Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is possibly one of the busiest athletes in the world, and the water is his refuge for finding peace and quiet.
When this Super Bowl champion, doctor and avid sailor since childhood goes to sea, he concentrates on the task at hand, and all outside noise dissipates.
« I love being on the water, » Duvernay-Tardif said in an interview with The Canadian Press. « When you’re on a sailboat, there are so many details to think about (…) whether it’s the wind, the weather forecast, the sail, the ocean, the tide. It makes me disconnect from the rest of the world. »
« You can’t really look at your phone, and when you’re away from the coast, there’s not even a cell phone signal (anyway), » Duvernay-Tardif added. a way to calm myself down, a way for me to get away from all the craziness and the fast pace of the world. When you’re a bit hyperactive, like me, there are so many thoughts racing around, things you think about all the time…it’s a perfect getaway. »
This weekend, Duvernay-Tardif is in Saint-Tropez, France, the site of a stop in the SailGP world racing series. The 31-year-old Hilairemontais is one of 22 minority owners of the new Canada team in SailGP.
On Saturday, before the start of the races, he will have the chance to sail aboard the majestic F50 catamaran, equipped with a sail that overhangs the water by a height equivalent to a seven-storey building.
« It’s quite impressive, all the speed and technology involved in these boats, » Duvernay-Tardif noted Thursday morning before heading to France.
“I love racing. I love sailing. And I love everything about competitive sports. So when I saw this new sailing circuit, I thought I had to find a way to get involved.
“My biggest concern was finding a way to get on that boat myself. For that reason, I’m really excited to have a chance to do it this weekend. Honestly, I can’t wait,” said Duvernay-Tardif, the former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman who hopes to sign with a National Football League team for one final season.
Shortly after contributing to the Chiefs’ Super Bowl triumph in February 2020, and after completing a busy schedule of media releases related to this achievement, Duvernay-Tardif and his girlfriend, Florence, took over the management of Sainte -Lucie for what was supposed to be two peaceful weeks of sailing. COVID-19 cut the trip short.
Duvernay-Tardif returned to Quebec and became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season. Instead, he worked as a health care aide from the early stages of the pandemic at a long-term care facility near his home.
The move earned him the “Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian of the Year” award at the 2021 ESPYS Gala, an event hosted by the ESPN television network.
Last season, Duvernay-Tardif returned to Kansas City expecting to be in contention for a starting job. However, he missed a month after suffering a broken hand during training camp.
In November, he dropped his no-trade clause, which allowed the Chiefs to trade him to the New York Jets. He took part
eight games with the Jets, including seven as a starter at right guard.
Canada, in its first season on the SailGP circuit, hopes to host an event next year. Duvernay-Tardif would like to be able to live such an experience.
« That would be great, » he said. « There’s so much going on around raising children and promoting physical activity, and you can be sure that as soon as we have an event in Canada, I’ll be the first to make sure it’s there will be children who will be able to live the experience of being on a sailboat. »