Barack Obama clearly isn't missing the White House

Former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle clearly aren't missing the White House too much.

As Donald Trump comes to grips with the intimidating burdens of his new job, the Obamas have been holidaying with billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson.

Branson has published a blog post with pictures and video of the former president kitesurfing off one of his private islands in the British Virgin Islands. The look on Obama's face reminds you of a kid who's just tried chocolate for the first time.

Apparently Obama, who is a native of Hawaii, had told Branson his security detail banned him from surfing during his time in office.

Former President Barack Obama kitesurfs during his stay on Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands. Photo / AP
Former President Barack Obama kitesurfs during his stay on Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands. Photo / AP

"Just before he became president, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii," Branson wrote in his blog post.

"When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said, 'This will be the last time you surf for eight years.' For the next eight years he didn't have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved."

Branson said after spending a couple days learning to kitesurf, Obama bested him in a water-sport challenge. He also said inviting the Obamas to his island was "a huge honour."

Obama spent his first days after leaving Washington holidaying in Palm Springs, California. So he's having a nice time.

Former President Barack Obama, jokes with Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. Photo / AP
Former President Barack Obama, jokes with Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. Photo / AP

But while content to leave behind the daily grind of the presidency, Obama has not left the public sphere. Before bequeathing the Oval Office to Mr Trump, Obama warned he was willing to be a vocal retiree.

"As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do witht he specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it's necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I'll examine it when it comes," Obama said.

The former president has already intervened once, releasing a statement criticising Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. Obama threw his support behind those protesting against the ban, which he said contravened "American values".

"President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organise and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake," spokesman Kevin Lewis said on Obama's behalf.

Former President Barack Obama kitesurfs during his stay on Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands. Photo / AP
Former President Barack Obama kitesurfs during his stay on Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands. Photo / AP

"With regard to comparisons to President Obama's foreign policy decisions, as we've heard before, the president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith and religion."

Obama is taking a somewhat unusual step by publicly commenting on the Trump administration's policies. Former presidents typically give their successors quite a lot of breathing space - Obama's predecessor, George W Bush, has remained virtually silent for the last eight years. And while Bill Clinton was active in both of his wife's White House campaigns, he spent most of his immediate post-presidential years focusing on humanitarian issues.

Hopefully Obama will be able to just focus on kitesurfing for now.

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 29 Mar 2017 23:22:08 Processing Time: 846ms