INTERVEW / DAVE KAY

Back in 2000, within six weeks of first standing up on a kiteboard, Dave Kay was riding his own hand-built twin-tip at home in New Zealand. A unique design mind, he started his own brand a year later, held the product manager position for Cabinha in Hong Kong for six years and since December 2016 he's lived in Cape Town, where he more recently started working full time for Airush. The can-do Kiwi designed his own kite design software during a spell of downtime while waiting for his South African visa and marked his 20th anniversary in the sport with a session riding gear that had all been designed by him (apart from his wetsuit) and built locally. KW editor Jim Gaunt hears about one of the most instinctively curious journeys in kiteboarding design that started randomly on the snowy slopes of Canada, back in ‘99

Photos: Kyle Cabano

Dave Kay kiteboard designer interview profile in Kiteworld Magazine

INTERVEW / DAVE KAY

Back in 2000, within six weeks of first standing up on a kiteboard, Dave Kay was riding his own hand-built twin-tip at home in New Zealand. A unique design mind, he started his own brand a year later, held the product manager position for Cabinha in Hong Kong for six years and since December 2016 he's lived in Cape Town, where he more recently started working full time for Airush. The can-do Kiwi designed his own kite design software during a spell of downtime while waiting for his South African visa and marked his 20th anniversary in the sport with a session riding gear that had all been designed by him (apart from his wetsuit) and built locally. KW editor Jim Gaunt hears about one of the most instinctively curious journeys in kiteboarding design that started randomly on the snowy slopes of Canada, back in ‘99

Photos: Kyle Cabano

As I wait for Dave to answer my call, I notice that his Skype bio says: ‘My name is Winston Wolf – I solve problems...’. I picture Harvey Keitel’s character’s ruthlessly efficient approach to cleaning up a gruesome murder scene in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and appreciate that it takes a certain amount of credence to be able to put yourself out there in that category, professionally. While The Wolf orchestrated savage body disposal and clinical cleansing operations without manually lifting a sticky finger himself, DK is entirely hands-on. Impulsivity, however, is likely something they share more commonly.

As I wait for Dave to answer my call, I notice that his Skype bio says: ‘My name is Winston Wolf – I solve problems...’. I picture Harvey Keitel’s character’s ruthlessly efficient approach to cleaning up a gruesome murder scene in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and appreciate that it takes a certain amount of credence to be able to put yourself out there in that category, professionally. While The Wolf orchestrated savage body disposal and clinical cleansing operations without manually lifting a sticky finger himself, DK is entirely hands-on. Impulsivity, however, is likely something they share more commonly.

Dave Kite kiteboard designer interview in Kiteworld Magazine

Between 1999 and 2004 there were three important riding hubs where development was having a really pivotal influence over the direction of the sport. Hawaii, France and, perhaps less widely acknowledged these days, New Zealand, specifically around Christchurch. Back in the spring of 2000 there were of course no instructors. In fact Dave’s first kite, a Peter Lynn Arc came without a bar, so he made his own out of a hickory pick handle which he drilled some leaders into and used polyester resin with sugar granules to rough up some grip.

“I bore a hole through the middle of the wood for sheeting and used a roof rack strap buckle for the sheeting adjustment. I got seriously lofted the first time I flew it on land, thinking that sheltering from the strong wind behind some trees would be safer. As soon as the kite climbed above the trees I shot up! A month later I ended up a kilometre out into the harbour of Point Chevalier when the buckle broke (before we had back-ups). I managed to collect myself up, clip my leash to my board, grab both tips of the kite and get enough directional grip to make it back. I was pretty pleased with that first self-rescue.”

Between 1999 and 2004 there were three important riding hubs where development was having a really pivotal influence over the direction of the sport. Hawaii, France and, perhaps less widely acknowledged these days, New Zealand, specifically around Christchurch. Back in the spring of 2000 there were of course no instructors. In fact Dave’s first kite, a Peter Lynn Arc came without a bar, so he made his own out of a hickory pick handle which he drilled some leaders into and used polyester resin with sugar granules to rough up some grip.

“I bore a hole through the middle of the wood for sheeting and used a roof rack strap buckle for the sheeting adjustment. I got seriously lofted the first time I flew it on land, thinking that sheltering from the strong wind behind some trees would be safer. As soon as the kite climbed above the trees I shot up! A month later I ended up a kilometre out into the harbour of Point Chevalier when the buckle broke (before we had back-ups). I managed to collect myself up, clip my leash to my board, grab both tips of the kite and get enough directional grip to make it back. I was pretty pleased with that first self-rescue.”

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