The Canadian-born lover of water Jonny Swank says sand and salt are in his blood. At least that’s what he tells people when they ask about his obsession with water. “Water has, without a doubt, greatly influenced my life’s journey thus far,” says Swank, whose childhood trips to Spain whet his appetite for water sports. It all began with catching waves on an air mattress in the Mediterranean Sea. This was followed by bodysurfing, windsurfing, and bodyboarding. Ultimately, he took up surfing and never looked back.
A long-time cabin crew member for a Canadian airline, Swank has surfed in Canada, the US, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. As for his favorite spot: “There’s a point break on the Pacific side of Costa Rica that just goes on and on and on. The wave itself is pretty chill; it only gets hairy if you get too close to the crocodile-filled river mouth.” He’s also a fan of Indonesia and has been to Bali 15 times. “A few years ago, I travelled to Asia with no itinerary and ended up in Bali where – with access to world-class surf conditions – I had no choice but to step up my game.”
Though not for the faint-hearted, Canada offers its own unique surfing outlets. “Ten years ago, I discovered the underground culture of Great Lakes surfing in Canada, aka ‘the third coast,’” says Swank. “I was so determined to get my surf on that I regularly subjected myself to polar conditions. We were the original mad men.”
Name: Jonny Swank
Where do you live: Toronto
Years surfing: 24
Surfing is: “Everything and nothing rolled into one. It’s the ultimate physical workout as well as total mind relaxer. It fosters a unique relationship between humility and self-confidence.”