One hallmark of all adventure travelers: They embrace the challenge of mastering new adrenaline-pumping tricks. Apparently, former President Barack Obama is no exception to this rule.
Video footage surfaced this week of the 44th U.S. president vacationing in the British Virgin Islands, where he hung out on a speedboat with Virgin founder Richard Branson and tried his hand at kitesurfing—one of the most difficult water sports.
Most of the footage is totally humbling. At first, the former President struggled to maintain any semblance of balance and stay up on his board long enough to actually surf. In one clip, however, Obama manages to steady himself and kitesurf for more than 100 meters—an eternity for first-time kitesurfers.
One particular video, posted to Branson’s YouTube account, depicts Obama’s kitesurfing escapade as part of a friendly race with Branson to see who could ace his water sport faster.
(Branson’s sport: foilboarding, which uses a board with a hydrofoil that extends down into the water.)
The outing was covered by a handful of outlets, including TravelPulse.
And according to an article on the Huffington Post, the kitesurfing excursion was long overdue for the Hawaiian native Obama, who grew up surfing but mostly was forbidden by the Secret Service to practice the sport during his time in the Oval Office.
A blog post from Branson on Virgin.com confirmed these facts with an anecdote Obama told Branson when he and his family arrived in the British Virgin Islands earlier this week. According to Branson’s post, Obama explained that after one particularly epic surfing session in Hawaii back in 2009, he was told by the Secret Service that it “would be the last time he surfed for the next eight years.”
The blog post also includes pictures of Obama and his wife, Michelle, frolicking in the sea with Branson.
Now that the former President and his family have returned to the mainland United States, we find ourselves jonesing to take up kitesurfing as well. To repeat a familiar slogan: Thanks, Obama.