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Politics

Inside the Obamas’ ‘Complete Break’ with British Billionaire Richard Branson After Leaving the White House

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Barack and Michelle Obama‘s post-presidency vacation was one for the books.

After the inauguration, the former president and first lady took a trip to Palm Springs with daughters Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15, before heading to the British Virgin Islands without the girls.

The couple spent 10 days on a private island belonging to British billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, where Barack got to enjoy something he hadn’t done in eight years — water sports.

In a post on the Virgin website, Branson wrote that he invited the couple to the island for a “complete break” after Barack’s two presidential terms.

Jack Brockway/Virgin

“One of the first stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how, just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii,” Branson wrote. “The new head of his security team turned to him and said: ‘This will be the last time you surf for eight years.’ ”

So, Barack, 55, took to the water, with Branson noting that the former president wanted to learn to kitesurf while he longed to take up foilboarding.

Jack Brockway/Virgin

“So we decided to set up a friendly challenge: could Barack learn to kitesurf before I learned to foilboard?” Branson wrote. “We agreed to have a final day battle to see who could stay up the longest.”

Branson posted a video of the challenge on YouTube, with the footage showing both men taking a tumble in the water. And it seems Obama came out the victor.

Jack Brockway/Virgin

“We were neck and neck until the last run on the last day, when I got up on the foilboard and screamed along for over 50 metres, three feet above the water,” Branson wrote. “I was feeling very pleased with myself, only to look over and see Barack go 100 metres on his kiteboard!”

He added: “I had to doff my cap to him and celebrate his victory.”

The Obamas had a laid-back vibe as they took to their post-presidency vacation. A Twitter video of the couple showed Barack and Michelle walking side by side with Michelle dressed comfortably in short-shorts, a fedora and her hair in braids.

Meanwhile, Barack fully embraced the casual dress code, wearing a baseball cap backward.

The Obamas seemed to enjoy their time at Branson’s Caribbean home, known as Necker Island — a 74-acre stretch of sand that includes a luxurious resort for up to 30 guests.

The Story Behind One of Obama’s Most Touching Moments As President

They returned to their new $4.3 million home in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. The Obamas and flew out from Tortuga island by helicopter on Thursday before boarding Branson’s jet headed for Washington.