Pete Cabrinha cut his teeth in the waters off of Kailua, Hawaii. A young surfer who pioneered the sport of windsurfing in the late seventies and early eighties. Pete helped define the shape of professional windsurfing for nearly two decades by bringing to the sport his own class of surf style.
During windsurfing’s infancy, equipment was hard to come by. Pete set up a shop in his backyard and began to design boards and accessories under his own label, Cabrinha design. Throughout the years the sport rapidly evolved but his philosophy always stayed the same. According to Pete, “I had made a pact with myself from the beginning that I wanted to be in this game for the long run. This meant two things……… I had to keep my athletic status at a high level and always keep my equipment designs relevant”. His plan paid off. In 1985 Pete had won the WSMA World Championship title in Wave Performance and sealed a place as one of Windsurfing’s lasting icons.
Shortly after his world windsurfing title Pete got reacquainted with his first love in life…. Surfing. In the early nineties Pete was running with a pack of like minded, free thinking individuals, who were all living on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The small crew of friends were all surfers who were playing out the tail end of their professional windsurfing careers. Their spirited surf sessions were a friendly game of one-upmanship. The general idea was to push surfing’s envelope, to re-arrange the established forms of surfing in a way that drew from the past but looked towards the future.
According to Pete, “This daily regiment required some thinking out of the box. It meant tapping into unconventional, sometimes strange ideas.”
Through that effort Strap Surfing and Tow Surfing were born. They pioneered the use of personal water craft (jet skis) and a strapped up surfboards to effectively tow each other into waves which until then, were thought to be un-surfable. The band of surfers became known to the world at large as The Strapped Crew.
With their new tools and technique in hand, their collective focus shifted to the pursuit of a single idea. To ride the biggest waves in the world in a way that no one had done before.
Lucky for Pete and his friends, there was a little known, mythical big wave spot located just off the coast of Maui’s North Shore. Peahi or JAWS as it is now most commonly known, had until this time remained a secret, even to much of the surf population in Maui.
The Strapped crew, equipped with their new tools set out to tackle Jaws one wave at a time. Pete recalls, “From the first day of tow surfing at Jaws, one thing became crystal clear to everyone. By towing ourselves into these waves with a jet ski, we could catch, and potentially ride, any sized wave that the ocean would send our way.”
This turned out to be more than a passing statement. On January 10, 2004, during the swell of the decade, Pete Cabrinha towed into a 70’ wave at Jaws, Maui on a specially designed surfboard. The feat earned him the coveted Billabong XXL Award and an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest wave ever ridden.
For the third time in as many decades, Pete found himself on the ground floor of a budding new sport. One that would require a pioneering effort to build into a legitimate industry. Energized by the promise of a new sport Pete immediately began to design his own equipment and eventually started a custom kiteboard brand under the Cabrinha® label. Thus Cabrinha Kiteboards were born.
Experimentation, adventure and the appreciation of design are the things that have followed Pete Cabrinha since the beginning of his career. In the summer of 2000 Cabrinha® was founded and these elements finally found a place to call home. Today Cabrinha®, a subsidiary of the Pryde Group is the leading kitesurfing brand, selling in over 40 countries worldwide.
Pete lives in Maui, Hawaii with his wife Lisa and his daughter Tahiti.