Confluence Outdoor

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Confluence Outdoor
Formerly called
Confluence Watersports and Confluence Holdings Corp.
Privately owned company
Industry Paddling sports
Founded 1998
Headquarters Greenville, South Carolina, USA
Key people
Sue Rechner
(President & CEO)
Products Kayaks, canoes, and accessories
Owner J.H. Whitney & Company
Number of employees
> 425 (2014)[1]

Confluence Outdoor (formerly known as Confluence Watersports) is an American manufacturer of kayaks, canoes, and related accessories. The company comprises eight separate brands which each specialize in paddling sport boats or accessories.


American Capital financially sponsored the merger of Wilderness Systems and Mad River Canoe in 1998 to form Confluence Holdings Corporation, known as Confluence Watersports, which it then purchased in 2002.[2]

In 2005, Confluence purchased Watermark, acquiring the Dagger, Harmony Gear, Adventure Technology, and Perception brands. The company then acquired Bomber Gear in 2010.[2]

Sue Rechner joined the company as CEO in 2007, coming from Victorinox Swiss Army.[2]

On April 22, 2014, J.H. Whitney & Company purchased Confluence Holdings Corporation from American Capital. They renamed it Confluence Outdoor and announced plans "to grow the business into a full-service outdoor recreation company."[2][3][4]


Confluence Outdoor manages eight separate brands which each specialize in paddling sport boats or accessories.[2][5][6]

Adventure Technology[edit]

Manufacturer of kayak paddles.[7]

Dagger Kayaks[edit]

A kayaker in a Dagger kayak launches into flat water

Manufacturer of recreational, touring, and whitewater kayaks - including the Alchemy, Axiom, Axis, Katana, Jitsu, Mamba, Mambo, Nomad, Torrent, and Zydeco models.[8] Founded in 1988 based on the success of whitewater and touring kayaks designed by Joe Pulliam.[2]

Harmony Gear[edit]

Manufacturer of canoe and kayak accessories - including apparel, fishing accessories, life jackets, paddles, and sprayskirts.[9]

Mad River Canoe[edit]

Manufacturer of recreational, sporting, touring, and whitewater canoes - including the Adventure, Caption, Destiny, Expedition, Explorer, Freedom, Heritage, Journey, Legend, Malecite, Outrage, Reflection, Synergy, Serenade, models.[10] Mad River Canoe was founded in 1971 by Jim Henry and Kay Henry in Vermont. The company's Malecite model was created in the Henry's woodshed, becoming their first model and remaining the company's signature model today.[2]

Perception Kayaks[edit]

Students engaging in outdoor education on the York River in Perception Prodigy kayaks

Manufacturer of fishing, recreational, and touring kayaks - including the Carolina, Essence, Expression, Impulse, Prodigy, Tribe, Tribute, and Triumph models.[11] Perception Kayaks was founded by Bill Masters in the early 1970s. The company develops rotational molding of plastic kayaks, reducing the expense and maintenance of kayaks.[2]

Wave Sport Kayaks[edit]

Playboater on a Wave Sport kayak side-surfing with his paddle in the air

Manufacturer of recreational and whitewater kayaks - including the Diesel, Ethos, Fuse, Habitat, Mobius, Project, and Recon models.[12] Founded in 1986 by Chan Zwanzig who started by importing the popular Lazer from the United Kingdom. The company began manufacturing the Lazer themselves by 1988 and began creating its own models in the 1990s.[2]

Wilderness Systems[edit]

Kayaking on the River Wye in Wilderness Systems Tarpon kayaks

Manufacturer of fishing, recreational, and touring kayaks - including the Aspire, Commander, Focus, Pamlico, Pungo, Ride, Tarpon, Tempest, Tsunami, and Zephyr models.[13] Andy Zimmerman and John Sheppard founded Wilderness Systems in 1986 in North Carolina.


The company operates in a single 300,000-square-foot facility in Greenville, South Carolina, which opened in 2011 and as of 2014 employs over 425 people.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b "Company". Confluence Outdoor. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Clucas, David (April 21, 2014). "Confluence Watersports sold to J.H. Whitney, plans to expand outdoor business". SNEWS. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ White, Woody (April 22, 2014). "Confluence Watersports sold to equity firm". The Greenville News. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Company Overview of Confluence Outdoor". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ Mann, Becky (October 1, 2012). "Confluence Watersports Paddles Against the Economic Tide". Greenville Business Magazine. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Home Page". Confluence Outdoor. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Home Page". Adventure Technology. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Home Page". Dagger Kayaks. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Home Page". Harmony Gear. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Home Page". Mad River Canoe. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Home Page". Perception Kayaks. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Home Page". Wave Sport Kayaks. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Home Page". Wilderness Systems. Retrieved July 1, 2014.