Bruno Legaignoux, a kite pioneer in the DR
Born in Rennes, Bruno Legaignoux is an obstinate; since 1984, along with his brother Dominique, they have explored the concept of “traction by kite”. Bitten by the bug of sailing 10 years ago, then Sailing French champions, they deviated towards surfing, windsurfing and sailboats, before finding themselves in a world tour. Bruno and his wife Patricia on one side, Dominique and a friend on the other, they found themselves in Senegal some time later and began experimenting on the possibilities offered by a kite.
Once transposed to a windsurf board, the small kites used by the brothers seemed to be more efficient with water skis – the ancestor of kite surfing was born. Intimately persuaded by the potential of their invention, Bruno and Dominique sold their boats and returned to France to devote their time on the development of their wing in the shape of an arc with an inflatable structure and also to apply for a patent, which they did end 1984.
Today, almost 17 years later, the brothers now live in the Dominican Republic and the name Legaignoux has come to be associated with a brand of wings for kite surfing, the actual world leader: Wipika
What pushed you to get interested in a kite ?
We have always been attracted by speed sailing in general. We were aware of the excellent results obtained by kites on certain speed categories but the only thing we really knew was that two English men held the world record in their category: they had taken off the mast of a Tornado and tied a stack of Flexifoil (a brand of kites) in its place.
After applying for the patent end 1984, we clocked our first speed on skis in the beginning of 1985 and commercialised a first product in 1993: the Wipicat (small inflatable catamaran and kite).
Why “Wipika” ?
? Wipicat, stands for: WIng Powered Inflatable CATamaran. At that moment, we had sold around a hundred catamarans and around two hundred wings, but we finally closed the production in France as it was too expensive. We found that the name sounded good and on top of it, it was already well known amongst our first clients; so in 1997, when we finally found a manufacturer in China and we managed to restart the kite production at full speed, we changed the name as little as possible… which gave us Wipika.
Flysurf or Kitesurf ?
Kiteboard. We say snowboard, wakeboard, skateboard… it seems obvious to me. In France, at first, I was opposed to “kite” because in people’s minds, it’s more of a beach game. So, I was keen on using the term “wing”, thus “Flysurf”.