It is no secret, for over 20 years, Robby Naish played a significant part of Mistral’s meteoric rise to fame as a brand. On the 22nd of August 2019 in Waikiki, Hawaii, Robby was inducted into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame and Mistral whole heartedly congratulates this truly remarkable athlete with whom we have an enduring connection.
Growing up on Kailua Bay on Oahu, Robby has made an incredible career from pursuits on the water, including 24 World Titles in Windsurfing. What made it possible to create such ground breaking, iconic Windsurfing boards, was the strategic location of Hawaii, the combination of Robby’s skills on the water, working together with father Rick, a board designer and shaper who joined Mistral in 1979 and later also, the addition of the late Harold Iggy, an iconic shaper brought into the design team by Rick in 1982.
Of course within this mix, Ernstfried Prade, co-founder of Mistral and designer of the famous Mistral Competition, was overseeing the design exploits of these visionaries in Hawaii and contributing in selecting and taking care of the intricate details of production and design which set Mistral apart so as to meet European demands where the sport was booming and hungry for the Hawaiian connection and evermore the exploits of growing super-star Robby, much admired and respected as a touchstone of Hawaii and for all the sport represented.
It was an exciting time with board design progressing on a daily basis. Robby was riding for Mistral, who rode boards made and designed by Rick and Harold. ‘Both Rick and I designed custom Windsurf boards for Mistral for 20 years,’ said Harold. ‘We were shaping all the prototypes which Robby would ride.’ Many of these would go on to become Mistral production boards thereby making them available for many thousands across the world.
Boards such as the Mistral Naish, Mistral Kailua (’80) Mistral Pan Am (’83) forerunner to all subsequent race boards, the Mistral Maui, Equipe (’89), Equipe XR (’91) the IMCO version becoming an iconic, much loved race board to this day, the Take-Off, Hookipa (’96) a cutting edge onshore wave shape with removable thrusters and sliding mast track and many other production boards came, from the combination of Rick (’79 onwards) and Harold (’82 onwards) designing and shaping, Robby testing and competing and Ernstfried (from the beginning) refining all the elements and finer details for production.
So many superlatives have been spoken of Robby, it would be hard to over-rate him as he is quite simply the most iconic individual to grace a board. Harold said of Robby when working with him, ‘Robby Naish is a student of knowledge. Whatever he does, he does better than anyone around because when the team tests things, he is right there learning with all of them. We are always testing—it’s crucial. If you stop learning and improving, you never progress.’
His induction marks another accomplishment in his incredible career and is very much overdue. Founded and organised by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation to honour those following in the footsteps of the famous Duke Kahanamoku and those who have contributed their energy and passion to the ocean, the ceremony also serves an opportunity for the Foundation to raise funds for the children of Hawaii so as they may provide scholarships and grants.