Ma'a Nonu swapped his jersey for a life jacket on Friday (NZT) when he joined Team New Zealand for a day on the water in Toulon.
The two-time Rugby World Cup champion got right among the action on the AC45 racing boat in 18 to 22 knot winds, hitting speeds of over 30 knots downwind before the boat suffered damage when it jolted to a sudden halt.
"I was really excited to get on the boat, when it started to take off up on its foils I was like a kid in a candy store trying to hide my smile," said Nonu, now playing for local French club Toulon.
"It was going really fast, but it came to a halt and it crashed to the water, but the boys were pretty calm and came over to see if I was OK."
The crash resulted in some damage which ended Nonu’s ride and the team's training session on the water for the day.
“It was fantastic for the boys to have Ma’a join the team for the day, a really special day for everybody,” said skipper Glenn Ashby.