Slingshot Team Rider, Robby Stewart, doesn’t let his lack of hearing stand in the way of enjoying time on the water. The 24-year-old Baja local is known for his smooth, effortless style, multi-sports talents, and infectious attitude. Enjoy the inspirational story of a waterperson who sees limits only to break through them.
*Please note that Robby is profoundly deaf, is learning sign language, and does not yet read, so the interview below includes some translated phrases to best express Robby’s intention in his answers.
SS: What was the process of learning to kite? The communication is so verbal when you are learning for the first time, how did you manage?
RS: The challenge for me, nobody singing in town but my friends (Ernesto) teach me doing examples putting themselves maybe hurt. Later, I learn how control kite it more easy. My friends support me while I was learning how to do upwind and then I alone then time kiting. (Hard for me, nobody signing in town. My friend (Ernesto) teach me kite. I learned to control kite. It later soon more easy. My friends help me learn upwind. Then I was by myself all the time kiting.)
SS: In the video, you said that your dad’s friend is deaf and kites, does he still ride? Was he somewhat of a mentor for you?
RS: My friend is same age then me, friend of my dad teach me, no. My friends from Los Barrilles.
SS: Your father’s orchard looks incredible. What part of growing up there was the most special?
RS: Orchard of fruit in middle of mountains, oasis yes. I Robby grow there and love place growing up yes, near my house. Now old. People many no. Years ago friends basketball, Motorbike, horses. Now no. Old. (The farms of fruit in middle mountains, oasis (mountain water place yes). I grow up there and love that place, yes, near my house. Now old. Not many people. A long time ago basketball, motorbike, horses. Now no. Old.)
SS: You are not just an incredible kiteboarder, but also a foiler, kite surfer, wing surfer, etc. Do you have a favorite sport or discipline of kiteboarding?
RS: I love to kiteboarding, I love to be trying all disciplines. Love foil, surf. Love Foil and Wing Yes. ( I love kiteboarding. I love trying all activities. Love foil, surf, wind, yes. )
SS: Baja is your home, yet you frequent Hood River and other locations as well. Can you walk us through a typical year in the life of Robby? (Although there is nothing typical during the pandemic.)
RS: I start my season in La Ventana in October, I like to kite and hang out with my friends in town, I visit all the places around, I work with Ando and I’m learning how to shape surfboards with him, and also like to get better in all my disciplines, later after winter time, in beginning of spring like March – April the season start to do more and I try to go Hood River. I spend the time with my buddies. I like to work with slingshot during the summer and push my level learning something new in foil, twin tip, surf. All the abilities from crew are important to me. 2021 April go Texas Kite. 1 Month Texas City with Chris Summers, Corpus Christi with Jeff Howard and Rocky Chatwell North American Champion yes! Friend! After all, later in September, I go Baja again. La Ventana windy yes. 6 months windy time, yes.
(I start in October in La Ventana. I like to kite, hang out with friends in town. I visit all the places around. I work with Ando and I learning to shape surfboards with him. I like to improve in all my activities. In spring, I try go to Hood River. I spend time with my buddies. I like to work with Slingshot during the summer and push my level, learning something new in foil, twin tip, surf. All the abilities from crew are important to me. 2021 April go Texas Kite. 1 month Corpus Christi, Texas with Chris Summers, Jeff Howard and Rocky Chatwell, North American Champion, Yes!)
SS: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
RS: I want to keep kiting my whole life and enjoy everything from the life. Respecting the ocean, environment and taking care of the good people I met during this beautiful trip.
SS: What will you do with kiting in the future?
RS: Robby kite future?
Complete Foil Freestyle try yes slingshot yes. Travel, pictures, friends, yes. Learn make T-shirts and kite board shorts maybe soon yes. Robby work and help deaf try yes. (Complete Foil Freestyle, try yes Slingshot yes. Travel, pictures, friends, yes. Learn make T-shirts and kite board shorts, maybe soon, yes. I work and help deaf, try, yes.)
SS: What goals do you have now?
RS: Robby Goals? Learn ASL yes. Learn read and write English yes. Try school and kite USA yes. Learn teach help kite school yes. Learn video editing try yes.
SS: Thanks Robby, Hope to see you in the Gorge this summer!