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DAKINE was founded by Rob Kaplan in 1979 to produce surf leashes that could stand up to the beatings dished out by Maui’s North Shore. His first product was, as Rob put it, "the first leash you could pull a car with." The development of this ultra-tough leash actually opened a few unsurfed breaks because of the reduced risk of losing a board. It was a great start for a brand that, like its products, would stand the test of time.
By the early '80s, Rob and DAKINE were leading the windsurfing industry with its first adjustable footstrap, seat harness, and waist harness. Its Coffin board bag became a favorite for surfers who travelled to events, beaches, and breaks around the world.
In 1986 DAKINE moved its office, manufacturing facility, and warehouse to Hood River, Oregon, which was at the time the mainland epicenter of windsurfing. It also happens that Hood River is home to world-class mountain biking, kayaking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. Because of its year-round snow, Mt. Hood hosts summer ski and snowboard clinics that attract pros from around the world.
By 1989, DAKINE had invested heavily in the snowboard market with board bags, gear bags, and jackets, as well as an accessories line including hats, beanies, and wallets. In 1993 DAKINE began manufacturing gloves and mittens. The Heli Pack, the original dedicated, low-profile backcountry snowboard-specific backpack, was developed soon thereafter. The Heli Pack was so successful that it was followed with several different versions, included men’s and women’s versions. There were also countless colors and patterns.
Since the '90s, DAKINE has become involved with just about every action sport. It produces bags, clothing, and accessories for snowboarding, skiing, surfing, windsurfing, mountain biking, skateboarding, kiteboarding, and stand-up paddleboarding. There is also a full line of DAKINE luggage and bags for just about any occasion or purpose, from beach totes to photo backpacks.
After more than 35 years, DAKINE continues to make durability its first priority. It’s not uncommon to see the original DAKINE Heli Pack backpack in the tram line or slowly making its way up a boot-pack in the backcountry. That’s because these packs, like everything else DAKINE makes, were built to withstand many years of harsh weather and abuse and keep going.