When Horacio Martinez decided to build his own foilboard, little did he know that in just two short years he would be searching out a factory to help him keep up with the increasing demand for his unique board shapes. Born in Argentina but a resident of Maui for the last 20 years, Horacio explains how Kanaha Shapes came to be, what sets his boards apart from the rest and most importantly, what riders are loving about his designs.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND KANAHA SHAPES? DO YOU HAVE A BOARD SHAPING BACKGROUND?
When I started foiling I tried several boards but I could only find defects—I was fighting with my own gear. I felt it wasn’t responding, it was too big and clunky. There were many things I didn’t like, so I started playing with shapes and rockers until I came out with what, in my opinion, was by far the best board I had ever tried. I knew exactly what I wanted in a board and I made it. I never knew how important a foilboard could be until I started coming up with my own designs.
IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME, KANAHA SHAPES HAS GROWN FROM THE GROUND UP AND EARNED THE LOYAL FOLLOWING OF CUSTOMERS WORLDWIDE. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON REASONS THAT YOU HEAR FROM YOUR CUSTOMER BASE FOR THEM PULLING THE TRIGGER ON A RELATIVELY UNKNOWN BRAND?
When I started using my board, my riding improved dramatically; it was an instantly noticeable difference from before to after. I was having so much fun and trying new tricks—everything happened so fast that my improved riding caught the eye of my friends and other riders as well. So they asked me to make boards for them. Once they got my boards they were feeling the same thing. Everybody was improving their riding, also trying new things and having so much fun. So my friends basically spread the word to their friends, and so on. The same reaction happens everywhere when riders try my board. This is the feedback I continually keep hearing from my customers.KANAHA SHAPES’ FOIL BOARDS HAVE BEEN HANDCRAFTED IN MAUI UNTIL RECENTLY. WHAT CHANGED?
Yes, my boards were being handmade in Maui, by my wife Graciela Aguilar and I in our home garage. But as our business grew, we realized that we couldn’t keep up with orders. If we wanted to take it to the next level and be serious about it, then we were going to need help.
It was very important for me to keep the same building procedures in production: no molds, same weight, same rocker and the same best materials. We put so much thought into the board that we have our own special inserts. I want my production boards to be exactly the same boards I was making in my garage. Eventually, I found a factory that could accommodate my specific needs and worked together with them showing every step of the process so they could make exactly what I wanted. And they did! The quality is amazing so I am very happy with the product.WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUR FOIL BOARD MODELS TO HELP CUSTOMERS CHOOSE THE BEST ONE FOR THEIR SKILL LEVEL AND CONDITIONS?
The Iron Macho 32” is a very small board for those advanced riders that hardly ever touch down, or for a kid. It is the less forgiving of all the Kanaha boards but despite its size it feels super light. One exciting thing about this size is a rider’s ability be able to ride without seeing the board—it’s so small that there is no extra board under your feet so it’s like having your feet connected directly to the foil.
The Mucho Macho 37” is our best seller. This little feather is super light and turny; you will be able to touch down after a trick or something and recover without falling. With this board you will feel connected and responsive. Every little input you apply gets transferred to the foil and back. The Mucho Macho’s rocker line is just perfect—not too much or too little, just right! Let the Mucho Macho work for you to improve your riding. It’s super fun!
The Mari Macho 42” is the easiest and most forgiving of all my boards. It’s a super fun board, light yet strong, that you can taxi forever due to its rocker line. Like all the other boards, the Mari Macho is made in full carbon wrap.
The whole line comes with a very clever 8-hole configuration that allows you to fit two positions of 90 x 165mm and one position of 90 x 140mm. They are about four pounds and built like a tank. Additionally, all my boards come strapless. However, I can install a front hook or front strap on request. I am currently designing a beginner board with tracks and our special KS straps.
WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR KANAHA SHAPES?
Our vision is to bring more products to people with a riders’ needs 100% in mind. Not only does it have to perform well, it has to be simple, slick and beautiful. We are getting now our own board bags and working on other products. The most important thing is that the product has to perform better that any other product, so as soon as we accomplish that, it will be released.
What is very important to us is the feedback we receive from all our riders. Every person that rides my board is my team rider, and everyone is super important to us—we love to hear from them. When they text me saying how happy they are with the board, and how much better they are riding, this is what makes my day. On my Facebook page I have a section called ‘Hall of Fame’ and it’s where I load pictures of my riders and videos they send to me.
Another aspect that is very important to us is the presentation of the product. Now we pack our boards with recycled materials only. Because we care a lot about our environment we want to make sure to make the least impact possible, so we are no longer using plastic materials or bubble wrap.
If you have a KS board a big mahalo to you all. If you don’t you should give it a try, it won’t disappoint you! Just contact us, if you need more information or if you have any questions.