Over the years I have amassed a respectable collection of kiteboards. The obsession really kicked off during my years as a pro rider. As a sponsored athlete, you get access to many boards and for free, and I ended up keeping a lot of them for sentimental reasons. When I started designing board graphics for Slingshot, my collection grew significantly in size. I made it a mission early on to try to keep at least one of each of these boards to show my kids one day. However, there have always been boards that I wished I could have gotten my hands on and simply couldn’t; they were either scarce and impossible to find or I was unwilling to shell out $800 for a board I would never ride and one that’s value lay in collecting dust along with the rest of the catalog in my garage. I always had it in the back of my mind to make a print of all of the boards I wish I could have owned. If I made a poster, I could honor my ‘ideal collection’ of boards and pay homage to the history of a sport that has played such a massive part in my life.
It wasn’t difficult to come up with a list of iconic boards. To be completely honest, I have had this list of boards loosely floating in my head for the past five years. The hard part was narrowing the list down to 32 boards and finding old images of each deck that would allow me to draw the shapes with authenticity. Obviously, other people will probably have a different list of iconic boards; someone might suggest a board I’ve overlooked, and maybe in the future I’ll do a second edition, but for now, this is the list. The boards that found their way into the print landed there because they featured either iconic shapes or graphics, or they were culturally significant due to the rider who promoted them.
The Liquid Force Picklefork is a polarizing example of this. I have only seen a couple of pickleforks in my 17 or so years of kiteboarding. They are so crazy-looking but these were ridden by all the early pros and the concept was ripped off by many of the competing brands. I look at the Picklefork and can’t help but fixate on its sick shape, it’s such a standout in the lineup. The list also had to include the Naish Mutant because Robby Naish and Adam Koch cemented it as one of the classic ‘old school’ boards. It’s hard to picture Robby Naish doing a table top air without also picturing the inverted outline of the Mutant.
Lots of the boards on the list are just personal favorites of mine. When I first started kiteboarding, I was 13 years old and weighed 90lbs, so I was always drawn to smaller boards. Some of my favorite small boards were the Naish Stubby and the Naish Thorn. The Thorn had a killer graphic and Jesse Richman absolutely killed it on this board. Hands down, the most iconic board in the print is the Liquid Force Element. This board pretty much defined an era of kiteboarding. Nearly every single big-name pro rider that I followed rode that board. It was Moehau Goold’s pro model board on LF, but everyone rode it. Perhaps the most legendary board on the print is the Jimmy Lewis Myth. This was the run of Lou Wainman pro models that were both tiny and finless. I really can’t imagine that these boards sold very well because they were super expensive, but wow, they were incredible looking. I was always such a Lou fan—he rode with a style that was different from everyone else and in every respect. Lou seemed to always be kind of everywhere yet nowhere at the same time, and this really only added to his lore.
There are also quite a few boards on this list tied to iconic athletes. Having a pro model board in any other boardsport is a monumental feat and tends to be one of the highlights of an action sports career. This hallmark achievement is incredibly overlooked inside kiteboarding and is also extremely difficult to achieve and maintain. Mauricio and Dre both have two pro models on the list, and they both have their second models with a brand different than the first. Brandon Scheid, Youri Zoon, Martin Vari, Jake Kelsick, Alexander James Lewis-Hughes, Billy Parker, Jason Slezak, Aaron Hadlow and Ruben Lenten also have models in the print that I felt were incredibly significant.
Kiteboarding is a very technically progressive sport. Every year brands strive to make the equipment lighter, stronger and faster. There are hundreds of brands at this point, and every year there is a new product that replaces the last. This print was created to honor the sport’s history so that these boards don’t go forgotten. Countless people had a hand in the creation of these boards— from the artists and graphic designers to engineers and design teams, as well as the people who bought them and loved (or hated) them. The list is a tribute not only to these boards, but to the sport that we all love so much.
FEATURED BOARDS: LIQUID FORCE PICKLEFORK / SLINGSHOT SX / NAISH MUTANT / NAISH STUBBY / UNDERGROUND WAVE TRAY / CABRINHA I CON / SLINGSHOT MISFIT / JIMMY LEWIS MYTH / LIQUID FORCE ELEMENT / WIPIKA MAURICIO PRO / LIQUID FORCE MLF / LIQUID FORCE CONCEPT / CABRINHA CUSTOM / SLINGSHOT LUNACY / CABRINHA WAKESKATE / BRUNOTTI YOURI PRO / FLEXIFOIL HADLOW PRO / TONA DRIFTWOOD / NAISH ARCADE / SLINGSHOT REFRACTION / TONA POP / TONA FLOW / LIQUID FORCE ECHO / AXIS BOOTLEG, PARKER, TRANQ / CABRINHA VARI PRO / NAISH THORN / LIQUID FORCE DROP / UNDERGROUND FLX / SLINGSHOT DARKSIDE / AGGRESSION TT / DUOTONE GAMBLER / SLINGSHOT ASYLUM
This article was featured in our summer 2021 issue, Vol. 18, No. 2. To read more, click here.
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