Founded in Hawaii in 1979 and located at the base of Mt. Hood in Hood River, Oregon, Dakine builds backpacks, travel bags, accessories, outerwear and clothing for people who love to surf, snowboard, skateboard, mountain bike, ski, windsurf, kiteboard and travel.
Dakine got its start on Maui’s North Shore in 1979. Rob Kaplan was a surfer first, but he was also a tinkerer who loved building stuff. Word got out, and soon fellow surfers began turning to him with their gear problems—most often busted surf leashes. After repairing enough leashes, he set out to make a new leash with the kind of bombproof materials and stitching only someone who’s lost a board to the rocks would know how to make.
In 1980, Dakine introduced windsurfing’s first adjustable foot strap, followed in 1982 by a waist harness and a whole bunch of travel bags, then the sport’s first seat harness in 1983, and then the now-ubiquitous thermo-molded waist harness. These advances in equipment design helped windsurfers sail faster, jump higher and ride in more intense conditions. They also established Dakine as one of the new sport’s most trusted brands.
HOOD RIVER, OREGON
By 1986, windsurfing’s center of gravity had shifted to Hood River, Oregon. While Dakine would keep a presence on Maui, its headquarters moved to the mainland. Hood River also sat at the base of Mount Hood, where snowboarders and skiers from all over the world trained in the summer. Now, not only were we talking to some of the world’s best surfers and windsurfers, but we also had world-class snowboarders and skiers coming in and out of the office too. It was one of those snowboarders that led us to the first Heli Pack. He had come off the mountain and wandered into Dakine with a request: He needed an essentials-only pack for his heli trips to Alaska. Dakine created a custom pack that had everything he wanted and nothing more. That favor for a friend eventually turned into one of our most iconic products ever.
ALL ABOUT THE DOWNHILL
By 2005, Hood River had grown into a legitimate mountain bike destination, and those same friends started to bring a different set of problems into the shop: What’s the best way to load three bikes into a pickup without dinging the down tube? How do I ride down with full-face helmet and pads on, but ride up without sweating to death? Is there a way to carry a chain saw, hammer and set of loppers up a trail on a bike? The answer we found, was yes!
We always try to answer those kinds of questions with the same resourcefulness, integrity and craftsmanship that Rob built into that first surf leash. All told, Dakine is responsible for hundreds of product firsts that have helped snowboarders, surfers, kiteboarders, skiers, windsurfers and mountain bikers grab more days on the mountain and in the water. Through every one, our approach has never changed: Build gear we’d be proud to give friends who love being on the mountain and in the water as much as we do.