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The Kona Story
Joachim Larsson, the owner of Kona Windsurfing has lived a life symbolizing the evolution of windsurfing. As one of the world’s windsurfing pioneers he has been shaping this world from the very beginning and for the last decade.
Hello, My name is Joachim Larsson. I grew up at Varamon Beach in Sweden, spending most of my time in or on water. This is my story.
During the 80s windsurfing exploded. It was the coolest new thing and it seemed like everyone close to water got involved in this great new sport. Names like Robbie Naish and Björn Dunkerbeck…
Windy waters and everyone was happy. I started to windsurf in 1981 when the sport was the fastest growing sport in the world. Our short summers where suddenly extended. Windsurfing killed the concept of bad weather for me. Life was good!
New materials and techniques drove innovation within windsurfing and resulted in new products like sinker boards and more advanced rigs. But with this innovation the sport rapidly became more complicated.
During the 90s windsurfing decreased drastically in popularity as a sport. It was no longer for everyone; it became more of an advanced extreme sport and rather expensive one as well.
Family and children took over for me during the 90s and I surfed less, focusing more on other sports. Windsurfing was now too time-consuming and gear intensive. My family went skiing a lot and we really loved to be active together.
We needed a similar activity for the summer period so after some years away once again started to look to windsurfing. But what had happened to the sport? It was not what I remembered nor wanted for my kids. It was too hard to get started. If we wanted to windsurf together, we had to find something new.
We had different needs. I was an advanced surfer, my wife Marie was an intermediate surfer and our children were beginners. Having 5 boards for our family seemed impossible to handle and it would definitely cost too much. We wanted one board for everyone. Could it be done though? Let’s face it, it sounds like combining a Lamborghini with a Nissan Micra
Kona had been developed in France. The objective was to create a unique multi purpose concept, never before seen or imagined possible. Forgiving, yet challenging with excellent sub planing characteristics and high wind performance. The board should work in literally all conditions, and cater for all body weights.
There was one key ingredient that was missing with the new board; a rig concept that was just as good and equally flexible.
Some other former windsurfers and I met up to take Kona to the next step. We found that if we adjusted the rig we could windsurf in all conditions. To give the competitive side of the sport an extra edge we also adjusted rigs after the surfers own weight. This gives every surfer similar speed and everyone has a chance in competitions. This is a truly unique feature for the Kona Class and it makes the sport so much more fun.
Listen to one of the Kona pioneers – great windsurfer guru of Norway, Tor Bakke – talk about the Kona’s concept. Learn more about the board here.
Kona is growing rapidly as it has made windsurfing accessible, affordable and simple. Kona is often used as a great example of how one can succeed by thinking differently and by truly listening to the community.
It’s great, my surfing has changed. I can surf easily with the entire family in all kinds of weather! Making the concept of “One” work is something I’m very proud of. My daughter Kajsa has developed Kona-style. From beginner to an advanced merited surfer with two Kona World Cup gold medals. Surfing is definitely for everyone again. And as you get better, you don’t need to change board. Easy, accessible and fun!
The Kona One class today is a growing community of people all over the world.
The community is growing and we are having so much fun. One big family again!