John Skye (37) is one of the most experienced wave sailors on tour. Originally from UK he moved to Gran Canaria. Now he is married with world class wave sailor Nayra Alonso and proud father of two kids. It was about time to hook up with John, who just finished a really cool clip about the monster conditions on Gran Canaria in February. Watch a nice clip and read our interview below.


Watch John Skye (K-57) in “A windy week in Gran Canaria” 


Interview with John Skye

Continentseven: How is it going? Congratulations on your second child?
John Skye: Thanks. Everything is going great. Nayra and the baby are doing great and it’s an amazing feeling to have the complete family. We have been very lucky and have two healthy kids, one girl and one boy. Right now it’s pretty hectic between sorting out the new born and trying to pay lots of attention to the older one too, plus keeping up with all the work things. Luckily the conditions have been pretty bad this week, so it has made it much easier to switch off and focus! I am looking forward to the next couple of months when things settle down a bit and Nayra can come sailing too. She has been really missing it during this pregnancy and can’t wait to get back on the water. 


Continentseven: February saw amazing conditions on Gran Canaria, probably the best since a long time?
John Skye: It is definitely the best I have ever seen here. Normally I guess I am away more of the winter, so miss the days like these, but because of the baby situation I am here and it has been great. In particular one day with logo/mast high peeling down the line, was amazing. I would have preferred the wind a little lighter, but you get used to 3.7 weather over here! Over 2 weeks the sail I used the most was my 3.7, which is unbelievable. It got to the point where a “light wind” day was when I was using 4.0! Thanks to Josep Pons and Moritz Mauch we managed to film a little bit between us and I could put together a little clip. 


Continentseven: You started windsurfing with 13 years in 1990. Now 25 years later you can look back on a fantastic career. Many top 10 results, British titles, even podiums on the PWA tour. Did you plan a windsurfing career like this?
John Skye: Never ever! I grew up 2 hours from the coast, sailing on a lake that was 30 minute drive from my house. Me and my best friend used to dream of it at school, but to be honest I thought it was completely impossible to make a career out of it. Back then freestyle hadn’t been invented, so the only real option was racing and I was always too small for that. The PWA at the time was dominated by Björn, Anders and a whole bunch of 190cm giants. I wanted to be big and tall, but genetics weren’t really on my side! In the end I was super lucky that freestyle arrived at the exact right moment for me to be able to take advantage of it, and like nearly all the top wave sailors that started at the same time as me, freestyle was the entry door. 


Continentseven: Your dad brought you into the sport and who motivated you to become a professional in the sport of windsurfing?
John Skye: My dad used to take me sailing and was really encouraging, but I think actually it was my best friend at school being super motivated that was what got me hooked. Becoming professional was just a dream and I don’t think it was ever really a goal until quite a bit later. I was just enjoying the sport, trying to push my level and then step by step, things fell in to place and I ended up having one of the best lives possible! Unlike others I never arrived so much with a bang, but just kept chipping away at making it work and it paid off. I remember during my first full year on the tour, having had a couple of really good results, being briefly 2nd place in the overall PWA ranking and making my first proper money, I was walking through London and it all sort of hit me, with wow… I made it somehow! I still remember that feeling so well and feel extremely lucky. I owe a lot of people big thanks along the way!


Continentseven: Did you like windsurfing from the beginning on?
John Skye: Not really if I am honest. I first windsurfed around 1985 when I was 7 or 8, but just on massive boards and kids sails. It was so easy, but also pretty boring drifting around ponds at 2knots. At the time I was really into skiing and skateboarding and windsurfing didn’t come close. Then I planed for the first time and everything changed from that moment on. Once I had felt that sensation, I have been hooked ever since and it still gives me the best feeling to just get up and in the straps on the first run everyday! Whether its 8.6 weather on the slalom gear or 3.7 wave sailing.


Continentseven: You are 37 years-old and the oldest sailor doing the whole tour and your results are still brilliant. How do you manage to keep up with the younger guys? 
John Skye: I don’t really know. I actually started late. Unlike most of the others on tour, I finished school, went to university and finished all my education before even starting on the tour. My first year was the same as Kauli, Ricardo, Robby Swift. We were all rookies together, but they were 6-8 years younger than me. I was 22 and they were all in their teens. I think it has kept me a bit fresher as the years have gone by. In the last couple of years my job has become much more orientated towards the sail design work and that has really taken the pressure off competing. Contests used to be really important and now it is just a small part of what I do. It has made it much easier to enjoy the events and made it easier to perform well. Plus I guess a bit of experience has helped. 



Continentseven: When we watch your videos, it seems you still improve every year. You land really nice doubles, radical tweaked Pushloops and you are able to perform well on both tacks. Do you feel the same?
John Skye: When I first started competing I was much better with wind from the right (starboard tack), and I worked really hard to get my port tack sailing better. A few years ago it reached the point where it felt really equal. Unfortunately now I so rarely get to sail starboard tack that I start to lose it a bit. It totally broke me this year in La Torche. They were my dream conditions, cross onshore starboard tack, and I have literally been waiting for that since the last Guincho event in 2006. However when it came to my heat, I felt really rusty, I couldn’t do anything and went out first round. It took me a full day of competing to start to get back to my old sailing. I had a good run in the double elimination, but unfortunately it was all a bit too late! Definitely this summer I will go across to Fuerte and brush up my starboard tack skills before the autumn events.


Continentseven: Did you already think about a retirement from the professional wave tour? 
John Skye: I have one more year on my contract to compete and then we will see. I love competition, but also it’s really hard to be away from the family. I have to see how well I do this year and take it from there. The first 2 events are in my back yard, so it’s stupid not to do them, and then depending on how they go make a decision to carry on or not. I don’t ever see my self “retiring”, but definitely the focus will change. I see myself eventually moving away from just the wave events and do some different things. Last year I competed in the Fuerte Slalom and loved it. This year I want to do the same and am even thinking about joining Bjorns speed challenge event and see how that goes. I enjoy the challenges and it’s great to learn more about the equipment as well.


Continentseven: Besides competition, you are responsible for the sail development of RRD and testing gear and you are father and husband. How do you manage everything?
John Skye: Sometimes it is really hard and mostly it is the contest and ‘training’ side of things that get pushed aside. Luckily here in Gran Canaria the wind is so good, so for testing it makes it really easy. I can get a set of prototypes and almost guarantee in a week to test them all, no matter what sizes they are. The workload can be quite extreme at times, but they are my own hours, so no matter what, I try to spend at least a few quality hours with the family everyday and then if needed I can work all night. As I am dealing with China a lot, the night time is often more productive anyway. Nayra understands better than anyone about the wind and weather, so it makes it a bit easier to explain that today is the perfect day to test the 6.2’s that I am working on or whatever it is. The hardest thing has been my fitness. That has been the part that has suffered the most, so this year I starting training with Pons. It means 2x one hour sessions per week which are set and in the schedule. The only time we miss training is if it’s sick wave sailing which is perfect.   


Continentseven: What comes up next for you?
John Skye: A lot of sleepless nights. A lot of nappy changing. A really nice new range of RRD sails. Then the events start here in Pozo in July! More longer term who knows, but I hope to raise my family well, keep on sailing and enjoying it all as much as I can. 



© 2015, John Skye