John Doyle has been shaping, designing, and innovating any sport he gets into. As a young man born in Wichita, Kansas he quickly found his passion in life as a motocross racer. Gaining valuable mechanical skills along with excitement for extreme sports, John excelled quickly to become one of the best racers in the midwest. After high school in 1975, John worked as an electrician and obtained his electrical license. From1978 to 1984 he was hired on to work for Learjet Aircraft in the hydraulics lab testing electrical and mechanical components.
John had a great job working for Learjet, but knew in his heart there was something else he was meant to be doing. So he said farewell to his job and went back to being an electrician and obtained his contractor’s license as well. He did that for awhile and moved on from there to installing swimming pools. With each passing job he was getting closer to what he was looking for in life and learning the skills needed to make it happen.
Around the age of 28 John found himself out at Cheney Lake outside of Wichita, Kansas where he caught his first sight of Windsurfing. Little did he know at the time, but this would be a turning point and would forever change the course of his life.John was retiring from motocross around this time and needed a sport to direct his energy, and windsurfing was a new and evolving sport. After that first session ideas where already forming in his head and had to get back to his garage and put them into action. It all started with that first board that he made for himself.He went to the Gorge for the first time and got more ideas. Soon after that a friend was admiring his boards and wanting one just like it. He made his friend a board and shortly after that found more interest from other friends at the beach. This was the beginning of his new career and the company Doyle Custom.
After 4 Years of shaping and designing Windsurfing boards he came up with a new innovative idea that would change the construction and durability of his boards. It was hollow air core boards built out of Divinycell, not Styrofoam like all other manufacturers. The boards became lighter, stronger, and the best part, could not soak up water and gain weight when broken due to the closed cell foam of Divinycell. Using his knowledge, learned along the way John was able to build his company Doyle Custom. There was just one more thing he was searching for and that was to leave Kansas and move to the Windsurfing capital of the U.S. Hood River, Oregon a.k.a The Gorge.
In 1993 the house was packed and John, his wife Cindy, and their son Mark were off to start a new life. Like any new beginning it takes time and dedication to get going and after a few years John was established and becoming a well known shaper across the Windsurfing community. John's son Mark had started Windsurfing and was beginning to show real talent at the sport. Along with Windsurfing moving to the Gorge turned John onto Mountain Biking and Kayaking. Being the inventor that he is, he then designed his own Mountain Bike and Surf Kayak. "My Dad has always been very passionate about his sports, his toys, and his love for designing and making them" per Mark.
In 1999 a new sport in the Gorge was coming out known as Kiteboarding and just like Windsurfing John was intrigued from the beginning. As Mark would say, "My Dad would sneak off from Windsurfing to try Kiteboarding. All I knew is he wasn't Windsurfing, but some how he was tired at the end of the day." John started building Custom Kiteboards and just like Windsurfing it took off. Before he knew it the Kiteboarding Industry had passed Windsurfing and it was becoming more apparent that Kiteboarding was the new future.Aftera while John sold his Custom shape to Naish creating the Mutant Directional Board. Late in 2000 the opportunity came up for John to work with Slingshot and he was hired on as the full time board shaper. Over the 10 years John worked closely with the R&D department of Slingshot and helped not only to design the boards, but also fins, pads and straps, wake boots, kite bars, safety spreader bars, and many other products. John's raw talent as an inventor and designer really shined and it showed as Slingshot produced some of the best Kiteboarding equipment available.