Jon Malmberg - Naish Designer and Adrenaline Junkie.
Jon Malmberg has in the kiting industry what so many us would love to have... a professional occupation on Maui, Hawaii, as a design engineer working for Naish - one of the leading-edge kiteboarding companies in the world.
For Jon Malmberg, aka "Bam Bam", the novelty of going to work with his long time windsurf hero may have lost some of the "hey, that's Robbie Naish!" excitement, but living kiteboarding as a designer, research-n-developer, team rider manager and professional photographer means he's a busy man. He's also living the kiteboarding life like very few others.
Jon Malmberg - rnd - Maui
When Jon is not low flying over water grabbing rail with one hand on the latest Naish kiteboard design and the other outstretched grabbing the bar he's modifying for next year, you are likely to hear him on Kitebeach chuckling and hooting loudly as he heads out. Another possibility could be that he's about to paraglide off a peak on the west side of Oahu to test a paraglider to its limits. If you can stomach the loops check out the video of one of his paragliding sessions further down.
Originally from the beautiful Northwest, growing up with the seasons of Washington and Oregon, Jon has developed himself into the 'Bam Bam' of adrenaline sports. It began in his late teens through college when Jon dove into skiing. As an accomplished skier, Jon has full level 3 Alpine and Telemark certifications and is a level 2 snowboard instructor.
It was while qualifying as a Mechanical Engineer back in the early 90's that Jon developed his passion for the power of the wind. He became involved with windsurfing in Hood River and spent many a weekend escaping the corporate 9-5 from Seattle to rip it up weekend after weekend. Eventually quitting his job in Seattle, around the mid 90's, Jon set his sights on Hood River. He worked for John Doyle, the current Slingshot designer, and also set up his own consulting engineering company.
Becoming involved and part of the windsurfing scene at that time, he developed many strong contacts with well known names in the windsurf and upcoming kiting industry including Cory Roesler whose 'delta-wing, carbon bar' kite was the first kite Jon ever tried.
Then in 2001 after a trip to Maui, Jon really took to kiteboarding getting his first kite, a Naish 7.5 AR5 - an early 4 line depowerable kite. And through his Hood River presence 'Bam Bam' became the 'beach guy' representing Naish kites.
Jon has always had an interest in photography and now has become a professional photographer with an impressive published collection of windsurf, kite and lifestyle shots; especially at the Gorge and Hood river. His work is frequently in windsurfing, kiteboarding and sports mags and he has become recognized in the windsports industry for his magazine submissions and team rider shoots. He's even venturing into the wedding scene if you're ever thinking about a tropical Maui wedding and perhaps a little kiting to boot!
Given Jon's photography success, I asked what distinguishes the photographer that 'makes it' from one that doesn't. Jon replied that obviously you have to have a good eye for photography! But, more importantly, it's the perseverance that really gets you into the photography industry and taking 'no' from those (beep)...picky editors in a constructive way, is what will make or break you. Check out his work at his website www.jbamphoto.com
Through the good contacts and friends Jon had made in Hood River during his time there around 2001 and after, the opportunity arose in 2007 to go and work for Naish, Hawaii in Maui. Jon jumped at the opportunity. Although loving the mountains, rivers and oceans of the Pacific Northwest, the chance to go to work in his boardshorts and flip flops - day in and day out - was one that couldn't be ignored. Who wouldn't want to work for one of the big legends in the windsurf and kiting industry?
Jon Malmberg is really suited to the saying: 'if you're living on the the edge you're taking up too much space' - hence his stepping out into paragliding. Jon is often seen spinning like a dare-devil in the skies over Oahu to see how he can push the limits of paragliding. We didn't talk about his next adrenaline high too much, but the awesome video below speaks for itself!
So why the nick-name "Bam Bam"? He somewhat proudly tells how it came about while riding Cascade Sailboards for Gary Swanson. 'Bam-Bam' admitted that during a path of destruction, somewhere between hucking unconventional forward rolls and breaking the n'th board, he was called many names such as 'Wheel of Destruction" and "Captain Crunch". It wasn't until 1994 after returning from a vacation in Maui tanned, bleached blonde and yet another broken board Gary yelled at him "Bam Bam!" ... and the rest is history. Check him out at Kitebeach Maui and we think you'll understand why it follows him.