Gordon Heather of the Cook Islands will tell you he’s a kitesurfer first and foremost. He’s also a CrossFit athlete and former Olympian. At 18, Heather competed in the 100 meters in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, clocking a time of 11.41 seconds. When he found kitesurfing, his life changed.

“Kitesurfing has become a way of life for me,” he says. “My day goes by what the wind is doing.”

In CrossFit, Heather enjoys the variance and draws parallels between it and kitesurfing—being prepared for the unknown and unknowable is helpful on the water.

“The conditions are different all the time—could be light wind, could be big waves, could be flat water,” Heather says.

Specifically, CrossFit has helped Heather develop pulling and leg strength.

“You develop a lot of core strength in CrossFit, and it definitely does help with kitesurfing, especially because there’s a whole lot of gymnastics like pull-ups, … and with kitesurfing you’re always holding onto a bar.”

Video by Michael McCoy.

5min 54sec

Additional reading: “A Theoretical CrossFit Model for Professional Baseball Players” by Danny Putnam, published June 14, 2015.

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