North Kiteboarding or Duotone?! What’s going on in the market with these kite brands? And why also Cabrinha is involved? Are you a bit confused? Yes for sure, that has been a bit confusing. Communication and information at times do not circulate in a clear way. Let’s try to simplify it a little for understanding what is happened between North Kiteboarding, Duotone and Cabrinha.
North Technology Group and Boards & More
Basically, there are two names involved in this story:
The North Sails / NTG is an American company owned by Oakley Capital and founded in 1957, San Diego, California. They are high-tech holders for sailor navigation equipment.
The Boards & More is a company with its headquarter in Austria founded in 2000, and owns Fanatic, ION, F2, Maui Project boards, A.R.T. and Arrows windsurf sails.
Licensing arrangement between North Sails and Boards & More for using the brand North Kiteboarding
The North Sails and Board & More had a trade agreement in which Boards & More could manufacture kites, name the models of the equipment, contract the brand-sponsored riders and perform all other processes, by paying Royalties to North Sails / North Technology Group for using the name “North” , already known and consolidated into the world of the sail.
In other words, around the 2000s, when kiteboarding has started to grow, Boards & More decided to launch a new kitesurfing product line. Due to the strong brand recognition of North, the North Kiteboarding was born. The North Kiteboarding name was licensed out from the North Sails / North Technology Group to Boards & More.
The licensing arrangement seemed to go well until recently. Around 2014 the North Technology Group came under new ownership. Now it is not clear if the new owners of North Sails had other ideas for the licensed brands or if there were some problems for unpaid Royalties from Boards & More to North Technology Group. The “real why” only knows who’s inside and is part of the process, but the fact is that, on late 2017, the licensing agreement between North Technology Group and Boards & More, for using the brand North Kiteboarding, came to an end.
After the ending of the licensing agreement between Bords & More and North Technology Group, Boards & More has decided to continue producing the kiteboarding products with the brand Duotone, recycling a brand that they already owned. The North Technology Group on 2018 has announced that they would be developing and launching a new line of kiteboarding products for the 2020 season with their famous brand North Kiteboarding.
And why also Cabrinha is often mentioned in the Duotone – North Kiteboarding “story”?
On 2018, the North Technology Group, anxious to get into the kiteboarding market, after announcing that they would be developing and launching a new line of North Kiteboarding products for 2020 season, started recruiting a number of kiteboarding leading people. Several of these kiteboarding leading people came from / was woking for Cabrinha, owned by Neil Pride Group (NP Group): people like Klaus Warkentin (actually NorthKB Sale Director), David Mead (actually NorthKB Director Operations and Manufacturing), Mike Raper (actually NorthKB Director of Brand & Product), Hugh Pinfold (actulally NorthKB Director of Design and Engineering), that in the past were working for NP Group / Cabrinha, became part of North Kiteboarding Team.
This is the reason why Cabrinha is often mentioned in this story between North Kiteboarding and Duotone.
North Kiteboarding and Mystic
On January 9, 2019, North Sails / NTG announced that they have absorbed Mystic and other brands of MBrands and that they have created a new group called North Actionsports Group, which groups together North Kiteboarding, Mystic and Magic Marine.
The headquarters of the North Actionsports Group will be in Netherland, where MBrands had its headquarters.
North Kiteboarding, Duotone, Cabrinha in 2020
In summary, in the 2020 season:
- North Kiteboarding will launch a new line of kite equipment,
- the old Rebel, Dice, Neo, Vegas, etc will be branded Duotone,
- Cabrinha, probably, will have something in less than the previous years.