A Swift Word

After a 3rd overall finish in wavesailing in 2005, Robby Swift (K-89 JP / NeilPryde), sustained a serious foot injury whilst tow-surfing in Maui. An intense recovery over the winter break saw him place an impressive 5th at this years Guincho wave event. But sadly before the Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam, his 2006 campaign suffered another massive blow. Laid up back in England Robby talks us through his injury, how he’s coping and what his plans are for 2007.



‘It happened landing a double forward in Pozo, just a couple of days before the event started. The second rotation was a little too end-over- end and I came down so flat that my already weakened right foot just couldn't handle the strain.

That left me with what’s known as a Lisfranc Fracture dislocation. It’s a common windsurfing injury and that’s also common to parachutists, gymnasts and horse riders. It’s basically caused by too much pressure being put through the arch of your foot, and the ligaments holding that the arch gives way. A couple of my metatarsals also broke and rotated out of position, so it was quite a nasty injury!

It’s kind of the same injury I had last winter, but more severe (most likely because I started sailing too soon) and so this time I’ve had an operation to screw everything back into place, and the surgeon‘s confident that once it’s all healed, it’ll be like a new foot all over again!

I manage to keep really busy. I train in the gym 5 days a week (after the operation I had to spend two weeks in bed though and that was boring!) I also go to a hyper baric chamber three times a week, which actually takes up about 6 hours of the day! There, you breathe pure oxygen while inside a pressurised container that simulates being 33 feet underwater. It is what all the English footballers do to heal injuries and Nik Baker and my Dad both did it when they had their foot injuries, and they’ve both made very fast, full recoveries.

When I’m not training or having treatment, I’m doing the best I can to promote my sponsors without actually sailing. I’ve completely revamped my website (www.robbyswift.com) and I’m working on a new DVD. I’ve spent up to 14 hours a day some days over the last 3 weeks on my computer, learning how to use programs like Flash, Final Cut Pro and Motion, and I think I’ve made some pretty cool stuff!

Next week, I’m doing a promotional tour around some of the UK retailers of JP and NeilPryde, to show-off the 2007 gear, so I really haven't had much time to get bored! The dates of the tour can be found on my website, so please come along if we’re coming into your area!

I’m also going to a kids' camp in the UK to do some coaching. After living in Maui and being on tour for so long it’s nice to have the time to do all these things, and I think that’s good for me to be involved a little more with the windsurfing scene at home in England!

For the start of 2007 I will be really fit, because one thing that having an injury does for you is gives you nothing else to do but train! I should have about 6 months of actual sailing time before the season starts, so I’m sure that I’ll be firing on all cylinders by the time the action gets underway!

It will be a little strange to start out with a low seeding next year.  In recent years it’s been nice to sit back and watch the first rounds of most of the events, but it really doesn't make a difference in the end though. Everyone sails well and when you go out for a heat, you just have to make the most you can of the conditions, and hope you come out on top, no matter where you are in the elimination ladder. I’m confident that I’ll have the time to prepare for next year,  and start right back up again where I left off!

Obviously my sponsor’s are disappointed for me to be out for the second time so soon. But, they all fully understand this can be a dangerous sport, and with that comes the risk of injury. They know first hand how hard I worked to get better from the last injury and how hard I work all the time with Team MPG out in Maui. They’re also appreciative of all the effort I put into continue promoting their brands while I'm not able to actually get on the water, and that I’ll be back stronger than ever next year.

I’m definitely entering Freestyle in 2007, and if the Overall World Title is reintroduced, then I’m also thinking about trying my hand in slalom - so I could have a lot on my plate next year! I still love learning all the new freestyle moves, and I would hate to stop doing it and have to watch all the young kids doing tricks that I couldn’t do! I’m only 22 myself and having to watch that would make me feel like an old man!

I just wanted to say thanks a lot to my Mum, who’s also my physiotherapist, and Dad for being fantastic support. Anyone who has had a relative with a broken leg will know what a burden it is. I can’t drive or even make myself food, so I’m completely dependant on them! Having seen all the things I'm doing, you'll understand that they are really putting themselves out for me, and I'm very grateful to them for standing by me as always!

So, I get my cast off on the 4th September and should be able to start sailing slowly a month after that! Almost in time for Sylt but not quite, so I'm going to take it slowly this time, and make sure I am 100% ready for the 2007 season!’

Thanks a lot for the update Robby. Here’s wishing you the fastest possible recovery.

© PWA / Brian McDowell