It’s been a long and exciting journey for Airwave. The company started out in a garage on the Isle of Wight in the ‘80s, designing hang gliders. Our path has taken many turns, always driven by our passion for flying. Now in the south of France, we’ve thrown our expertise into designing and manufacturing kites and kiting equipment. Inspired and driven by Bruce and Tom, the R&D department is based in the south of France where the sun always shines; distribution is in Austria, and the factory is in Sri Lanka.
As riders, pilots, and dreamers we have found each other on the water, on top of the mountain, or in the sky. We have all followed similar paths. We met because our passions have brought us together. We live to feel the sensations of floating, soaring, drifting, carving, or flying and we all look out for one another. We are a family of passionate people and that connection is everlasting. Our mission at AIRWAVE is to share these sensations with friends, family, everyone.
Bruce, MD is head of the development team. Wing design is in Bruce’s DNA. He learned to windsurf and hang glide as an engineering student at London’s Imperial College in the 1980s. and quickly shot to the top of British hang gliding, winning the Superleague in 1991 on an Airwave Hang Glider. From 1989 he was also a key member of the British paragliding team, becoming British Paragliding Champion three times and ranked WPRS #1 pilot and World Champion in 2007. Bruce has been Kitesurfing since 2001.
London-born Bruce now lives in the south of France with his wife Arna and three kids. The founder of Airwave Paragliders and Ozone, he also designed for Advance for two years before founding BGD in 2012. A writer, speaker and educator, Bruce has a regular column in Cross Country magazine and is president of the APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors). Bruce converted to using foil kites for kitesurfing during the development of the Koala.
Arna was the first Icelandic woman to fly hang gliders when she started at the age of 17, enticed from skydiving by her hang-gliding dad. He bought her a Wills Wing Harrier, and it was love at first sight! Arna competed in several Celtic Cups in Ireland and Wales, hanging out with the stars of the British League but she didn’t know Bruce until a chance meeting in a car park in the South of France in 1997.
When Bruce’s test pilot crashed and destroyed her new competition Airwave Magic, he lent her the paraglider that started her paragliding career. Arna and Bruce married in 1997, and Arna flew a lot, accompanying Bruce to up to 14 competitions a year. She learned to kitesurf in Sri Lanka whilst visiting Aqua Dynamics, the factory where our foil kites are produced. All five members of the Goldsmith family are kitesurfers!
Christoph’s flying career started back in 2002. He learned to paraglide near his home in Wolfsberg, Austria, and instantly fell in love with the sport, flying his Airwave paraglider on some big XCs and breaking the 100km barrier by a big margin. He went on to compete in Austria’s A-league. An engineer by trade, his work life had him involved in some big construction projects, including building bridges across Austria and Serbia for PORR, one of Austria’s largest construction companies.
In 2012 the lure of a different life beckoned, and he quit the construction world and joined forces with Bruce and Arna for an exciting new project – establishing BGD. Christoph still lives in Wolfsberg, with his wife Mila and son Maximillian, where he manages BGD’s European distribution from the Austrian office and distribution centre.
Tom started kitesurfing and paragliding at the age of 14. At 15 he bought a sewing machine and started designing his first kites and paragliders in his bedroom. His enthusiasm for ram air wings aerodynamics and structures grew even more when he entered one of the top aerospace engineering schools in France, ISAE-Supaero in Toulouse. He started working for BGD in 2017, when he was entrusted with the development of a new simulation software that became operational in 2018. This is when the Airwave project started, and he started designing foil kites as well.
The software is now an integral part of BGD’s and Airwave's R&D tools, and Tom and Bruce work closely together on the new designs. Alongside this work, Tom is pursuing academic work to better understand the physics of our flying machines. His PhD is the first to be dedicated to the study of paragliders, foil kites and parachutes: “Fluid-structure interaction simulations of highly deformable sails.”
Half Swedish, Half Iranian grew up in Sweden and lived in many places. Navid Saleki has a mechanical/business engineering background and has been passionate about extreme sports since he started learning to ride a bicycle. After reaching the top in freestyle BMX riding he turned to the sky. After skydiving and paramotoring he is all about foil kiting.
Raphael is passionate about air and water sports. Since his childhood, growing up in the Amazon, he has practised wakeboarding in the rivers of the rainforest. As a teenager he started paragliding and paramotoring, which he has now been doing for more than a decade. He started kitesurfing recently and he is completely thrilled about combining both of his passions: paragliding and wakeboarding
As a child Martin has always dreamed of flying and he loves the mountains. He spent many years flying RC sailplanes, kite surfing, and is an Ironman triathlete which led him to hike and fly. Martin is a professional photographer and marketing specialist acting as a consultant and photographer for BGD. He also covers sales in Austria. Martin lives in the Austrian Alps in Söll, Tyrol.
Yan discovered paragliding while in Nepal in 2012, a life-changing experience that led to her quitting her management consultancy job to pursue her love of free-flight. She is now a paragliding freelance writer and Chinese interpreter/translator, and she has traveled and flown all over the world. Yan currently lives in Spain and looks after BGD’s and Airwave's South East Asia sales.
Lucas is a medical doctor, and took up hang gliding in the early ‘80s. He flew Airwave hang gliders and paragliders – his first paraglider in 1993 was a Bruce design. He and Bruce have been friends since then, and Lucas has been with BGD from the start. He’s since thrown in the stethoscope to be BGD’s Brazilian importer. “Still working while others play”, he sighs!
Anna was born and raised in the Caucasus mountains in Russia. She started paragliding in 2007 and was instantly hooked. She is an interior designer by trade but has put her artistic life aside for now and made paragliding her work. Anna is a professional tandem pilot, working and traveling all over the world. She is in charge of AIRWAVE sales in Russia and the Balkans.
Claudia started paragliding in 1994, and since the beginning of the millennium has worked as a professional journalist and translator specialized in paragliding and paramotor. With a deep knowledge of the sport and the Spanish-spoken scene, she oversees our sales in Spain and Latin America.
Tyr started kiting at 12 years old and never stopped. He started getting competitive at an early age and participated twice in the junior European freestyle kite competitions. Tyr is now part of the Airwave R&D team as well as working on our graphic design.
Nikola has a short history of flying, but a passion for writing long lines of code. An in-house developer, he is responsible for the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, making sure every part of the process runs smoothly and error-free. He lives with his wife and his two lovely children next to the oldest lake in Europe, Ohrid. He loves playing guitar and traveling.
By age 23 Ant’s passion for aerial adventure led him to kite surfing. Studying film, business and math he has been with AIRWAVE and BGD since the start bringing all the wild colors to the products. Ant is currently our graphic and in-house film guy and lives and works in Morzine, France.
Charlie’s first paragliding flight was back in 1994, a 21’st birthday gift that has lasted 25 years and counting. She now flies an Echo, a far cry from the parachute used on that first tow launch in rural England. She lives with her family in southern France and is a daytime desk jockey who works on AIRWAVE’s newsletters, manuals, brochures, and social media.