Kiteboarding EU) Pete, you are a natural water man, you grew up in Hawaii, going to the ocean was a natural thing for you. Today you are known as a windsurfer, kitesurfing pioneer, founder of the brand Cabrinha and big wave surfer - amongst others. You are also an artist! Is there a link between watersports and art?
PC) I wouldn’t say that all water sports are on the same artistic level. Not to diminish the effort it takes to be a competitive swimmer but I think there is a much different approach to being a competitive swimmer than there is to being a surfer. You can swim in a pool for hours and the conditions will likely stay the same. Yet the ocean is constantly changing and every wave is different. To excel in the surf requires creativity. Surfing at its very core is an artistic endeavor. Surfing is not a sport which is played on a defined court or in a box. The maneuvers you do while surfing are very much a creative extension of your personality and your artistic mindset. Everything that surrounds surfing… the culture, the industry, the media, is driven by art and music so I would say that there is a massive connection between surfing and art.
Kiteboarding EU ) How do you define art/What is art for you?
PC) My definition of art is anything with the intention of producing inspiration, stirring emotion, or provoking thought and conversation. This is a pretty wide definition that also includes things which are created by nature.
Kiteboarding EU) When did you discover that you wanted to become an artist?
PC) I claimed (to myself) that I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a child. My mother was an artist and I guess I have also been one since a young age. However, it has become a more prominent part of my life in recent years.
Kiteboarding EU) Your pictures are usually a collage of photography and different painting techniques, including motives like surfers, flowers of Hawaii, etc.
Kiteboarding EU) What do you want to express with your pictures?
PC) I’m really inspired by much of what I see around me. I attempt to tell complex stories through the use of collage because images are a powerful communicator. When you combine many images together you provide many ways of interpreting the art. The viewer can stand back and see the combined result of the composition or you can move in closer and see the many stories that make up the final piece.
Kiteboarding EU) Which message should come across? Which emotion or thought would you like to evoke in the viewer?
PC) I like to think that my art has an overall positive spin or message to it. But that being said, I like to create a sharper edge on normal subjects. I like to throw some scenes off balance to make the viewer engage with it and think a bit.
Kiteboarding EU) Where do you take your inspiration from?
PC) My work is inspired mainly by my surroundings. The ocean, the surf culture, and the contemporary Hawaiian lifestyle. But I mix in a fair amount of street inspired graphics to create tension and interest.
Kiteboarding EU) If you could dream a little, what would you like to achieve in the art world?
PC) My hope is that my work will expand beyond my current collectors in Europe, Asia, and the US. I would like to make art that will still be considered interesting many decades from now.
Kiteboarding EU) You are working with the graphic designer Patrick Dunne at Cabrinha kites. How much art is in the grafic design of the kites already?
PC) A lot of the art in Cabrinha is embedded in our marketing and our product design. Everything from our annual product book to the magazine ads have the Cabrinha DNA in it. When it comes to product graphics there is a little separation between the art I do and the product graphics. The kite graphics for example are a type of industrial design.
Patrick and I are releasing a limited series of hand painted ukuleles through Cabrinha. It is called the Soundwave Project™ and 100% of the sales will go towards non-profit organizations which support clean beaches and oceans.
Kiteboarding EU) Can we expect an “art edition” of Cabrinha kites with your designs & artwork on them?
PC) Yes. We are looking at doing special products in the near future that incorporate a more direct artist application.
Kiteboarding EU) You are a kitesurfing pioneer and you were there at the beginning of the sport. What is your most precious memory from the “old” days? Did you know back then that you are making history?
PC) When I began to kitesurf the sport was very similar to the early days of windsurfing and tow surfing. We knew we were doing something special that would soon grow into an exciting sport. We just didn’t know how big it was going to be. For me, the best part of any sport is the learning stage. I don’t mind being a kook while I’m trying to learn something new. I enjoy being one of the people responsible to develop a sport rather than one that steps in years after it was perfected. There are not many opportunities to pioneer a new sport in one’s lifetime. If you ever have that opportunity it is best to take it.
Kiteboarding EU) Back then, was there something that was better in the kitesurfing or surfing industry, compared to now? On the other hand, what has improved?
