This week we met with Levi Siver on the north shore of Maui for a face to face interview and amongst other things we discussed his role in Quatro, his beliefs and secret spots he’d like to go to.
Originally hailing from Idaho, he moved to Maui with his parents and his brother Luke when he was at a very young age. Ho’okipa soon became his home break and with many years of experience under his belt he has built a deserved reputation for himself as one of the best wave sailors that Ho’okipa has seen.
Levi can easily be called one of the windsurf legends of the last decade but there are no unnecessary airs and graces when you speak with him. He’s an easy-going, regular guy with a keen sense of faith and determined belief in doing good. At 31, he still sails as intensely as when he was younger with no hint of taking it easier any time soon and has proved himself a master at riding large, powerful waves.
The fact that he is so well known as a professional windsurfer is proof in itself that taking a different route than most in windsurfing has paid off for him and he has reaped not only success but happiness in following his career on his own terms.
Levi currently has a new responsibility with Quatro which is to film and get content for their website to communicate the Quatro brand. He tells us that he enjoys the creative side of videography and when I joked with him that sometime in the future he may end up doing Windsurfing Movie 5 he laughed and replied, ”I hope not! It’s not the Lord of The Rings Trilogy! I want to do a different name.” We’re all eager to see what’s in store in the future!
Name: Levi Siver
Where are you currently based? Maui
Sponsors: Oxbow, Redbull, Quatro, Goya, Positive H20, MFC, Dakine
Why are you so passionate about windsurfing? I think it’s about escapism. It’s a place where you can enjoy and you don’t really have to listen to other people tell you what to do. It’s your place and it’s cleansing . You’re in the ocean. It’s healthy, it feels good and you learn a lot about yourself, your fears, what you’re capable of and it’s progression. To become better at something. It’s always been a way for me to escape. It’s just fun, it’s playing. You stay young!
Most visited website? Surfline
Three words you believe describe you: Relaxed, passionate, reclusive
A phrase or motto you live by: Do unto others as you want them to do unto you
If you were a superhero, which power would you want to have? Time travel.
You’re going on a windsurfing trip to a desert island, other than your windsurf gear, what 3 things do you take with you? A really beautiful awesome girl, plenty of stuff for barbecue and cold beverages.
So food, drink and a woman?!! Yeah! *laughs*
Who would you like to sit next to on a long haul flight? A really cool beautiful woman or a super funny comedian that makes you laugh and pulls you out of your own little world.
What poster did you have on your wall growing up? Maybe all the Gaastra guys at that time – Robby Naish, Jason Polakow and the Pritchards.
Is it weird now that you’re best friends with some of these guys like JP? Yeah but it just shows the longevity of the sport, that some guys stay relevant and stay competitive through many decades which I think is cool and is inspiring to me because I’m coming into my best years at 31. I think progression in windsurfing can happen for years as long as you stay smart about it. I have way more experience and understanding of how waves work in my 30s rather than my 20s because I’ve had years of accumulation of everything.
What person would you like to swap lives with for one day? Barrack Obama. I’d set some things right!
Do you play any other sports? I love all water sports. I love watching soccer.
What equipment are you sailing on at this current time? I’ve been riding on LS thrusters and dabbling on the Quad LS. Yeah, Keith’s wave boards pretty much.
Who was your inspiration when you started windsurfing and why? I think my brother was probably my first inspiration because we were so close and we were doing the same things and we were pretty close in age. I don’t think I would have sailed Ho’okipa as soon as I did and or progressed throughout the years without him because he was older and a fearless windsurfer. It put me in that frame of mind at a young age where maybe naturally I may not have been there but having a brother totally instigated that so yeah, I would say my brother.
How close is your relationship? Close. In the beginning it was a little bit too much. Too head to head. We were super competitive, it got a big agro. Some fighting and things but we always loved each other. We’re friends and put the childish things behind us. I’m grateful to have my brother.
What is your most vivid or favourite memory of a personal windsurfing moment?
I would say probably putting the work in to go somewhere new like Morocco or the Marshall Islands where it was kind of a gamble. We spent a big chunk of our production budgets and it could have easily been a failure but it wasn’t. It was this total success in a 48 hour window and you look at your little crew you’re with and there’s two, three, four of you guys there and you don’t even have to say anything and everyone has the same emotion and you don’t even have to express it.
You must be closer for it? It’s a gamble and when you risk more you get more rewards. It’s something that’s left undone in windsurfing, that adventurous side of exploration, finding new waves to ride. Not going to the same ones. It takes a little more risk factor because some places aren’t that good.
