Barack Obama has been making the most of his time off since leaving the White House! The 55-year-old and his wife Michelle have been enjoying a well-deserved holiday on Richard Branson’s Moskito Island, and it seems that the couple are having a blast. Top of the agenda? Learning some new watersports – and Richard has delighted fans by giving them a sneak peek of Barack’s progress. The business mogul shared a hilarious short video as he and Barack faced off in a friendly competition with kiteboard and foilboard challenges. The British entrepreneur also opened up about why it’s been a particularly exciting learning curve for former president in an accompanying blog post.
“One of the first stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how, just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii,” wrote Richard. “When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said: ‘This will be the last time you surf for eight years.’ For the next eight years he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved.”
Explaining that it felt “tremendous to offer him the chance to learn to kitesurf”, Richard revealed that Barack was keen to get started as quickly as possible. “Barack started learning to kitesurf on the beach on Necker for two days solid, picking up the basics and flying a kite as if going back to being a child again,” he wrote. “Then he went into the water, standing up and getting a feel for the kite. Finally, he put the board at his feet and gave it a go. Being the former president of America, there was lots of security around, but Barack was able to really relax and get into it.”
So it was tremendous to offer him the chance to learn to kitesurf. The sport has really taken off in the past decade and we have the perfect conditions and team to help anyone learn. I have also wanted to learn foilboard surfing. So we decided to set up a friendly challenge: could Barack learn to kitesurf before I learned to foilboard? We agreed to have a final day battle to see who could stay up the longest.
It soon sparked a competitive edge between the pair, who took to the waters for the fun clip – and Richard admitted that they both still have a lot to learn about the sport.
“As you can see in the video, Barack and I both fell many times, but we kept trying again and again and made progress over the days,” quipped Richard. Although it was Barack who eventually triumphed, Richard graciously accepted defeat. “After all he has done for the world, I couldn’t begrudge him his well-deserved win,” he wrote. “Now he has left, I’m going back into the water to practice for the next challenge. On his next visit, we plan to do the long kite over to Anegada together. Next time, may the best (British) man win!”