Kayak maker merges with Canadian company


A row of Ahala paddleboards by the Sun Dolphin brand rest on a beach. Photo via fb.com

A pair of kayak manufacturers are merging.

The private equity firm New Water Capital of Boca Raton announced the merger of Muskegon-based KL Outdoor and Montreal-based GSC Technologies.

Affiliates of New Water Capital completed significant investments in KL Outdoor in December 2016 and GSC Technologies on April 7.

The companies will immediately begin offering their combined product portfolios and manufacturing capacity to key customers.

KL Outdoor makes kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, canoes, paddleboats, hunting blinds, sleds and portable restrooms and related accessories under the Sun Dolphin, Evoke, Extent, Third Coast, Terrain and Five Peaks brands.

KL Outdoor sells its products to a “diverse, blue-chip” customer base across North America for its watersports business and globally for its outdoor events business.

GSC Technologies makes kayaks and paddle-craft under the Future Beach, Equinox, Patriot, Heritage and Viper brands. GSC also produces branded storage and outdoor furniture products.

GSC brands are carried by leading, “blue-chip” mass and specialty sporting goods retailers.

The merger is expected to result in a company with increased capacity to accommodate “fast-growing customer demands, a broader product offering and brand portfolio, strengthened financial standing and multiple product shipping points.”

"We see tremendous benefit to our customers, vendors and employees through the combination of the two companies," said Tom Harris, president, KL Outdoor.

Mark Becker, partner at New Water Capital, said the merger will create what he believes is the only vertically integrated kayak manufacturer with rotational molding, thermoforming and blow-molding technologies, as well as injection-molding capabilities.

Becker also said the combined company is now the “largest kayak company in the world.”

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