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Kiteboarding History Through Kiteboards

The Kiteboarder Magazine Hall of Fame Dedicated to the History of Kiteboarding
By Ryan Riccitellli

I have been kiting for way too long. Gear accumulates. Some gear you get attached to and can’t get rid of it. My obsession with kiteboarding was so bad that I actually threw away old C kites that were dangerous and obsolete.

The history of kiteboarding is crazy. It changes depending who you talk to. I was fortunate enough to meet Jimmy Lewis in 1999. He introduced me to Lou Wainman and well…the rest is history. I was remodeling the beach shack last year and I had always dreamed of having a kite museum. I told Jimmy Lewis this nine years ago. He gave me some of the stuff you see in the hall of fame. The rest I have collected over the years.

I will try and provide a little history on some of this gear. Many of these boards were custom one-offs made by the late great Peter Nordby.

Top Left: This was my first harness. It was a Dakine Kalama bought from Cannibal Brothers a.k.a. Gary Martin the TKB technical editor.

The bar you see in the middle was one of Lou’s first prototype bars. It is a piece of carbon bar wrapped in hockey tape. The floats he ripped off a wakeboarding rope. He even put door knob winders on the ends. He had just been sponsored by Airush and he somehow put die cut airush and liquid force stickers on the bar floats. This bar is extremely significant in the history of our sport.

The bottom bar is an old Wipika Free Air two line stock bar.

Second row top: This board was shaped for me as a gift from Jimmy. It was a fin less board he created with Lou Wainman. Lou was sponsored by Red Bull at the time and painted his to look like a Red Bull Can. This board is so damn fast. It was in perfect shape until Davey Blair took it out and hit the Texas Flag rail with it. I wanted to kill him.

The Grey board is the Vulcan. Jimmy Lewis sent this as a Christmas gift out of the blue one year. This was back in two line kite days. The narrow profile and razor thin shape made it the perfect board for me in Maui.

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The blue board makes me want to holla’ Jack Webb where the hell are you? Jack Webb developed this board with Jimmy Lewis. Jimmy again surprised me with this one. The shape was modeled after a pin tail surfboard and it incorporated a tri fin set up. I loved this board.

The bottom board is one of the original Pickle Forks Lou developed with Liquid Force. Jimmy Lewis Shaped it and Lou Wainman and Elliot Leboe were team riders. This is actually one of Lou’s boards. He gave it to Jimmy. Jimmy gave it to me. I gave it to Zach Kleppe and well….now it hangs in the museum.

I shot this photo of Jimmy Lewis in 99 in front of his shop. The boards behind him are Chris Gilbert’s custom and one of Lou’s early “Loucifer” models.

The bottom kite is one of Lou Wainman’s original Free Airs. It has Hawaiian Pro Line on the leading edge. Hawaiian Pro Line is/was owned by Karen and Keith Baxter in Maui. Both awesome people and legends. Hawaiian Pro Line evolved into Airush.

The third row top: This is a broom stick Slingshot bar. This was state of the art carbon fiber with q line.

The black board was on of Peter Nordby’s boards. Peter was the shaper for OG a.k.a. Zero Gravity. We lost Peter to a tragic kiting accident. He is a legend and will never be forgot.

The weird shaped board is a Zero Gravity asymmetrical board. There was a phase early on where these boards were popular.

The green board is another Jimmy Lewis board he surprised me with on my birthday. Jimmy Lewis never seemed to forget my birthday. I would try and give the boards back, because I did not have the heart to sell them. He would not have it. This board is a Best III. It has the dominatrix rail and was one of my favorite boards. I was a boot binding guy and ripped out an insert one day.

The bottom board is an HO Perez wakeboard. I actually used to try and kite on this.

I have a bunch of gear. This is just what is on display at the moment. I wrote this post from the hip. I really want to thank Jimmy Lewis, Peter Nordby, Lou Wainman, Karen and Keith Baxter, Gary Martin, Zach Kleppe, Marina Chang, and who ever else I missed. Many of you have been instrumental in helping me make my dream a reality.

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3 comments

  1. Very nice tribute to Peter. That’s a good group of people you hang out with as well … thanks for the “history lesson/photo”.

  2. Man, what a cool collection! I’m trying to branch out of my couch potato lifestyle and kite boarding is definitely on one of my must try activities.

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