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.
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Wow, I did not see this coming. I am very happy for Dave though. Being a creative person myself, life just feels better when you have an outlet for your creative juices. Someone as talented as Dave needs to be able to feel like he is leaving his imprint on things. If he wasn’t really feeling like he had much of an impact in the product line, it is only natural for him to want to find a way to fill that personal need.
Between the strength of Dave’s name as a brand, coupled with how much he knows about surfing, and stand up paddling, I doubt very highly it will be long before he signs a deal with Surftech, Boardworks, or Riviera, to start mass producing his designs. Building custom boards is great, but the true business opportunity is having your designs mass produced so people all over the world can take advantage of them.
I wish Dave the best in this new adventure. I am sure he will be wildly successful, and ever better, he will be personally fulfilled.