Just a few days ago, indeed July 22nd 2019, Robby Naish posted to his Facebook Page the following.‘I made myself a new Slalom board and took it out for the first time today. I did a coast run from Hookipa to Kanaha and it was windy! The sensation of speed that you get on a windsurfer, blasting on a broad reach, overpowered in rough open ocean water, is like nothing else on the planet!’Regardless of brand loyalty or any bias you may have, Robby was a hugely significant part of Mistral’s heritage and indeed success, involved more or less from the early days his influence and input was a Golden Time – a time when the sport of windsurfing was a unique global phenomenon.
As we know, the wheels began to fall off as the sport over-shot the market with cost and levels of high tech equipment and focus on the extreme ends of the sport aided by the media, manufacturers and pro-sailing events polarising the sport. Kiteboarding certainly played a significant part in eroding windsurfings popularity, ironically pushed by windsurfing companies, with many windsurfers defecting to kiteboarding and wanna-be water sports participants gravitating to kiteboarding on the grounds, the learning curve was faster and ease of transportation a bonus, along with other factors.
The point of this missive, is to state that windsurfing needs the voice of a man such as Robby, because above all else, he is not just another windsurfer, he is ‘The’ windsurfer in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of windsurfing devotees, past, present and hopefully future. Brand ambassadors may have to ‘talk up’ foiling, kiteboarding, SUP or whatever the new flavour of the month may be, but in the history of all things sacred, real and inescapable, Robby’s words are some of the most powerful, significant utterances to be made in the past 20 years of the sport, a verbal testament that resonates the truth about a sport which has not been replaced by kiteboarding or anything like it since.
As he says, ‘The sensation of speed that you get on a windsurfer, blasting on a broad reach, overpowered in rough open ocean water, is like nothing else on the planet!’ – and who amongst us, who know this feeling, feels the need to challenge this sentiment.
Robby, Mahalo Nui Loa, for your reaffirmation in what we know to be within your heart and soul, because for whatever else you may do in life and excel, you are above all else, a living existential manifestation of the sport itself, a touch-stone seminal influencer, the likes of which there are few, if any to compare – when you speak of windsurfing in this way, it is both reassuring and uplifting to know that it still reigns supreme and that your hands are still wrapped tightly around that boom of belief.