PC) I was fortunate to be involved in professional Windsurfing during the ’80’s. The sport was growing quickly and the energy surrounding the sport was electric. It was especially a good time to be a pro athlete. This was an era which has not been duplicated yet in professional kitesurfing. I believe we are still headed towards a time where the sport of kitesurfing attracts a more mainstream audience. Kitesurfing is too exciting to not be followed by the mainstream.
Kiteboarding EU) If you look at the pro kiters nowadays, in what way are they different to you back then?
PC) I see a lot of similarities to the pro kiter today. The pros of today have a similar attitude to the one that we had during our time. We all want to progress the sport and this takes commitment and dedication. When you are passionate about something you sometimes don’t see this as being hard work. Rather, it’s a privilege that you can pursue the thing you love while getting support from the industry to do it.
Kiteboarding EU) Is there someone you look up to, who is your idol?
PC) My Dad was a giant in his own right. He was a silent but effective leader and he was respected by his peers. His actions didn’t speak louder than his words… his actions “were” his words. I’m still trying to learn from his approach.
In terms of career and the surf lifestyle, I really respect guys like Jack Johnson (surfer, musician, environmentalist), Jake Burton (Burton Snowboard founder), Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia founder, environmentalist), David Carson (surfer, artist), Robert Rauschenberg (artist), Kelly Slater (surfer, entrepreneur).
Kiteboarding EU) What was the proudest moment of your career?
PC) There have been many moments but one of the most significant moments was my first world title. This was a defining moment for me because it was the end of a long sought after goal but at the same time it was the beginning of career which is still unfolding.
Kiteboarding EU) You once held the record for “highest wave surfed” - Cabrinha as a brand was the first company to release the bow kite. What other “firsts” and records are there in your curriculum? Which one was the hardest to get?
PC) I think I might be the first person to fall asleep while windsurfing. But that’s another story…..
I think the hardest milestone to achieve for me was to win the Billabong XXL award. Even though pursuing this award wasn’t originally a goal of mine, it took 10 years of surfing every swell at Jaws for it to become a reality. In the end, what actually made it happen was the luck being in the right place at the right time when that wave decided to come to me. Surfing has an incredibly competitive field and there were a lot of surfers in the hunt for this prize at every big wave spot around the world.
Kiteboarding EU) From your point of view: What is a life well lived?
PC) I think a lot of people will agree with me that a good life relies on just a few key things: 1) The freedom to pursue your calling. 2) Having family and friends to support and be supported by. 3) Gratitude.
I think point 3 is probably the most important one. If you focus your attention on the things in your life that you are grateful for, you are less likely to be stressed about the things you don’t have in life.
This is by no means a complete list. I would also put social responsibility, taking care of the environment high on the list.
Kiteboarding EU) We kitesurfers depend on the forces of nature, but on the other hand we travel a lot, our kites and boards are made out of plastic and we therefore negatively influence the environment. How bad do you think is the carbon footprint of us kitesurfers? What can we do to give back to nature?
PC) I believe that kitesurfers collectively have a positive attitude towards the environment. People that enjoy kitesurfing appreciate clean water and a healthy planet.
The kitesurfing industry has a long way to go to become more eco friendly. Many of our products are made with petroleum. This is slowly changing and I’m happy to see more effort towards sustainable materials in our products. However it should be worth noting that sports like kitesurfing and surfing produce zero carbon emission while in use. A kitesurfer can be powered for hours and hours without the use of a single drop of fossil fuel. This is a small point to celebrate but a big reason why I love our sports.
Kiteboarding EU) What does the next 20 years hold for Cabrinha kitesurfing?
PC) There has been an ongoing evolution in the Cabrinha Brand over the last 4 years. We have slowly migrated all of our management and staff back to birthplace of the brand… Maui, Hawaii. Our company headquarters in Maui is significant because Maui is the surfing worlds most innovative region. The most extraordinary new water sports all have their pioneering roots right here. Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Tow Surfing, Foil Boarding, Wing Boarding and SUPing all exploded on the shores of Maui and Cabrinha has played a pioneering role in each one.
Having our entire operation in Maui enables us to fully realize our potential and to give our customers the most cutting edge products in the fastest time possible.
Being in Maui motivates our staff and team because they are all embedded in the sports and the equipment that we develop. It gives us a type of authenticity that is not possible to create otherwise.
With big changes in the kitesurfing industry, how important is it to have a brand identity that can withstand the changing kitesurfing landscape?
