A different Year
for Victor Fernandez
How did 2020 start off for you?
It actually started quite well for me. I organized the PWA Youth World Cup from the 2nd to the 5th of January with my Club Víctor Fernández. We were busy and we had a nice competition for the youths. After that, I drove to Los Caños de Meca on a good forecast of levante to windsurf together with Fanatic/Duotone teammate Nacho Rocha and then I was off to Maui on the 3rd of March, just when the pandemic was starting to hit very strongly, especially in Spain at that time.
Actually, some borders were closing to Spain. Did you consider not going?
I actually thought it would be the best thing to do, to fly to Maui and even more with the family. We were just lucky that we were able to go in the water during the lockdown.
I was happy that we stayed on Maui and we did not come back because there was a moment of stress of what should we do as a family. Knowing what was happening in Spain with the full lockdown I was happy to have taken the decision of staying on Maui for 5 months. We were able to do the Fanatic / Duotone photoshoot with Marc Paré, Arthur Arutkin and Adam Lewis as the only riders in the island.
Life on Maui during a World Pandemic
It felt very safe as there were no tourists and we had our Maui routine which is from the house to Ho'okipa, Lanes or Kanaha depending on conditions or going south for SUP or surfing if the weather is not nice on the North Shore. We were able to go training at all times. While I was training, my girlfriend took care of our son or the other way around. As long as you stay on the water and not on the beach we were allowed to sail every day.
Some other riders were also on Maui, but not as many as usual, most of the riders usually come in April for the photoshoots (and by then the borders were closed). Marc, Arthur and I were lucky and we were able to keep testing for Duotone as Kai Hopf (Duotone sail designer) was building the prototypes at his loft on Maui so it was very good for us to keep on developing the sails for the next season.
It was the first year having your friend Marc Paré as a teammate, and we have seen you both pushing your limits. Do you think that training together is making you both go harder?
Absolutely, Marc is a great friend of mine and I love to sail with him as we push each other at every spot we sail together. He had improved a lot in the last year and it's great to be with him on the same team as we share different ideas on the equipment which helps both of us to improve our sailing.
Juggling life as Professional Athletes and Parents
It went actually very well but it is not easy as one of us is always taking care of our son Kona while the other one is in the water plus we also film or take pictures of each other so when Kona is active it’s not the easiest. During the first 2 months on Maui it was not easy as there were restrictions and we were not allowed to sit on the beach or stay there, we were only allowed to go in and out of the water so we had to carry Kona or put him in the stroller and go for long walks while the other one was in the water.
Parenthood makes some people change, some get unstoppable! Is somehow parenthood pushing you to become a better athlete?
From my experience life changes a lot because now I can't train the time I would want so it reduces my time in the water but when I go sailing I do it more intensely instead of doing as many sessions as before. I am just trying to adapt myself to this new life as a parent which I really enjoy. Travelling is now much harder too as we travel already with so much gear plus a baby and his things so you can imagine how many bags we travel with.
After 5 months on Maui, flying back to Spain
Our flight back was on the 2nd of May, but it got canceled so we asked for an ESTA extension because of COVID-19. We had to buy a new flight in the end and we did fly back on the 20th of July. I have never been so long on Maui before. It felt very different because we would have competed already in Gran Canaria and instead I was coming back to Almerimar in August which is always the month that I am in Tenerife for the World Cup.
During my stay on MauiI especially missed the food and the time with my family, also my apartment with my things, there is nothing like home when you are away for so long.
Once back in Spain
I went to Pozo Izquierdo for 1 week at the end of August. I also had a few good sessions in Almerimar and I stayed at home at my windsurf center (Víctor Fernández Center) where fortunately we could work all summer despite COVID-19. I also started to do more wing foil, so I can get more sessions in the water while I am home. Then I went to Klitmoller for 2 weeks with the Fanatic team and we had an amazing time with good conditions. It was great to see our brand manager Craig Gertenbach and team mate Klaas Voget and sail with them while we all try each other's boards.
Trainings with competitions cancelled
Competitions were cancelled, but I was always training the same way as in 2019 so it did not affect my rhythm of training. I love competing but this year I did not miss it so much because I was super busy with my son. I don't know how competitions would have gone this year. I look forward to 2021, I hope for some competitions.
I love the Canaries as I have been going there every summer since I was 14 years old so I love to windsurf there. But this year being on Maui it was also super fun, I windsurfed in the South in 2 spots that I never windsurfed before as you need summer south swells.I also sailed Ho'okipa with small waves and I have to say it is still very fun. Some days there was just no one out.
Now, back on Maui
I am glad to be back. We just landed a few days ago and we have to quarantine for 10 days as we were not able to get the COVID test in time that the State of Hawaii was asking for. Anyway we are jet lagged and we have to organize all the gear and things at the house. We are going to be on Maui for almost 3 months.
A valuable lesson from this different year
Be happy, enjoy every day with the ones you love, don't be too hard on yourself and stay healthy. I wish everyone the best for 2021. Be positive and enjoy what you like the most.
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