- 20 August 2009 | Kiteboarding
The history of kiteboarding or kitesurfing is a story of two French brothers - Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux - with a strong determination and loving passion for water sports.
Their story started winning sailing titles at the age of 10, such as the French Junior Championships in 1979. In 1984, inspired by "Jacob's Ladder," a catamaran pulled by flexifoils, Dominique and Bruno thought of a dual line kite propulsor.
The first kite was tested with two water skis under their feet. The first patent was registered in 1985, the year when they presented the invention at the Brest International Speed Week. Unfortunately, the Legaignoux brothers were still not lucky. There was no windsurfing company interested in developing a new sport.
In the next couple of years, it's time to better their wings. In 1987, Bruno makes a very successful demonstration during the Funboard World Cup with the biggest wing ever produced: a 17m2 kite. Between 1988 and 1989, the wings are more stable and lighter - a great improvement has been achieved.
The first kites are tested in catamarans, small fishing boats, water skis, windsurf boards, skateboards, inline skates, inflatable boats, kayaks, buggies and many other watercraft devices.
By 1993, Dominique and Bruno decide to run their own company and put their invention to commercial test. After several meetings with Neil Pryde - a very well-known windsurf company - the first series of kites begin to hit the market, under the Wipika trademark. We were in 1995/96.
Then, the snowball began to grow. During 1998, Don Montague and Robby Naish asked for a license, too. In 1999, with a lot of protected patents, Bruno moves to the Dominican Republic in order to develop and research harder in the kite evolution.
"It's why in 1999, I looked for people to take care of Wipika and get myself more time in R&D. I also moved in early 2000 to Dominican Republic which is really a perfect place for R&D. Secondly, the market was not ready for more evolved kites," Bruno Legaignoux once wrote.
Kiteboarding begins to be seen as serious growing new water sport. Safety, also, is one of the top priorities for the high profile manufacturers. Many new brands kick off their activity and the athletes and organizations spread through the world.
In 2008, as referred by SurferToday.com, Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux announce that they have entered into an ongoing intellectual property licensing agreement with Best Kiteboarding.
The licensing agreement settles all intellectual property rights between the parties for inflatable kites and control systems, past and present. Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is now 25 years-old. Learn how a kite is made, from the design process to real kiteboarding.