Big news in the outdoor industry today with the announcement that Confluence Watersports has been bought up by private equity firm, J.H. Whitney Capital Partners.

Though you likely haven’t heard of J.H. Whitney Capital Partners you have likely heard of some of their other privately owned companies including, Eastern Mountain Sports, Pure Fishing (who make Berkley and Trilene fishing line and Igloo Products (makers of coolers).

So what does this mean for Confluence Watersports? Mainly a major cash injection into the company so they can move to the next level of their business plan which includes a planned name change to Confluence Outdoor.

"We are very pleased to be brought into the J.H. Whitney family," said Sue Rechner, who will continue in her role as President & CEO of the newly formed Confluence Outdoor. "Confluence has always been an active and invested member of the outdoor industry, and we are fortunate that our new partnership with J.H. Whitney will enable us to build upon our success in paddlesports as a platform for future expansion."

Terms of the deal were not announced as both Confluence and J.H Whitney are privately owned.

Published in Industry Stuff

Adventure Technology LogoSince they first came on the scene in 1993, Adventure Technology (AT) paddles have been redefining ergonomic paddle design and construction technology, all while gaining fans in every corner of the market. For 2012, AT is ready to give back to the industry with a number of national sponsorships and donations.

"The soul of Adventure Technology is in its name," said Hastings Blumer, assistant product manager for Adventure Technology. "We strive to provide the best paddle technology to those in the endless pursuit of adventure on the water. For 2012, we selected a lineup of sponsorships that reflect these values and are proud to support each of these organizations, events, expeditions, and individuals."

Adventure Technology Sponsorships for 2012:

American Whitewater. In addition to supporting the organization’s efforts to protect our country’s rivers and the people who love them, AT is also donating a variety of paddles to American Whitewater fundraisers at Deerfield Fest, Feather Fest, and Gauley Fest.

US Freestyle Kayaking/FIBArk (June 14-17, 2012). Heading into its 64th year, FIBArk, which stands for “First In Boating on the Arkansas,” is the nation’s oldest whitewater festival. This year, AT will support the country’s longest whitewater race by donating paddles to the FIBArk event that will be used as raffle prizes to raise money for US Freestyle Kayaking.

Chattooga River Festival (June 22-24, 2012). Held in Adventure Technology’s backyard on the Chattooga, this is the first year of the Chattooga River Festival, which is being held to celebrate the river and encourage environmental stewardship and responsible use of its waters. This year, AT is donating a paddle as a raffle prize to benefit the festival and its mission.

Girls at Play. Founded by Team Dagger athlete Anna Levesque, Girls at Play encourages women of all ages to get out on the water. Through kayaking, yoga and camaraderie, Girls at Play strives to inspire women and enhance their lives by making these sports feel accessible, fun, and adventurous. In addition to supporting this organization, AT will donate paddles to be used by participants.

Kayak Bassin’ TV. Starring Wilderness Systems Pro Staff Director Chad Hoover, Kayak Bassin’ TV is the YouTube web-series in which Hoover shares tips, tricks and secrets on bass fishing with viewers. Heading into its second season, AT will continue their sponsorship of the popular online TV segments for 2012.

Heroes on the Water. This incredible organization gets wounded, injured or disabled military personnel out on the water for a paddling adventure to remember. The program allows the participants to decompress from the stresses of combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation while finding strength and relaxation in a kayak. For 2012, AT is donating a Fishstix paddle for the fourth annual YakAttack freshwater kayak fishing tournament raffle prize, the proceeds of which will go to Heroes on the Water.

Tyler Bradt Touring. This year, AT donated paddles to Team Dagger member Tyler Bradt’s Sea of Cortez expedition, which covered about 400 miles of ocean over 25 days.

For updates throughout the season, check out:

About Adventure Technology:

In 1993, an idea for the first, whitewater-specific, ergonomic paddle was born. That idea grew into Adventure Technology (AT), a paddle maker who doesn’t seek to “balance” adventure with technology, but rather seeks to push both concepts to the outer limits. AT now delivers premium whitewater and touring paddles known for excellence in design, craftsmanship and innovation. In 2009, AT joined the rest of the Confluence Watersports family in Easley, S.C., to continue its legacy of dedicated research and development, all in the name of a good adventure.

Published in Press Releases

Bomber Gear LogoOutdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 will mark the first time that Bomber Gear will be available to retailers. The premium, authentic paddlesports brand will unveil new sprayskirts and technical apparel at Outdoor Retailer, which takes place Aug. 4-7, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

This past December, Confluence Watersports proudly announced that Bomber Gear joined its family of leading paddlesports brands. Since that time, Bomber Gear founder and now Product Development Manager for Softgoods and Accessories, Rick Franken, and his adoptive Bomber Gear team have been working on enhancements to the brand through cutting-edge design and innovation. Bomber Gear is in true form to drop on retailers this summer.

