Confluence Buys Bomber Gear


Kayak surfers in Steamboat Springs, Colo., might have a little more time on their downtown play waves now. Bomber Gear founder Rick Franken and his 8-year-old son, Kai, won’t be surfing them at all hours anymore, as the paddlesports apparel company was recently sold to Confluence Watersports…

Bomber Gear, originally founded in Durango, Colo., specializes in the design of performance whitewater skirts and technical paddlesports apparel. The company will relocate from Steamboat Springs to Confluence Watersports’ headquarters in Easley,
S.C. Franken will relocate with his family to join the Confluence team as Product Development Manager for Softgoods and Accessories in early January, 2011.

“I’m super excited about the move,” says Franken. “It should allow Bomber gear to reach its full potential while allowing me to create the products I’ve always dreamed of with their full resources behind me. They have a great team in place and it will be great to work with them.”

With the move, Confluence Watersports infuses a powerful brand and design force into its growing accessories business. “Confluence is acquiring a heritage brand and product line in Bomber Gear, and also is bringing a legend in the core whitewater community into our family,” says Sue Rechner, CEO of Confluence Watersports. “This investment is in perfect alignment with the vision for our accessories business to provide a strong value proposition to our customers.”

Franken will work with Chris Pageau, Confluence’s General Manager of Accessories. “Acquiring Bomber Gear has given us a tremendous strategic thrust forward for our accessories,” Pageau says. “Rick will be able to focus on what he enjoys most and does best – designing cutting-edge products and bringing innovation to retailers and paddlers. Confluence gains strong design prowess and vision for our accessories division.”

Additionally, the Bomber Gear tradition of quality will round out the growing accessories division, which includes premium paddle brand Adventure Technology and value gear brand Harmony.

Franken is an accomplished professional paddler and a master cut and sew product designer. When Bomber Gear was first produced in Durango, Colo., Franken lived and worked with his Navajo sewing base. When Bomber Gear’s production was moved to Thailand, Franken embedded his family and his life in the community in which his sewing base lived. Moving to Easley, S.C., to join Confluence is an extension of his dedication to live and work with the team that will be furthering
the Bomber Gear name under Confluence Watersports.

“I’m honored to bring the company I’ve shepherded for nearly a decade into Confluence,” adds Franken. “This is a company full of dedicated,
genuine individuals who are truly passionate about getting people on the water and enthusiastic about enriching the paddling experience. Bomber Gear has found a home in Confluence, one that will allow it to become what we’ve always envisioned.”