PC) I think change is one of the most important factors in long term success in this business. The challenge is know how to change over time. It’s important to know which elements of the brand to evolve and which parts must remain the same. Personally I think it’s important to stay true to your brand values and philosophy but everything including attitudes constantly need to be refreshed.
The best way for this to happen is to stay engaged and enjoy what you’re doing. When you love what you do the refresh seems to happen automatically.
August 10, 2019
Its undeniable that the summits of Haleakala, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa carry a certain Mana that can not be found anywhere else in Hawaii.
July 25, 2019
Recent developments in wing technology have led to the rise of wingsurfing. This simple hand held wing is probably the easiest method of natural power that you can hold in your own hands. The Crosswing works best on a foil board but can be used with just about anything that glides across the water or land.
July 25, 2019
The Soundwave Project™ is a collaborative art and music initiative to promote ocean awareness and participation in maintaining a healthy marine environment.
For the past twenty years, Cabrinha has played a ground-breaking role in the evolution of surf sports with its pioneering efforts in kitesurfing, tow-surfing, and foil boarding. As part of our 20 years in business celebration, we are presenting 10 hand-painted Lanikai Ukuleles by the brand’s creative heads and artists Patrick Dunne and Pete Cabrinha.
These playable art pieces are offered for sale for $1,000 per ukulele. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Surfrider Foundation, the Moores Cancer Center, and various other ocean-minded organizations.
For more information visit: www.cabrinhakites.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
January 2, 2019
Hat… (check). Sunscreen… (check). Smile… (check). Great attitude… (check).
Lisa Cabrinha keeping it simple.
Surfing Hawaii. Schaefer International Gallery
December 10, 2018
Dec 16, 2018 - Feb 15, 2019
This exhibition explores our most popular water sport, beginning with Native Hawaiian history and knowledge of he‘e nalu, and the evolution of surf culture in the islands today.
The story continues with the evolution of surf tourism and surf culture in the islands today, as seen with materials from archives, surfboards from collections, and vintage ephemera.
A group of accomplished artists from Hawai‘i, whose work often focuses on themes of surfing, have been invited to create two- and three-dimensional original contemporary works for the exhibit. They include Carol Bennett (Kauai), Pete Cabrinha (Maui), Peter Shepard Cole (O ‘ahu), Mark Cunningham (O‘ahu), Charlie Lyon (Maui), Wayne Levin (Hawai‘i), and Noble Richardson (Maui).
Guns N Roses
December 10, 2018
What an amazing weekend. Guns N Roses just wrapped up their Not In This Lifetime tour at the Aloha Stadium. The band was in top form and threw down hard for a 3 1/2 hour show to a packed stadium. A huge Mahalo to Duff and Susan Mckagan and Brian Klein for taking care of the fam. Love you guys.
December 6, 2018
You never know when inspiration will strike. 8:30 pm in the Cabrinha garage, Lisa and Tahiti have a spontaneous jam.
December 17, 2018
The island of Maui is a phenomenal wind machine. The Tradewinds blow here over 300 days per year which makes Maui one of the worlds best kitesurfing locations. We base our Cabrinha Kitesurfing headquarters here for that very reason.
While the wind is most consistent in the summer months, the North Shore really turns on between the months of October and April. Huge Pacific swells light up the reefs and provide many amazing options for surf.
The surf this week provided a good combination of swell and wind.
In The Studio
December 6, 2018
Running through the final stages of my work for an upcoming show titled Surfing Hawaii. Surfing Hawaii is an art exhibit at the Schaefer International Gallery focused on Hawaii’s favorite water sport. It’s been a fun project to explore the many ways that surf culture has been driven through the shifting media landscape over the years. More on this to come soon.
November 18, 2018
The Cabrinha Quest. The original concept of adventurers Gavin McClurg and Jody Macdonald is on schedule for its third 5 year odyssey. Over the last 10 years, Discovery, a 60 foot Lagoon catamaran has pushed to the far corners of the globe. Circumnavigating the earth for the first 5 years before ‘settling’ in the Pacific Ocean where it explored some of the most remote kitesurfing and surfing locations it has to offer. From Patagonia to Micronesia, the Cabrinha Quest’s mission is to go where few others dare to go. To visit the parts of the planet where life moves at a much more realistic pace. Where the ocean and its inhabitants are least affected by the spoils of population growth and industry. Some of my most memorable moments in life have happened on the Quest.