What are your all-time-TOP-3 revolutionary windsurfing gear innovations?
I designed a 9’ board with a rounded tail in 1979 (other custom boards at the time had square tails) and using this board I invented the carving jibe in Kailua in the winter of 1979-1980. I had the first adjustable booms. I designed and built the first foot-adjustable mast track. I was on 8’6 x 22” sinker wave boards at Ho’okipa in 1981. No one had wave boards that small before me. I had the first “pointer” fins and the first Tuttle boxes. I started the trend toward wide boards in about 1995. Related to that, I equipped my wide boards with tail flaps. The advent of tail flaps lead to John Parton inventing the cutaway tail, which turned out to be a better solution to the problem of tuning a board for best trim at speed.
When and why the hell did you change to kiteboarding?
I was doing product testing for Windsurfing magazine in 1998 on Maui. I was on the water windsurfing when Don Montague was also on the water kitesurfing. I called out to him to let me try it, so I jumped off my board -- 100 yards from the beach -- he leashed his board onto my ankle, handed me the kite bar, gave me the 30-second kitesurfing lesson and turned me loose. I rode back and forth for awhile, eventually ending up a mile downwind, but thoroughly stoked. After 25 years of windsurfing, I was ready for a new challenge.
You are the father of the Duotone foil wing. How did that idea come up?
Back in spring of 2018 I was trying to SUP foil downwind with my neighbor (HST owner, Alan Cadiz) but had a sore shoulder and couldn’t risk doing much paddling. I saw a video of Flash Austin SUP foiling at Kanaha while being powered with a homemade fiberglass-tube-and-ripstop wing, and I thought I could make something like that with inflatable construction. In 2010 I had made a couple of hand-held wings for SUP boards, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to do something similar and a bit better for a SUP foil board.
Surprisingly, the first 2.5-meter prototype worked from the first moment I used it. I just stepped onto my board, sheeted in, pumped a little, quickly popped up on the foil and foiled out to the reef a few hundred yards away. I fell on the jibe, but by then I knew that this wing was all I would need to be able to downwind SUP foil. Of course, modern wings are capable of much, much more, but back then downwinding was all I had in mind.
Over the next months I had more prototypes built and did dozens of downwinders. Sky Solbach helped test new models. He and I tried to get people interested in them, but for quite a few months no one seemed to be paying attention. I talked to Tony Logosz (competing designer) about it in the Gorge, but he was completely dismissive, saying it was a “novelty” with no potential.
Finally, after months and months we convinced the company to put it into production. Within six months after that there were probably 10 different wing brands on the market. Now, a year later there are probably 30.
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