So 2008 was a weird year. The economy went down the crapper and it was a year of bizarre moves across action sports. One thing that caught me off guard (and proves that being on the East Coast really can be not so special) was the sale of Dakine to Billabong. But, like all things surprising there was another twist. Dakine kept doing what they were planning on doing. That would be knocking out the same quality products as always. In talking abut the best of 2008 it's easy to see where some people rise above and Dakine gets it done by simply adhering to their core audience. The rest come naturally.
The big standouts for me this year fell into two categories; softgoods and luggage. Having owned multiple Dakine bags I can safely say I lived out of my Dakine team pack while on the road this year. Seeing as how I was on the road at least 70 days out of 365 travelling with skateboard was never easier than with the team bag. Same can be said for their snowboard travel bags and rolling bags for carry on. The thing is the features, the placement the function it makes sense. Finally, and this gets my product of 2008 vote, is the Dakine Dispatch bag in vinyl. I commute to a desk job via bicycle frequently this new commuter back is hands down one of the slimmest, most efficient designed commuter bags I have ever used. Their placement for your bike like and aero back fro breathe ability capped it in overall efficiency. I've been stopped by more cyclist wondering where they can get this bag and in a realm of trendy messenger bags a simple all black bag that gets it done is heaven. So short story on Dakine bags: if efficiency and trusting your gear are key commodities Dakine is what you should be pursuing.
Lets move on to product category number two: snow gloves. Oh how I have longed for a pair of gloves that dispatches frost bite but isn't a big flummoxing nightmare. Sure enough the Dakine cobra GT provided the right amount of insulation and waterproofing. A good set of gloves is a strange commodity and while most people gravitate toward pipe gloves in spring I made the transition to the Cobra GT's little brother -- the Bronco GT. Again Dakine came through with the right glove. Looking across their range it was a pleasant site to see such a wide range of product offerings in the glove line up.
This is a key reason Dakine made the list. They stick to doing what they know and they do it exceptionally well. By not losing focus of this core business they've been able to refine their products to fit their audience exact need. Focus, good design and efficiency. I'm looking forward to what Dakine will be knocking down in 2009.