Anywhere you haven’t sailed that you think one day you want to go there? There’s a few places.
Or maybe they’re secret places and you don’t want to tell us?! I won’t give away the name. There’s one place in Mexico I want to go. For me I want to go to long right hander point breaks. I like starboard tack. I like long clean waves and I think there are a lot of those that do get windy and no one has put forth the the effort to go to all of them. I like to go to Cape Verde. It’s probably one of the best waves in the world for windsurfing.
So this spot in Mexico, any plans to visit it? Yeah I will go and video it.
Sooner rather than later? Yeah, it’s a summertime spot but right now here is pretty much the spot to be.
Where was your scariest ride? Tell us a little about the experience.
Scariest ride? Uhhmm. Probably Jaws. *pause* Just Jaws! Tow surfing Jaws January 2004, that big day. That was probably the most scared I’ve been in the ocean and those were the biggest waves I’ve seen in my life.
Which windsurfing move do you wish you had invented? I would say the Taka, it’s pretty sick. It’s a natural feeling move.
What are you doing when you’re not windsurfing? Basically I love to surf when there’s no wind and I’m a nature guy. I love to camp and be outdoors and be with friends.
If you could interview another windsurfer, what one question would you like to ask them? I don’t know, it depends on the personality. There’s a lot of different characters in our sport. I’d probably like to ask Mark Angulo why he moved to Florida!!
What are the biggest misconceptions about being a pro? That some people think you’re an arrogant person because of the way it’s marketed. It’s an adrenalised, crazy sport so people easily get caught in the hype of it. I think they judge you on that factor a little bit too quickly. I don’t think there’s any room for that arrogant attitude. It’ll spit you out. If you look at the top guys they’re humble, chilled guys and pretty unassuming personalities. Even like Philip Koster, all the guys, they’re down to earth, real. The guys on tour right now have a real passion for windsurfing and I don’t feel that they’re in it for the money. You don’t have any other choice than to do it for the love and passion of it.
Other than family, what do you cherish in your life and why is it so important to you? I would say my faith is the most important thing. My spirituality and faith in God which has got me through every aspect of my life and shaped the way I see the world and given me a deeper appreciation for the good things in life. When that’s right I’m more at peace with myself and the world around me.
Do you believe in a higher power? Elaborate a little on your beliefs. I believe in the witness of Jesus Christ. I believe he is the fulfilment of God’s plan and salvation for the world. His witness is the most powerful testimony in history and in everything I’ve seen with my eyes ever since I was a small child.
How has that changed your life? I believe this life has purpose. I believe these few years are more important than we could possibly imagine for an eternal plan.
What is a typical night out? What is a typical night in? It’s more about the people I’m with. I love light music but not much of the music on Maui. I don’t care for reggae. I like the old time Bob Marley stuff but the new stuff not so much and that’s about 95% of the stuff on Maui. I like Indie Rock, alternative rock or old time bluesy jazz or anything cultural.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years from now? I don’t really know.
Videographer maybe? I love the creative process of film and putting a vision together on a canvas of film with music. I want to stay passionate about whatever I’m doing. Ten years? that’s a long time away.
How do you personally define success? I think whatever you’re handed in life depends on how you’re responsible with it and if you use it to benefit others and for the right intentions that’s a success on every level.
So it’s not about popularity or money? I feel that’s the cancer and disease of the world, people misunderstanding success and true happiness with riches, wealth and power.
What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction in your life? For personal satisfaction, when I left the PWA and did things my way and went to places I wanted to go to and I think I became a better windsurfer when I stayed true to what I wanted to do. I feel like I was trying to live a blueprint for windsurf success that’s been moulded through the years for the industry and I finally just said I’m going to go and do things my way and my sponsors stayed with me and my contracts got better and I feel my level of sailing got better because I was doing something I believed in for myself.
If you had to live your life over again what would you change about it? There are all kinds of things you learn along the way but if you treat your failures right and through your faith those are the things that define you and help you grow so it’s hard to look through it all and wonder what you’d change.
I’m a big believer in…. God
Call me crazy but…. I don’t care
My favorite place on earth is…. right here
My parents are…. a blessing
I could never…. move to LA
I’ve always wanted to…. be happy
Life is nothing without…. friends and family
Today I will…. enjoy
The internet is…. addictive
If I had the power I would change…. the world
I am…. here