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Robby Naish - The Longest Wave

by Red Bull 6 Aug 2021 06:38 PDT
Robby Naish © Red Bull

Over the course of 40 years, professional waterman, Robby Naish, won over 150 tournament victories and became a 24-time world champion. His purpose in life every day was about competing and being an exceptional athlete.

So now in his fifties, as he figures out what to accomplish next in his life, The Longest Wave documentary sheds light on his career during transition from competing to life after professional sport, a perspective rarely documented.

From award-winning director Joe Berlinger (The Cecil Hotel, Paradise Lost, Brother's Keeper, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and Crude) the new windsurfing documentary film, The Longest Wave, debuts worldwide on Red Bull TV, a free, On Demand streaming service on 10th August.

Berlinger departs from the true crime drama to dive into a world totally unfamiliar to him. The Longest Wave transcends the action sports category by capturing obstacles outside of the legendary athlete's professional life in an intimate, cinéma-vérité style, revealing Naish balancing the pursuit of excellence at sea with the demands of life's challenges on land, including family, injuries, getting older and the risks of continuing to participate in considerably dangerous sports.

Whilst examining a different subject genre with The Longest Wave, Berlinger does stick to type. Having created film where he delves deep into the psyche of musicians and serial killers, his most recent focus, a competitive and successful athlete, is unsurprising. Choosing interesting, and not necessarily obvious, mainstream characters for each of his documentaries, the award-winning Director manages to capture those extra moments, the deep-rooted personality traits that seem to transcend across his chosen areas of interest, adding sportsman this time to his repertoire.

Common traits across the chosen subjects chosen by Berlinger include attention to detail, a desire to succeed, the need for excitement, ability to keep a clear head and an unrivalled aptitude to manage stress* which he manages to document expertly in his latest film with Naish.

So, is Berlinger following a pattern with his chosen subjects? The documentary The Longest Wave is the next in his series of subjects that have chosen careers offering physical natural highs. Whilst musicians and sportsmen feel the high from audience reaction or participation in a competition, the serial killer's brain also enjoys the natural high when in action.**

Berlinger says, when choosing his subjects, he does so by "Remaining open to the situation that you're filming otherwise you might miss the story."

He continues "I've never worked with a sportsman, but I believe there is so much to a person than the black and white soundbites you see of someone's life, I wanted to show the multiple sides to his story through this film. It is full of raw emotion."

Robby Naish won his first windsurfing world title aged 13 and he has been at the forefront of windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding and more recently foil boarding. Berlinger exposes what happens when a 24-time world champion from Hawaii, who paved the way for new extreme sports, is told to stop. Does the clock stop ticking, and all you have worked for come to an abrupt end? Robby is far from ready for his life to lose the meaning and purpose he's always leaned upon.

The Longest Wave is a film that looks at the man behind the sports he grew, and who has reached what he is told is his last goal, his final title. The film captures the story of the man continuing his quest for brilliance by challenging himself to ride the world's longest wave, yet unexpectedly reveals his vulnerabilities as a businessman, an innovator who is constantly crafting and developing, as a mentor for upcoming talent, and as a father who's been on the road many days of his daughters' lives.

The film premieres August 10 only on Red Bull TV, a free, on demand streaming service available on the web and as an app across devices big and small. Watch the premiere here.

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