May 31, 2012

Q&A with Robby Naish

Robby Naish is the patron of Red Bull Storm Chase. He coined the tagline for the event, which still holds true: "Windsurfing in storm surf separates the men from the boys." And he's still one of the best riders out there.

Will he face the storms himself? Find out in our Q&A.

Why you are you motivated by this massive project?

Honestly, windsurfing as a sport needs events. It is still an amazing, dynamic, and very popular sport around the world, but its image is somehow a bit „tired“ and undeservingly so. Events like this showcase the extreme side of the sport, chasing weather and ocean conditions that the rest of the world runs away from. It is radical and cool.

Is there a personal storm session you will never forget?

Many... One in particular was windsurfing in Waikiki while a hurricane was approaching the islands. We windsurfed until the wind simply got too strong. When I got home everyone was freaking out and boarding up windows etc... to me it was just fun! We have also had some amazing storm sessions in Omaezaki Japan over the years, and also on Sylt that I will never forget.

What’s special about a genuine storm compared to a „perfect“ day’s wavesailing?

It is all good to me.... I like to challenge myself, and sometimes the more difficult and challenging the conditions are, tough and painful as it may be...the more rewarding it is. I saw a tee shirt yesterday from the US Marines, and it said „pain is just weakness leaving the body.“ I guess storm sailing is a bit like this. Some people like the challenge and do not just want to take the easy ways through life.

What’s your advice for sailors in the application process?

Know what you are getting into, and don’t go out in conditions that you are not confident that you can handle safely.

In your mind what is the perfect storm chaser’s profile or stereotype?

There is none. I have seen guys with completely polar opposite personalities do really well by approaching things from completely different perspectives. Calculated risk with a hard charging and confident attitude usually pays off though.... not reckless abandon and just going for it to see what happens.

What might be your favorite destination for the event?

That is really hard to say. When you are looking for extreme conditions they are a lot easier to find around the world than „perfect conditions.“ This could happen just about anywhere...

What’s your part on the Jury for the upcoming event?

We will have to see as things evolve. For now I am in the selection process for riders, and may if schedule allows make it to one or more of the events... though I would likely be judging from my board and sail and not from the beach!! I think that I am still a better rider than judge... but I would love to help out with the events if I can, and help to showcase the talent and extreme nature that windsurfing still has!!

Why is it vital we take the sport to this new level?

Actually the best thing that we could do for the health of the sport is get more people windsurfing around lakes in no wind...which I am not sure this does... but showcasing the radical side of the sport is great for the people that are already involved with windsurfing.