In early December, Ed and I went to the Naish Maui Pro Center to get a couple of SUP surf boards. We planned to mix up our water fun as we already were loving time on the Naish Glide. We were greeted by a warm smile and limitless expert help from Martin Verrastro. In no time, we felt like old friends as he showed us various boards, inquired about our abilities and where we’d be surfing. By the time we drove happily away with two Naish Mana 9’5″ boards on the roof of the car we’d learned so much about all the cool Naish options. Martin provided one more example of the sort of watermen (and women) who are part of the Naish culture.
Naish team riders come to mind when we think of “the face of Naish,” but it’s the entire Naish team from corporate, to store, to the water that live and share the vision and mission. I’d like to introduce you to Martin, as an example.
First and foremost, Martin is a windsurfer who loves watersports, including Stand Up Paddle boarding, kiteboarding, surfing. Back when he learned to windsurf in Buenos Aires, Argentina, SUP and Kiteboarding didn’t exist. But even back then, according to Martin, “like most of the windsurfers at that time, Robby Naish was our big Hero. I still remember I used to call my windsurfers friends “Robby” to make them feel important and to motivate them when they were trying new tricks using a big long board. I’d say ‘good job Robby’ or ‘Robby, the wind is up, let’s go windsurfing’ when I called them by telephone. It was fun.”
In May 2009 as a network engineer at an IT company in Orange County, Martin felt it was time to follow the dream he had when he first began windsurfing – to teach windsurfing and Kiteboarding in USA like he had during summers in Argentina.
In May 2009 Hood River Oregon seemed the “perfect place” to start his adventure. There is no mistaking the excited amazement Martin had as he shared the story, “I called Jak Wilberscheid, owner of Hood River Water Play. He offered me the chance to teach during the summer of 2009 for his school. Judy! Let me tell you, when I discovered the beauty of Hood River while working at Jak’s school, that experience changed my life.”
I heartily agree with Martin’s wish that I might meet Jak one day. I have no doubt he’s as an amazing person as Martin described.
The Gorge is where Martin discovered SUPing. Many events take place at Waterfront Park on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. He used to paddle with his friends from the event site, in the Oregon side to the hatchery in Washington side when the wind was off.
By the end of September along the Columbia River as the weather changes to Fall, wind conditions aren’t so stellar. The changes sent Martin back to California full of great memories and experiences. He set his sights on Hawaii and teaching windsurfing and kiteboarding for “Action Sports Maui” owned and operated by the training director of IKO “international kiteboarding association” David and Suzie Dorn. At the same time he did fiberglass repairs for Kanaha Kai, a windsurf and SUP, surf shop in the north shore.
Martin explained, “In September 2011, “Coach” Jeff Hughes, manager of Naish Maui Pro Center offered me the chance to work at the shop. Of course I accepted. Naish has the highest standards and is by far the best company in the world in windsurfing, kiteboarding and Stand Up Paddle. As a watersports instructor I’m pleased that most schools around the world are using Naish gear and of course, that is what we use in our school.”
The icing on the cake, Martin says, “Robby Naish is my personal hero. It’s easy and enjoyable to work for someone for whom I have so much respect and admiration.”
Marti’n’s Favorite Naish Products:
For Beginners, when I’m teaching
Board: Naish Kailua 230L
Sail: Naish Scout 2.5 SE
In Marti’n’s opinion, this gear should be the standard for entry level windsurfing in all the schools around the world because it makes learning windsurfing really easy and enjoyable.
When Marti’n winsurfs he uses:
Board: 80L Koncept
Sail: 5.0 Force
Harness: Moto 2012
Harness Lines: 26”
Boom: CB wave pro 140-190
When I’m teaching Kiteboarding and when I’m riding myself I love the new ride. It is an all-round, entry level kite that offers great low end, effortless water re-launch and has a 2-strut design. Kiteboard: Naish Gun 6′ 2012 (Full Carbon Sandwich Construction) is my favorite.
It’s the perfect board for the Maui gusty winds and waves, it offers outstanding control in strong winds and choppy water with excellent stability.
Stand Up Paddle (SUP)
Board: Mana 10’0 wood sandwich (bamboo)
Paddle: Kaholo 9.0 fixed SDS (full carbon)
I really love the Mana 10’0, for small surf and flat water. It has an exaggerated tail rocker for great turning performance. It’s wide and easy to maneuver, has 210 Liters, and a single-concave bottom shape.
For a downwinder when I’m doing t the “classic 9 mile Maliko Run, from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor” in the northshore of Maui, I prefer the Nalu 11’6.
“As a watersports Instructor, I know that when I ride a Naish, I am not only riding the best, I am riding with the best. Naish No Ka Oi. Aloha!”