Damien Girardin recalls an earlier time in his life when both he and the sport were just getting started. Somewhere in the early 2000s and fresh out of engineering school, the young Frenchman spent hours just staring at kites, watching them bob, thrust, turn and pull—from the limited view out the windows of his seaside rental in the south of France. The movement of kites, completely detached from riders, spurred hours of subconscious and then conscious kite observation. From this he learned a great deal about shape, airframe construction and efficiency—all manners of observation he uses today in his work as product manager and head kite designer for Naish Kiteboarding.Upon graduation in 2001, Damien connected with Franz Orly, an old windsurfing friend, and landed a job as product designer building bars and accessories for Takoon, a startup based in the south of France. Having learned a great deal about product development and testing but not yet advancing into kite design, when Naish came knocking, Damien made the jump to Maui where he worked alongside Don Montague. Quickly becoming involved in all aspects of design, Damien climbed to product manager of the kite division and ultimately took on the role of head kite designer. Fourteen years later, Damien still spends a great deal of time staring at kites, using the simple tool of observation as a designer’s sixth sense. We caught up with Damien amidst his recovery after knee surgery to get an insider perspective on the state of design at Naish today… To read the full article become a subscriber of Tkb Magazine.

Tkb’s Vol. 16, No. 1 spring 2019 digital issue is available now. The print issue will be landing in mailboxes soon!
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