Robby Naish is widely acknowledged as the greatest windsurfer of all time. He shocked the sport by winning his first World Championship aged just 13 in 1976 and then proceeded to win another 22 world titles over the next 16 years. The best-known name in the sport, Naish is acclaimed as the ‘Legend of Windsurfing.’
He has also played an important part in its development. Over the years, he has helped in the evolution of the short board, the window in the sail, foot straps and the harness. He has also written two books on the sport while his three windsurfing videos are regarded as classics of their kind.
Naish, who began surfing and sailing in his early years and then started windsurfing at the age of 11, won his first windsurfing world title in the Bahamas to become the youngest world title-holder in the history of the sport. He successfully defended his crown the following year in Sardinia, Italy and made it a hat-trick of world titles when he triumphed again in Cancun, Mexico in 1978, and again in Florida in ’79. For the following decade, he dominated windsurfing competitions worldwide, travelling extensively and competing in more than 20 countries each year.
An excellent slalom and course racer, his Hawaiian upbringing from the age of five has provided him with a special affinity and talent for wave riding. He made a clean sweep of all four titles in the inaugural Pro World Tour in 1983 - clinching the overall, the wave riding, the slalom and course the championships - and repeated the feat in 1984.
Although his windsurfing dominance was waning by the early 1990s, he was still good enough to finish second in the Pro World Tour’s overall championship in both 1994 and 1995. Over his windsurfing career, Robby earned himself a total of 24 world titles, and over 150 event victories. Although he now only competes occasionally “for fun” in windsurfing, he has taken up kiteboarding, a discipline in which he won the slalom world title in 1998. The following year, he won the kiteboarding world titles in both slalom and jumping.
His great passion is riding big waves and he can often be found performing high-level manoeuvres at one of the famed hot spots off Ho'okipa Beach in Maui. He is renowned for his powerful charges through the water with a technique that no board sailor can match. He became chairman of the Professional Board Sailors’ Association from its inception in 1987 until he chose to retire from the position in 1992.