging out with them and connecting with each other. My overall thought is that we have to be positive that things will return to normal. I think here in the UK we will pull ourselves together as a nation and we will come out the other side of this terrible situation more united and hopefully learn to respect the earth and try better to live in a balance with everyone and with the planet too.
PHILIP KOSTER: GRAN CANARIA
Looks like we are halfway through the quarantine so far (unless they want to do it longer) Two weeks at home are over and it is a lot harder than expected. Here in Spain you are not allowed to go out of your house apart from getting groceries or go to the pharmacy. In the first week we had amazing conditions and watching it from the window was one of the hardest and most depressing experiences. Of course, being together with my girlfriend and baby made it way better, but still the water part was missing. My day looks kind of relaxed! I don’t think I have ever had that long breakfasts, lunches and dinners in my life! In between I try to do some exercises and a lot of bike training. Otherwise I am worried about what is going to happen with the tour. I am super excited to compete but also really worried about the whole virus situation. There are a lot of questions about if the events are going to happen or if it will be safe to travel. Also, I am not sure if the event organisers are going to get the funds for the events when the whole economy is down! I guess we will find out more in the upcoming weeks.
(Action photo by Two Goat Media)
PIERRE MORTEFON: FRANCE
From my side everything is ok for now and all my family are safe. I am staying at home as it’s now not allowed to go out except for food shopping or for mandatory work. I am just a little bit afraid as my wife is still working and she’s coming home every evening. The situation is strange and a bit scary. I decided to relax a little bit in terms of work out and windsurfing focus at the moment. First of all, I needed a little bit of rest and now I think sport in general is not the important subject right now. I think it’s going to be really complicated to start the season before the summer, but we will see. Now I just want to stay safe, enjoy the time with my boy and learn how to be a good father. First week of lockdown we had a good project with Leon. He wanted his own windsurfing sail, so we created a little prototype. Yesterday I was able to finish it and he really enjoys it! I was so happy to share this with him and I can see on his smile that he really like his new toys, it was even hard to call him back from the garden yesterday evening!
JAEGER STONE: AUSTRALIA
Yeah, it’s such a crazy time. I was due to fly to Maui on the 9th of March, but the forecast was better at home, so I delayed it a week. Everything escalated so quickly so I decided to put my flights on hold again for a little while to see what happened. The day I was due to leave the Australian Government announced that any Australians who were overseas should return home as soon as possible and now the borders are closed with a travel ban in place. You have these moments when you get distracted or forget and it just feels completely surreal that something like this is happening. At the moment I’m just trying to be patient and keep my distance as best as I can. We’re not on complete lock down in Australia but everything that’s non-essential is closed and it feels like people are only just starting to take it seriously now. I have been spending a lot of time at home, exercising in the back yard, enjoying the outdoors and beaches a little bit while we can, but just keeping distance. There’s quite a bit of uncertainty to everything at the moment, so we will have to see how it plays out.