Orange County Business Journal

Imagine Surf Hires “Paddle Board Pioneer”

Jane Yu Thursday, July 12, 2012

San Clemente-based paddle board maker Imagine Surf has tapped the famed “stand-up paddle board pioneer” Dave Kalama as vice president of design and innovation.

Kalama will head all creative aspects of the company, including research, design and product development.

Imagine Surf is expected to introduce a new line of Kalama-designed boards next year.

Stand-up paddleboarding has seen rapid growth in popularity in recent years, spawning various companies in Orange County and elsewhere that make gear and apparel for the sport and provide other related goods and services.

Kalama is celebrated for popularizing various styles of water sports, including tow-in surfing and hydrofoil surfing. He’s won a number of championship titles throughout his surfing career, such as the 2011 Maui Naish International Paddleboard Championship.

Kalama, who is half Hawaiian, comes from a lineage of watermen. His grandfather popularized outrigger canoe paddling, and his father was a world champion surfer.

Imagine Surf was established in 2002 in Montreal, Canada, and it moved to San Clemente in 2010 after securing $2 million in venture capital. The company was acquired by Hong Kong-based action water sports company Pryde Group in January. The company does not disclose financial information.