The brand story of Dakine starts in 1979, when it was founded in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii by Rob Kaplan. Rob was a surfer first, but he was also a tinkerer who loved building stuff. Word got out, and soon fellow surfers began turning to him with their gear problems – most often busted surf leashes. After repairing enough leashes, he set out to make a new leash. A leash with the kind of bombproof materials and stitching only someone who had lost a board to the rocks would know how to make.


By 1986, windsurfing’s centre of gravity had shifted to Hood River, Oregon. While Dakine would keep a presence on Maui, its headquarters moved to the mainland. Hood River also sat at the base of Mount Hood, where snowboarders and skiers from all over the world trained in the summer.


Now, not only were they talking to some of the world’s best surfers and windsurfers, but they also had world-class snowboarders and skiers coming in and out of the office too. It was one of those snowboarders that led them to the first Heli Pack. He had come off the mountain and wandered into Dakine with a request: he needed an essentials-only pack for his helicopter trips to Alaska. Dakine created a custom pack that had everything he wanted and nothing more.


That favour for a friend eventually turned into one of Dakine’s most iconic products ever.