Screengrab via Richard Branson/YouTube

Barack Obama kitesurfed with Richard Branson on a private island

He's never leaving the water now.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Feb 7, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 1:31 am CDT

Aside from releasing a statement condemning Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Barack Obama is still in full vacation mode after his presidency ended. And now he’s got the video to show just how much more fun he’s having than the rest of us.

Billionaire Richard Branson invited the Obamas to Necker Island, his own private island in the British Virgin Islands, for what he called a “complete break” after the former president left the White House. While Obama vacationed there, he learned to kitesurf and engaged Branson in a friendly foilboarding competition.

It takes him some time to get the hang of it—and get the better of Branson—but he’s easily having the time of his life.

His joy isn’t just in taking a huge vacation after leaving a major job after eight years—he’s finally able to return to something he loves. Although the kitesurfing aspect is fairly new, the former president has long loved watersports, something he hasn’t been able to do in almost a decade, according to a blog post Branson wrote about Obama’s visit.

“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,” Branson wrote. “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 water sports or do many of the things he loved.”

Share this article
*First Published: Feb 7, 2017, 6:42 am CST