The flying Frenchman has returned to his routes. After a two year long break Leo Ray recently announced his return to windsurfing, but what are his plans. We caught up with him for a quick interview, check it out over the next few pages.
Leo, you have been away from the scene for a while now, why did you stop from one day to the next?
I was windsurfing in the Naish Sails International Team for 11 years. It has been an amazing experience. I reached a lot of my childhood dreams and goals. Nothing could have made me happier than that. But as I got older it felt like I needed some new challenges. It became necessary to take a break from windsurfing if I wanted to reach new goals.
So what have you been up to in the last two years?
I have been following the dream of body flying. I started skydiving a little bit more than 3 years ago. I also wanted to try wingsuiting, speed riding and base jumping so I had to reorganise my life around those activities.
What is better, falling from the sky with a parachute on your back or holding on to windsurf gear?
Some people don’t like windsurfing and some people are terrified by the idea of jumping out of a plane. I am really stoked that I can get a lot of pleasure in both of these sports. I don’t know which one is better. What I do know is that you can not skydive over 18 knots of wind and you can hardly windsurf under 18 knots … Do you know what I mean?? If you practice both activities, you always have something fun to do.
Did the time away teach you anything you might now try in windsurfing, can we expect new things from you?
Maybe the fact that I have been dealing with more fear than I was used to will have an impact on my approach to windsurfing. It doesn’t mean that I will not care about crashing and suddenly start going for crazy stupid things but eventually I will be able to use that fear to get the best out of myself on big waves for example, in order to not fuck up as it is necessary in base jumping.
Would you say you are a self-confessed adrenaline junkie?
Adrenaline is definitely part of the game in body flying but I don’t think it is the main reward or goal. What I love the most is having dreams and doing the best to make them happen. Learning things is what drives me the most. There is nothing better than doing something that you were not able to do the day before. The process you have to go through when learning is what makes me enjoy living at the fullest.
The big question is not why you left windsurfing but why did you come back?
Ahahah, that's right, nice one!! I needed a break that's for sure, but I see no reason to stop windsurfing forever and to forget about it. Windsurfing gave me everything, it ruled my life for so long. I guess that is why I miss being on the water. I am sure there are some great adventures ahead.
You now have good support from Fanatic/North/Ion/Mfc, what are your plans for training and competing?
Competition is not my main goal for now. I would rather focus on spending time on the water without this added pressure. I want to feel good sailing as much as I always did and I want to learn new things. I am more interested on making videos to show what a great sport windsurfing is. It might be the best way to give something back to my sponsors who are giving me the chance to windsurf again. I am focusing on training for big wave riding. Being ready for the next big swell is my challenge. I want to ride Jaws again. Regarding contests, maybe it will come later. I would have liked to be part of PWA in La Torche, France last year and I would love to do the AWT in Maui if I am there when it will happen next time. I will see, there are plenty of things until then.
Will you continue on base jumping?
Oh Yeah, that’s for sure! I worked hard to make this happen, but I've only taken the first few steps. There is so much more to do. It will take time. I don’t want to rush it, but I am determined to make some more of my dreams come true
You are now in Maui, are you there long and will you be jumping straight into R'n'D, or just there for training?
I am on Maui for 10 days already, this is my 26th trip. I am here for two months. I have plenty of time to train before the photoshoot period starts when all the riders will come from everywhere. I am so impatient to see everyone, to ride and to spend time with them. Regarding the R&D, I would definitely like to be part of it. Trying new products, sharing with designers is always very interesting. But to be honest I don’t think anyone really needs me for that. There is already a really strong team who have done a very good job over the years. Victor is coming to the island soon, we will be living in the same house. I'm pretty exited to see him and to ride with him in the next few weeks.
Leo is supported by Fanatic, North and APSU Nutrition