Imagine flying over the ocean, feet strapped to a kiteboard and hands clutching a wind kite. This is an everyday experience for Marcial Valiente, Co-Founder of Cavok Kits. Cavok Kites manufacturers kiteboards, wakeboards, and skateboards in Buenos Aires, Argentina with a focus on capturing Argentina’s preference for bold style. In addition to manufacturing their own brand name, Cavok manufacturers boards for well-known Asian and European brands.
When we first met Marcial at his warehouse and manufacturing center, we were swept away with the numerous intricacies involved in creating boards. What had originally started as a part-time gig while working as an engineer for Peugeot, Marcial and co-founder, Charlie turned their labor of love in 2007 into a full blow operation in 2012. “I wanted to do something I loved. And I love action sports like kiteboarding, snowboarding and skateboarding. We started creating and selling boards to friends but soon realized we could turn it into a real business.”
In 2014, the company manufactured over 400 boards alone for the Cavok brand and over 500 boards for other brand names. Instead of setting up storefronts, Cavok sells to retailers and local kitesurfing schools to access a network of buyers already in place by their vendors. “Kitesurfing schools are popular,” says Marcial. “In part because kitesurfing can be expensive and renting equipment from kitesurfing schools is sometimes preferred.”
Cavok Kites competes with large brand names by pricing their boards 20-30% cheaper than imported brands (due to a combination of cheaper manufacturing and Argentina’s tariff on imported goods), and by appealing to Argentina’s bold design preferences. “We want big, bold graphics on our boards because that’s what our audience in Argentina and Latin America are looking for.”
And with the slogan “Made in Hell!” and a kiteboard series with titles like “Wake the F*ck up” and “F*ck the rest”, we can’t see how Cavok could possibly get any bolder. “We want to have a huge visual impact. It is impossible ignore these boards,” explains Marcial.
In the future, Cavok plans on expanding their brand to include clothing, skis and snowboards. Due to the seasonality of kite and wakeboards, expanding their line will allow Cavok to stay busy and pull in revenue year round. They hope to expand internationally with the Cavok brand, but are reluctant. “First we need to develop our brand and creating clothing will help with that. Once our name is out there – beyond Argentina, we will be able to compete with the international players,” says Marcial. “At Cavok we want to capture the Argentine spirit. We want to be bold and fun. We want to stay true to ourselves and Argentina.”