“Bomber Gear is in a great place; we couldn’t be more excited about the re-launch,” said Shelly Moore, VP of Sales for Confluence Watersports. “With the quality and performance attributes fine-tuned, we are thrilled to be able to offer retailers such high performance whitewater skirts and technical paddlesports apparel. Retailers can now turn to Confluence for their full spectrum of paddlesports needs.”

Stop by the Confluence Watersports booth #32077 to see Bomber Gear’s 2011-2012 line.

About Bomber Gear:
Bomber Gear was founded in Durango, Colo. in 1992, by expert kayaker Rick Franken. Franken bought his first sewing machine because he and a small group of adventure-seeking friends needed better gear. Better gear that let them push the limits and perform at their best while staying warm, dry and comfortable. The goal was to design and manufacture task-specific paddling gear that worked for everyone. Today, Bomber Gear is a premium, authentic paddlesports brand that continues to specialize in the design of performance whitewater skirts and technical paddlesports apparel. Visit Bomber Gear online

Published in Press Releases

Confluence LogoConfluence Watersports has expanded its sales team as part of an organizational restructuring of the sales division. Building on the success of the regional field representatives, the reorganization was designed to further drive sales at specialty through a combination of increased technical support, enhanced customer service, new key account personnel, and a dedicated e-commerce manager.

Published in Press Releases
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 12:38

Confluence Watersports Snaps Up Bomber Gear

Bomber Gear Drysuit

Bomber Gear LogoConfluence Watersports announced yesterday that they have acquired the whitewater clothing and skirt manufacturer Bomber Gear.

To help with the transition the founder of Bomber Gear, Rick Franken will be relocating from Steamboat Springs, Colorado to the Confluence head office in Easley, South Carolina where he will be taking up the position of Product Development Manager for Softgoods and Accessories.

Clearly Confluence is working to make some headway towards the high end paddling jacket market with the purchase and I think that this could be a good move. Before the purchase, clothing and paddling jackets was a major hole in its selection of products offered as the closest Confluence company is Harmony which sells mainly accessories (paddles, hardgoods, and PFDs).

Look for the dust to settle on the transition over the winter with a brand new Bomber Gear website to be released soon.

Published in Industry Stuff

Dagger LogoAttendees at the Lunch Video Magazine (LVM) Premier Party, on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, will have a chance to win a custom, Dagger Green Boat through a raffle to benefit the Green River Access Fund. The party is the kick off for Saturday's Green River Narrows Race, one of the premier events in whitewater.  Over a thousand spectators will hike in to watch the best paddlers in the world on this classic run.

Published in Press Releases

Adventure Technology LogoThe 15th annual Green River Narrows Race, one of the most thrilling and challenging events in whitewater, takes place this coming weekend near Saluda, N.C. The festivities kick off with a premier party and raffle hosted by Lunch Video Magazine (LVM).  Adventure Technology is stepping up its involvement this year by donating an AT2 Superduty paddle for raffle.  All proceeds benefit the Green River Access Fund to ensure continued access to the iconic stretch of the river.   

Published in Press Releases

Confluence LogoEASLEY, S.C. - Confluence Watersports, a family of paddlesports brands active in the whitewater community, proudly supports the conservation efforts of American Whitewater at the 27th annual Gauley Festival in Summersville, W.Va. on Sept. 17-19, 2010.

This year, Confluence brands Dagger, Wave Sport and Adventure Technology are conducting raffles to win new boats and paddles. All proceeds from the raffles will be donated to American Whitewater.

Published in Press Releases

Confluence LogoEasley, S.C. – For the second year in a row, Wilderness Systems was awarded “Boat Brand of the Year” at the annual Canoe & Kayak Paddlesports Industry Awards, which took place at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010.  

Published in Press Releases
Confluence LogoThe announcement I have been waiting for some time has finally come out. Starting June 2009, all composite boats made by Confluence will be manufactured in China. That covers brands such as Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, Wave Sport and Made River Canoe.

According to the press release, the reasons for the switch seems to be mainly financial which makes sense. It is considerably cheaper to manufacture and deliver boats from China then to make in North America. They feel that this will help make the pricing of composite kayaks for sustainable which could be good on the long term. The suggested price of $3000-3800 for a glass sea kayak is completely crazy in my opinion.
Published in General News
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