My exit from Naish has been getting much more attention than I expected. There seems to be a lot of conjecture–some of it is pretty dramatic–so I feel motivated to give some insight as to what would make me walk away from a great company like Naish.
First, I want to acknowledge the huge debt of gratitude I owe to Robby for sponsoring me in the first place. He brought me on to the team at a very precarious time for me, because South Point had defaulted on both Timpone and my contract, which left a big void in my income. With Robby’s support I was able to continue my waterman lifestyle and support my family. I have a huge appreciation for Robby and the Naish company, and the friendship and support he has given me.
Like any relationship not everything was perfect, it doesn’t necessarily mean one or the other is at fault but rather an evolution of different paths. The Naish company path is naturally driven by corporate responsibilities. My path is driven by personal goals, the challenges of the lifestyle I follow, and creative freedom. Robby runs his company very efficiently, and like any good, strong leader it goes his way, and that’s as it should be. It is his company, he has taken all the risk and made all the decisions that go along with being successful. But unfortunately for me that meant more and more that there wasn’t much room to make my imprint on the company. At the end of my contract I had to make the difficult decision to renew and carry on with the status quo or do something different.
Had I not learned to shape a few months ago I probably would have stayed with Naish and carried on with business as usual, but the exposure to shaping got my creative juices flowing again and in the end I just could not deny what has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my whole career–the creative process.
My whole career I’ve been very involved in the design and creation of all my equipment. Windsurf sails, windsurf boards, my own fin company, longboards, shortboards, tandem boards, tow boards, stand up wave boards and race boards, foil boards. I’ve worked with Gerry Lopez, Karl Hill, Bill Foote, Sean Ordonez, Jeff Timpone, Tim Patterson, Donald Takayama, Harold Ige and Mark Raphorst. All very accomplished shapers, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount along the way.
Now I have an opportunity to take all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained and couple my own vision and feeling into boards I can ride and perfect myself. It’s really exciting to try and get the outline right, the rocker how you want it, the rails shaped properly and then go out and ride it. The best part is I don’t have to try and explain to somebody how it felt or what is right or wrong with the board, and what needs to be changed. I know already. I can take that feedback and put it directly into the next prototype. It’s awesome and so much fun. It’s got me excited to go to the beach every morning and try to learn how to make everything better. I am far from a master at this craft but at least I can create what I believe works best.
So that’s where I’m headed. The path isn’t completely clear yet, but I’m moving in a direction that feels great to me. I wish everyone at Naish, and specifically Robbie, full enjoyment of the great success that their hard work over many years has brought them. But it’s time for me to move on.