(Reuters) – Athletes around the world have been looking for ways and places to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, but surfers Brisa Hennessy and Michel Bourez may have found two of the best.
While some exercised in backyard pools or turned cramped basements into weightlifting spaces, Hennessy and Bourez, temporarily eligible for the COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics, fled to heaven.
Hennessy, a self-described nomad from Costa Rica, flees to a small island in Fiji while Bourez, who is surfing to France, hides in Tahiti.
“As long as the pandemic we are in Australia and my dad is fine, I will book the flights we have to do to get out of here, we need to get back to Fiji and we have to do it now,” said Hennessy at the International Surfing Association State of America briefing. Olympic Surfing on Thursday.
For Hennessy, the move is an opportunity to recharge her “mind, body and spirit” and surf every day, providing a reminder of why she fell in love with the sport, which she was introduced to from an early age by parents who are both surfing instructors.
The 21-year-old Costa Rican man believes many of his fellow surfers will be swept away by the same energy surge and will be even better prepared for Tokyo where surfing will make his Olympic debut.
“It gives me a greater appreciation for what I can do as an athlete,” said Hennessy. “I’m sure the athletes will come back and be more talented, more excited. They will be more motivated. “
Despite the rare luxury of spending time at home with his family, Bourez doesn’t find the same connection and the 35-year-old Tour Championship veteran feels lost.
“It is the first time in 15 years now that I have spent a full year at home so for me it was incredible and difficult at the same time,” said Bourez.
“I have my wife, my two children at home and it is strange for them too to see me every day but I am a little bit lost.
“At one point I didn’t know where I was going, there was no more passion. I’m fine, I’m up for what? “
The new year, however, brings new goals.
“There’s a lot of fire still burning,” said Bourez. “We’ve waited almost two years now just to be able to compete in the Olympics.
“When I went on the Tour, I basically surfed for myself then Tahiti and France and now I’m 100% focused on surfing for France.”
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond