carson crain - portrait

Carson Crain


How old are you? (as of Aug 2015)

When did you start windsurfing?
First time I windsurfed was with Britt Viehman on October 8th, 2011.

Where did you learn? Where is your training base now?
I mostly learned to windsurf on my own while I was going to school in Houston, TX. I did several weekends with coaches in early 2012 as I began to get more and more familiar with the RS:X. A big influence since I started windsurfing has been my coach, Kevin Stittle. Currently, I would say I do not have a training base, but I have several main training locations that include Miami, Auckland, and Long Beach, California.

When did you start dreaming about getting to the Olympics? Did anything in particular trigger it?
I started dreaming about representing the United States at the Olympics when I met Paul Foerster at an Opti regatta in 2005. I remember him telling us about the 2004 Olympic Games and then he let me hold his gold medal and that was the moment when I knew I wanted to be an Olympic Sailor.

Is your Rio 2016 campaign a full-time commitment at this time?
My 2016 Olympic campaign is a full time campaign and has been since May of 2014.

Are you placing other plans on hold because of it? What plans?
In May of 2014, I took a leave of absence from Rice University to pursue my 2016 Olympic Campaign full time. Therefore, I have completed two years of university and plan on returning to complete my degree after the 2016 Olympic Games.

Could you describe a typical week these days?
A typical training week for me would include 5 training days and then 2 days off. Each of our 5 training days would include at least one windsurfing session. Along with our daily windsurfing sessions, each day would include at least one off the water cross training activity. These activities vary based upon where we are training, but some of my favorites are SUP racing, road cycling, and gym workouts.

Do you find time to relax? What do you do to relax?
When I have time to relax I try to reconnect with friends I don’t see often due to my campaign commitments. I also try to explore new places whenever we travel.

What book, movie, recording artist have you enjoyed recently?
Recently I have been watching a TV show called Ballers. It focuses on the struggles of a sports agent in dealing with professional NFL athletes on and off the field.

Are you on your own or is it a team effort? If so, could you describe your team?
My 2016 Olympic Campaign is definitely a team effort. Assisting me everyday I have my windsurfing coach, Kevin Stittle. In addition to Kevin I work very closely with a mental performance coach, a physical trainer, and a nutritionist. My mental performance coach, Colin Guthrie, has worked with Kevin and me on goal setting and handling pressure situations. My physical trainer is Hayden Cowie. He has been working with me for the last 7 years on creating sailing specific workouts and ensuring my body is peaking at the ideal times. My nutritionist is Roberta Anding who was actual one of my professors at Rice University. She and I focus on my diet, body composition, and overall health. Along with this professional team, I have the support of sponsors KO Sailing and Sperry as well as, of course, my family. Training partners are also a huge part of my campaign. I have trained with several, but the ones I spend the most time with are David Mier y Teran (MEX), Adam Holm (SWE), Zac Plavsic (CAN), and JP Tobin (NZL).

Is this your first Olympic campaign?
While I began competing in the RS:X leading up to 2012, I would say this 2016 Olympic Campaign is my first full time campaign.

What aspect(s) of your sailing are you working on right now?
Currently I am working on improving my starting and sailing in extremely light wind.

Can you describe a recent breakthrough?
Recently I made a breakthrough in my upwind speed above 14 knots. My coach, training partner and I spent a long training block in California focusing intensely on this condition. After tweaking the equipment and making a few changes to my technique, I was going a ton faster the next time I lined up with the top guys in practice races.

Who inspires you to keep pushing?
Throughout this Olympic Campaign I have been very self driven, but I have always relied on my friends and family to support me in this journey. One person who has always inspired me to pursue my dreams is Trevor Moore. Trevor was one of my first opti coaches and ever since then he has been a role model for me. In 2008 I began sailing the laser radial and Trevor began his 2012 Olympic Campaign in the 49er. During the next few years his focus was on his Olympic Campaign, but he still found time to coach me and guide me through my development. Trevor and his skipper, Erik Storck, ended up represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics in the 49er and after the Olympics Trevor continued to guide me as I began my 2016 Olympic Campaign. He was the guy I always went to with all my campaign questions and helped me understand how to properly run an Olympic Campaign. Trevor taught me the importance of being fully committed to your campaign while ensuring you enjoy the entire journey. His passion for Olympic sailing was unparalleled and that is why he has always been a huge inspiration for me and will continue to be in the future.

How are you paying for your campaign?
Paying for this campaign is the biggest struggle I face on a day to day basis. I spend a large portion of my time fundraising for this campaign. I receive some money from sponsorship but the majority comes from individual supporters. Currently about 80% of my funding comes from these private donations through the tax deductible group I use.

Do you have a campaign website – how can supporters get in touch with you?
My campaign website is In addition to this website I also have a Facebook page and people can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram. On my website there is a Support Me page where people can donate to my campaign directly through Paypal or through a tax deductible donation.

Besides the RS:X, What other class / type of windsurfing do you enjoy?
Besides sailing the RS:X, I enjoying sailing all boats. I have recently found myself drawn to faster boats such as multihulls and skiffs. I also spend time as my brother’s training partner in kiteboard foil racing and really enjoy windsurfing waves in Maui.

Where will we see you next in competition?
My next competition will be the 2015 RS:X World Championships in Oman, October 17-25.

What goes through your mind in the last minute before the start of a race?
In the last minute before the start of the race I try to focus on my breathing. I continue doing this while paying attention to the boards to windward and leeward. As the time ticks down I try to time my back up to ensure I have as much space to leeward as possible to pump and accelerate off the line.

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