Asides from being one of the world’s best windsurfers, Britain’s Robby Swift has a few other ventures up his talented sleeve. He tells us more about his businesses, ambitions and life on Maui.
WORDS – ROBBY SWIFT // PHOTOS – JOHN CARTER, FISH BOWL DIARIES
Back then pros were making loads of money windsurfing, so it wasn’t that unrealistic. I also dreamed I would have a Spanish wife and two blond little kids and that is pretty much how it has turned out. Ross even married my wife’s sister so we have both lived out our dreams. Now I am renting cars as well as starting to build houses over here. My family have always been involved in property so I have started doing that a little bit. That side of things is very interesting in Hawaii and has possibilities too. These are all things I like doing, and if you like what you are doing it makes working hard easier.
A lot of sailors these days are amazing windsurfers, which is good, but today’s sponsors are looking for more than that. Some years you do well in the contests and some years you don’t. It is not for the lack of training, but it just happens. If you can apply yourself to other roles for the brands, which they would need to pay somebody for anyway, for sure it makes you a more valuable member of the team. I have always been one of those guys. When I met Heidy eleven years ago, I went to Martin Brandner, the then manager at JP, with an idea of getting her to come with me to the events. We came up with a plan that she would film and they would pay for the tickets and expenses. I have always been like that and tried to find a way to make things work. In the end that was a little niche that they needed. They had exclusive videos of the events. They don’t need it so much anymore because of the live streaming, but now the social media side is important. I always try and find ways of making myself useful. Heidy always complains that I don’t ever sit around and relax, but I get kind of bored doing nothing, so I am always working on ideas and plans to help out my sponsors.
We will be able to do family trips to surf locations I hope, so the future looks exciting. That has always been my other dream. Teaching the boys to windsurf and surf has to be the most fun that I have at the moment. Seeing them actually enjoy it and ask me to go is just incredible.
I get so much pleasure out of it. I try not to be pushy and let them just catch a couple of waves if that’s all they want to do, or just do a couple of runs, but it keeps it lighthearted and we all have such a great time together.
I can’t wait till they are out surfing and windsurfing with me in the conditions that I love, and I’m sure it won’t be long before they are ‘out-paddling’ me in surfing and laughing at me falling in, but I’m going to cherish all the sweet little moments with them on the way.
I train with Sarah Hauser 3 times a week along with Brawzinho, Ricardo Campello and Morgan Noireaux. We generally train ourselves pushing light weights through full range of motion and making sure we are strong when doing something physically and mentally challenging – jumping onto and off Bosu balls with weights and landing 180 degrees from take-off etc. etc. It really makes me feel good when I get into those super crouched down positions doing 360s or goiters etc. and have to save the moves. I think preparing yourself for the full range of motion is the most important thing to do. For big wave training, I just try to make sure I’m comfortable underwater for a long time. At least 2 minutes makes me feel comfortable, although my all-time best was 3:45. I think if you can hold your breath for over 2 minutes and well over a minute when stressed then you feel pretty prepared.
The last time I competed was in the Aloha Classic in November 2019. It was almost a little bit too big then, as well as very light winds. It was annoying that it was not perfect Ho’okipa but I guess you never get perfect conditions in contests, do you? The two days before were the best two days of the year. It was not bad conditions, but the wind was borderline. You probably would not have even gone sailing on those days but we were forced to go out. It was kind of fun and we sailed, but we could not show what we could do. We were trying to do our best on 5.3 sails and 93 litre boards and get into some of the massive choppy waves. I made it to the semi-final, which was fine. I lost to Camille Juban and Bernd Roediger, who are both much lighter than me and were on 4.5m sails, which just look so different to the big stuff I was using. I also chose the wrong waves in the semi-final and tried to do a goiter at the end, which I made, but there was no wind so I could not pull the sail up.