The legend must wait. It’s said that surfing superstar Robby Naish’s appearance will be delayed by an hour. Instead of the eternal golden boy from Hawaii, four young men with remarkably thick arms enter the Pool stage in the Water Sports Village.
The German national rafting team are the guests. And the boulders are the sitting world champions, too.
Then, one hour later, he’s there: jeans, T-shirt, white baseball cap, sun in his face. He’ll be 54 in April, something you’ll only believe if you get a look at his ID. He started surfing at age eight, at 13 he was World Champion, and now even in his later years he can’t leave the competitions alone.
“20 years ago I started to stop – and now I’m surfing against the kids of my ex-colleagues,” says Naish, laughing. Even a serious pelvic fracture (“My first really bad injury”) last year wasn’t able to keep the evergreen off the board for long.
He’s also been a businessman since 1995, when he founded a company and aptly named it Naish. Today, his company racks up around 30 million dollars per year.
But he says, “I’m more surfer than businessman. Business and pleasure lie very close to one another with me. The only annoying thing right now is the money component. But I don’t owe anybody money, and so there’s less pressure on me – which isn’t typical in this industry. What’s important to me is that I’m on the water every day, whether it’s on a surfboard, the kite, or SUP.”
Just at that moment, one of the two girls paddling on Naish SUPs in the pool loses her balance, flops into the water and resurfaces, gasping for breath: Just over 62 degrees – the water in Robby’s home of Hawaii are just a bit warmer.
One and a half years ago, the surfing legend also gave the notorious Eisbach in Munich a try: “In the beginning I wasn’t so good, but it was a ton of fun in any case.”
At ISPO MUNICH 2017, he only wants “to do a bit of promotion and meet friends.” At the beginning of his career he was at ISPO almost every year, he says: “The entire windsurfing industry was always here in the 80s. My company Naish won ISPO BRANDNEW in 2000, when we introduced the first kites.”
But the business has changed. That’s why it’s “good to be here again, since ISPO MUNICH is the most famous and important sports trade fair worldwide.”
And finally, he also has a tip on hand for the couch potatoes out there: “Disconnect the internet for a while and go outside!”