September 24, 2017, New York Yacht Club Harbor Court, Newport, Rhode Island – On the lawn of one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in North America, Robby Naish put his name in the history books as he was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame.
Recognized for an incredible career of competitive dominance and countless innovations and contributions to windsurfing, kiteboarding and stand up paddling, Robby joins an esteemed list of legendary sailors, including Hobie Altar, Dennis Connor and Ted Turner. “It is an absolute honor. Windsurfing and kiteboarding are clearly fairly far out on the fringe of conventional yacht club sailing. Everybody was very welcoming and kind and seemingly very happy to have me included,” said Robby on becoming the first windsurfer to be inducted.
While his path into the National Sailing Hall of Fame may have been far from traditional, Robby has always considered himself a sailor with his childhood roots in racing Hobie Cats before transitioning his skills to windsurfing.
“I was a sailor at heart. I loved tactics, I loved feeling the shifts and reading the wind and catching the bumps, that feeling that you get from sailing that you don’t find anywhere else in life. As sailors, we’re very lucky to be out there in the wind and the waves,” said Robby during his acceptance speech during the ceremony.
With 24 world titles in windsurfing to his name, an induction into the National Sailing Hall of fame is truly a bonus to what has already been a legendary career. Even with so many accolades, Robby has zero plans of slowing down as he continues to push innovation into the future. The development of the hydrofoil, which was a common topic of discussion over the weekend, is one technology that has Robby just as motivated as ever.
“Right now I’m really excited about foiling for all three sports that I’m involved with and that Naish makes equipment for. I stayed excited about windsurfing for over four decades because the equipment and how we use it has constantly evolved. It continues to do so, and I really feel that the hydrofoil development that we are doing right now and the equipment that we have on the market that is focused on accessible lighter wind windsurfing will bring people back to the sport. The fact that here on Maui I am constantly searching out light winds is an indication that we have put things back into the right direction for the future of the sport. Over the years the sport of windsurfing developed itself into a tiny niche where fairly hard to find conditions with fairly strong winds were required to participate at all. We in fact developed ourselves through higher and higher performance equipment (that is no doubt unbelievably fun when the conditions are right for it) into near extinction. I am really excited about the potential of bringing people back to windsurfing through hydrofoils bringing accessible windsurfing back to the people.”
Robby closed his acceptance speech with a voice of gratitude and a message that we can all relate to, regardless of what craft we ride.
“My message to you all is to remember how lucky you are. To be able to get out on the water and experience nature in a way that is difficult to experience any other way. Being on a boat, learning what the wind does, what the waves do it’s an experience that not enough people in the world get to enjoy.”
PHOTO CREDIT: National Sailing Hall of Fame/Stephen Cloutier
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