In addition to continuing Cabrinha’s legacy as key innovative driver and market leader in the surf segment – especially in kitesurfing – the new ownership structure builds on the recent relocation of brand headquarters back to Cabrinha’s birthplace on the North Shore of Maui, Hawaii where Pete leads the product marketing and development operations.
The iconic kitesurfing brand, founded in the year 2000 by namesake and surf industry pioneer Pete Cabrinha, today announced new ownership on the eve of the company’s 20th brand anniversary. Pete Cabrinha along with Water Bound Investments, led by former professional kitesurfer and long-time Cabrinha professional athlete Jon Modica have partnered in the purchase and future development of the Cabrinha brand assets.
According to Founder and Brand Director Pete Cabrinha, “The Cabrinha team and I are extremely excited by what this initiative means to the evolution of the brand. This new structure unlocks our ability to be uninhibited in terms of design and innovation, to be faster on our feet, and to have the capacity to expand on our award winning range of products. This refined organization empowers us with unrestricted access to design and development resources, it creates a closer connection to our industry partners, and it ultimately places our customers at the center of our unrivaled water sports experience.”
The company’s research and development facility in Maui is perfectly situated for testing in all wind and water conditions. The most significant water sports of the last 30 years have come from Maui and Cabrinha has played an instrumental role in pioneering of all of them. The Hawaiian Island has long been known as the epicenter of windsurfing, tow surfing, stand up paddleboarding, kitesurfing, and foilboarding since the very beginning of each sport. Today, Maui remains the proving ground for the world’s best water sports products and the preferred stomping grounds for leading wind and wave athletes.
With Modica as the new chairman, Cabrinha will focus on advancing product development and partnerships with international athletes and ambassadors, always grounded in kitesurfing and the lifestyle of travel and adventure.
“As part of the Cabrinha family since 2003, I jumped on the opportunity to work alongside Pete and other committed investors to purchase the brand to bring it back home to where it all started. We are now a fully American-owned company backed by a passionate team of active kiteboarders ready to push the future of our sport and our industry forward,” said Jon Modica, adding: “Most of all, our team is a family of like-minded individuals who have worked with each other for years. Together, we have made sure to create a seamless transition for our consumers and retail partners.”
To take on the role of Cabrinha’s CEO, Modica has appointed Kent Marinkovic, President of Adventure Sports Inc., the world’s leading distributor of Cabrinha Kites.
Having served the company since its early beginnings, the industry veteran with over 30 years of experience in the surf business is ready to lead Cabrinha into the next chapter.
“It’s been inspirational to have worked with Pete since the very beginning of the sport. His ability to not only identify groundbreaking trends, but to make the big decisions to embrace them at critical times has helped shape our entire industry from both a performance and safety perspective. He is the visionary of our game,” said Kent Marinkovic, CEO of Cabrinha.
Under the new ownership, distribution of Cabrinha-branded products will operate out of Miami, Florida. Available in 70 countries across the globe, Cabrinha specializes in kitesurfing, boards, kites and accessories, foil boards and wingsurfers. They sponsor the top athletes in surf sports to collaborate in development and marketing.
“Cabrinha has been delivering quality, innovation and consistency for the last twenty years. Kitesurfers across the globe, including many of the sport’s elite athletes, have come to rely on our products, which has been a key component of our brand’s developmental success.” said the company’s founder, Hawaii-born surf sports pioneer Pete Cabrinha.
Over the past two decades, Cabrinha has contributed bedrock technologies to the sport of kitesurfing. Innovative milestones include the introduction of the first widely available bow kite with the 2006 release of the revolutionary Crossbow model, which changed the kitesurfing world forever. This technology afforded riders greatly increased wind ranges and massive airs, while significantly improving safety. The Crossbow launched the Cabrinha brand into the stratosphere, followed by the legendary Switchblade kite, which continues to reign as the bestselling kitesurf model in the world until this day.
Speaking on the brand’s twentieth anniversary, Pete Cabrinha said: “The last 20 years have been an incredible time for Cabrinha and the sport of kitesurfing. We’ve innovated our way through the past two decades… taken risks, won awards, crowned champions, and celebrated the rise of our incredible sport. But most of all, we’ve stayed curious. We are constantly looking around the corner to see what’s coming… and where we are headed.”
Recent achievements include the 2016 release of Cabrinha’s Fireball Control System, which received the prestigious IDEA Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America for its innovative design and manufacturing. That same year, Cabrinha introduced pure Profile Panel technology as a noteworthy advancement in kite design, with strategically placed panels providing ultimate control over the aerodynamic profiles in the kite.
Beyond designing groundbreaking products with iconic graphic design, Cabrinha has always cultivated a close connection to the sport’s trailblazers and athletes. Cabrinha Kites have been ridden to the top of podiums and World Tour Championships in Freestyle, Surf, Wakestyle and Speed competitions.
Brand ambassadors include multiple Kite Speed World Champion Rob Douglas, Kite Park World Champion Annelous Lammerts and World Wave Champions Keahi de Aboitiz and Moona Whyte next to Brazilian adaptive athlete Fernando Fernandes.
This constant connection to the culture and lifestyle of surf sports has paved the way for Cabrinha’s upcoming chapter of brand evolution.
“With Jon Modica coming on board as the new owner and chairman, we are in a position to power Cabrinha for the next twenty years of innovation,” said CEO Kent Marinkovic.
A cornerstone of the core team’s new plan for Cabrinha is to differentiate the brand in the market through ownership and direct control by active kiteboarders and the consistency of the entire sales, marketing, and product development teams. Continuing the tradition started by company founder Pete Cabrinha, the company maintains its investment in athlete sponsorship, as well as music, the arts, and stewardship of the world’s oceans for a sustainable future.
“Cabrinha’s brand liberation will better allow for faster decision making and unimpeded development,” said CEO Kent Marinkovic, adding: “This change and new investment will deliver innovation, speed to the market, and consistently performing equipment at the level of quality that Cabrinha users expect.”
Modica also holds a degree in Human Development from Connecticut College, a teaching certificate in elementary education, and a master’s degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. As a successful tech entrepreneur, Modica leveraged his educational background into creating the youth-focused e-learning platform Nutmeg Education, which was acquired by Second Story Capital in 2016. For more background on Modica, see Tkb’s 2016 interview with Jon here.
“With nothing but the future ahead of us we have the fortunate ability to combine experience with perspective to craft a future that will support the next twenty years,” said company founder Pete Cabrinha.