In the beginning of July the UK wave sailor Robby Swift crashed hard during a one footed Backloop at Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria. Robby had to travel back to London to undergo surgery at the London Food & Ankle Center. Now he is out of the hospital, lost some weight, but has already started to think about his comeback on the water. Robby is a fighter. He knows how to recover from injuries as he was injured several times during his career as a professional windsurfer.


Robby Swift in the London Foot & Ankle (Pic: Robby Swift)

Robby Swift in the London Foot & Ankle Center on July 8th (Pic: Robby Swift)



Continentseven: Hi Robby, how are you doing after the surgery?

Robby Swift: All good. I am with my mum and dad at home in England and I have actually had the chance to see all my brothers and my sister, and all my nieces and nephews except one. I don’t normally get to see them much so that is nice.


Continentseven: Was the surgery a success?

Robby Swift: Yes, the surgeon is very happy. He is sure I will make a full recovery.


Continentseven: How did the crash happen?

Robby Swift: I was doing a 1 footed backloop and I decided to let go of the gear. Normally it would be fine, but unfortunately I landed on top of the sail with my foot against the mast and all my weight fell onto the foot and ankle. I broke the bottom of the tibia and the top of the fibula.


Continentseven: How did you get all your bags back to Maui or England?

Robby Swift: I didn’t actually. First Philip and Antoine Martin and Brawzinho took the gear back to our locker. Aleix Sanhelly drove me to the hospital with Brawzinho. Then Ricardo and Brawzinho packed all my stuff, they were really amazing doing that. It was a lot of work!

Then a friend from Gran Canaria, Jorge Vera, took the stuff to the airport in his van and Hugo Lewis, PWA event manager kindly took all the gear back to England for me. Dad went to Heathrow to pick it all up. It was a big effort from a lot of friends, so thank you all for helping me!


Action at Denmark last year (Pic: PWA/Carter 2012)

Action at Denmark last year (Pic: PWA/Carter 2012)



Continentseven: What were your first thoughts after the crash?

Robby Swift: I was completely broken. To be honest, I felt like crying. I really thought this is the end of my career after all the hard work I have put in to miss another season like this would just destroy me, and I thought all my sponsors would get rid of me for sure in these tough times. All that stuff goes through your head of course. It is the worst possible moment for an athlete, especially since I have been injured 3 times before this in the last 8 years. 

Luckily though, I went to one of the best surgeons in the UK and he thinks I will be 100% better before long, and I have fantastic sponsors and family and friends who were all very supportive of me and a combination of their positiveness and the doctor’s skill made me realize that I can get better again and do it quickly and that this is just another bump in the road. 

It did take me about 10 days to 2 weeks to get out of my depression though. This was probably one of my worst mental states after an injury, I think because I was so well prepared for this year. I really thought I had a good chance to fight at least for the podium.


Continentseven: You were prepared very well for the event. What are your latest moves you trained for the this year’s event?

Robby Swift: I was doing doubles very consistently and pushloop forwards when it is windy, one footed backloops and shakas and 360s and goiters etc. I really felt ready!


Robby at Pozo 2012 (Pic: Carter/PWA).

Robby at Pozo 2012 in front of the bunker (Pic: Carter/PWA).


Continentseven: It was not your first injury. Can you handle it well or did you suffer a big setback?

Robby Swift: I can handle it. I handled it before and the other injuries I had were actually much worse. this one should be 2-3 months off the water and I only had a week in a cast. The other ones were 2 or 3 months in a cast and then 6 months off the water, so as long as everything goes well, this will just be a minor setback.


Continentseven: What’s your time schedule? When can you expect to start with the first training and when will you be able to compete again?

Robby Swift: I hope to be able to compete in Denmark. It is not an unrealistic goal. The surgeon says I may be OK. It will be 11 weeks after the injury. Normally they say 12 weeks to return to full sporting activity but I do so much rehab and training that I am sure I will be OK to sail by then.

I will not do it if I am not ready though, I have to be sensible and just do what the doctors and my body tells me. That is my goal though, to be ready for Denmark.


Continentseven: Is it realistic to think about a participation in your Chile event?

Robby Swift: I hope so! I want to win it!


Continentseven: Do you have a lot of work organizing the event for Chile?

Robby Swift: Yes. It is a huge amount of work and it is hard since I am not there at the moment but we have a great team working on it and I am in constant contact with them. They are doing their best to get together the additional sponsorship we need but our title sponsor Aragas are absolutely amazing and have promised us the bulk of the money that we need, so we are just trying to add the icing on the cake, so to speak.


Robby with a massive Pushloop Forward at the Red Bull Stormchase 2013 in Ireland (Pic: Red Bull Stormchase).

Robby with a massive Pushloop Forward at the Red Bull Stormchase 2013 in Ireland (Pic: Red Bull Stormchase).


Continentseven: Did you watch the Pozo Event on the livestream?

Robby Swift: Yes, I was watching it! There wasn’t much to watch but the final day’s expression session let me have a fun Sunday afternoon! Looking forward to Tenerife! (Robby commented the super session through his twitter account)


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