This last week we lost a monumental ﬁgure in the water sports industry. Herb O’Brien passed away after a long battle with kidney complications. Herb was one of water sport’s biggest visionaries from slalom skiing, wakeboarding, the endless amount of revolutionary products, and the wonderland for all water men known as Radar lake.
I was lucky enough to be able to work with Herb on many boards over the years. Just watching his eyes light up, and the excitement in his voice when you would report back about a new shape or a new core, new bindings or any R&D related matter. You could just feel the passion that he had for this sport and it radiated through out everyone he worked with. Creating cutting edge technology was his game and he was on top. It was an amazing experience when the whole team got together and you could see the admiration that we all had for Herb, we all knew that it was a privilege to call him a boss and a friend.
One of Herb’s greatest, and most legendary creations is Radar Lake. Greats like water skier Bob Lapoint, all the way to Danny Harf, have changed what is considered possible on the water at Radar. One thing I will never forget is when we were filming for Defy and we were hitting the step up pool gap. Herb was out there pool side up in the mix getting as pumped up as all of us watching wakeboarding’s limits being pushed. It was awesome, when you were done riding he would walk up to you and ask, “so what did ya think”? You just knew he was enjoying it as much as we were.
So thank you Herb, for being the dreamer who’s dreams have enabled all of our dreams to come true!
Words: Erik Ruck