John Skye (RRD / RRD Sails) has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, spanning almost two decades having made his debut on the PWA World Tour in 2001. The Brit has been crowned UK Wave Champion 5 times, European Freestyle Champion once (2002) and collected numerous top 10 results on the PWA Wave World Tour. Skye may have hung up his harness from Wave World Cups, but the 41-year-old still likes to pit his wits against the best by competing at the Fuerteventura PWA Slalom World Cup - finishing 32nd last year. Skye also reminds a prominent figure in the windsurfing world as he also heads up the sail design for RRD Sails. We recently caught up with John for our latest 20 Questions interview, which you can read below:
1. Why are you so passionate about windsurfing?
I grew up loving all sorts of balance sports. When I first really experienced windsurfing, and fully planed along it felt like the ultimate sport to me. Total freedom on the ocean like sailing, tricks like skateboarding, jumping like skiing/snowboarding and later on I learnt you could ride waves like a surfer.
2. What quality do you like most in other people?
I think honesty and trust.
3. What annoys or frustrates you the most?
Injustice always really infuriates me.
4. What do you like most in yourself?
I try to always be honest and always try to do the right thing with everyone. Basically try to be nice to people. (except constant ‘English' style taking the piss!)
5. What do you dislike in yourself?
I wish I could be more of an arsehole sometimes. Especially in contests I wish I had a bit more of a ruthless streak. Maybe I could have got a few more good results like that.
6. What was your best moment on tour?
After 15 years on the tour it's really hard to pick 1 moment. For sure my only PWA podium in Fuerte is up there near the top. Meeting my wife Nayra [Alonso] in Sylt and also when she won in Sylt was pretty special too. Probably the best competition feeling I ever had was on my first proper full year on tour. I just went along to see how I would do, and after the first 2 events I was lying 2nd overall in freestyle. It was so miles above my expectations I was totally blown away by it. I remember walking through London, seeing all the people around and thinking to myself that according to the ranking there is only 1 person better than me in the whole world right now! It didn’t last long unfortunately as I came crashing down after the next event, but that month was pretty amazing and it pretty much set me up with sponsors and everything for the rest of my career!
7. What was the worst moment on tour?
I think all the close losses. You never remember when you win a heat by 0.1pts, but you remember every time you lose by 0.1. There were a couple that really didn’t seem fair at the time and they still haunt me today. Often if 1 or 2 of those close decisions go your way it can really make a huge difference between an average year and an incredible one.
8. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given yourself when your career started?
To reset my goals, keep pushing upwards and fight a bit more. It was always my dream to become a ‘pro’. I worked super hard to make it, and constantly set myself goals to strive for. Then when I made it as a pro and was living the dream, I wish I had reset the goal and aimed it a bit higher. I don't think I ever would have been world champ, but I know I could have got a lot closer than I did.
9. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
That is a very hard question. In the end your experience and knowledge comes from listening to people, watching them, filtering the information and applying that knowledge to your own ways. So pretty much every tiny piece of advice (good and bad) all adds up. However I do remember Nik Baker giving me a few gear set up tips when I first started that really made a big difference.
10. What would be your perfect day?
I think an early morning surf. Some quality time with my family. Then probably a session in Ho’okipa, or somewhere like Punta Preta. Actually the 1st year we went to Cape Verde it was pretty much a perfect day everyday. Surfed every morning in amazing conditions. Ate like a king in an all inclusive 5 star hotel and sailed the best conditions I ever sailed pretty much everyday for 2 weeks! And all with good friends.
11. Do you have any superstitions?
Not really. I guess the only thing is that I have to have my footstraps the right way around. I don’t like it if the label/logo is facing the wrong way.
12. Which living person do you most admire?
Hopefully he won’t read this but probably Dave White. No matter how hard life hits him he somehow bounces back up, stays positive through it all and comes out smiling. That is an unbelievable attribute.
13. What is your greatest fear?
Snakes and heights…. So being trapped in a cable car with a snake would pretty much be the worst!
14. What is your most treasure possession?
My kids definitely, but they are not really possessions.
15. If you weren’t a professional windsurfer, what would you like to be?
A sail designer! hahaha. Outside of windsurfing I think I would have enjoyed programming. I actually enrolled in a computing course at Uni, but quickly changed to Yacht Design as it was more ‘windsurf’ related.
16. Where is the best place you’ve been?
Probably Maui. Obviously I love the sailing there, but also the life around it is a really nice balance. I always feel healthy there and probably it’s the place I miss the most now I am a bit more settled.
17. Where would you most like to go that you haven’t been to yet?
I have been lucky to travel quite a bit, but the 2 places left on my bucket list are San Carlos, Baja, and also Capo Mannu, Sardinia.
18. Who would you most like to have as a dinner guest, dead or alive?
19. First App you open in the morning?
Sad to say but Mail. I have a small window in the morning to talk to China, so I always make a quick check to see if there is anything important to deal with. After that probably BBC Sport is what I will check whilst eating my breakfast.
20. Most visited website?
21. A phase you live by?
That is actually 21 questions…. but…
You can do anything if you work hard at it, but make sure you enjoy it along the way.