support unicef Support American Whitewater!

[please login to make this ad block disappear]

Paddling World Saddened by Death of Bomber Gear Founder Rick Franken

Paddling World Saddened by Death of Bomber Gear Founder Rick Franken

Loss of a Hero: Franken, with son Kai.
The paddling community was deeply saddened this weekend when hit by the bombshell of the death of Bomber Gear founder Rick Franken, who reportedly passed away in his sleep this past weekend while camping on a kayaking trip to Alabama with his son, Kai. The cause of death is not yet known.

Franken, who co-founded Bomber Gear in Durango, Colo., before moving it to Paddling Life's hometown of Steamboat Springs, was a well-respected member of the paddling community, known for his fun-loving, rally-on-a-moment's-notice personality, paddling skills and apparel design expertise. He was also an accomplished mountaineer, climbing K2 in the Himalayas as well as other major peaks.

Franken moved from Steamboat to Easley, S.C., in January 2011 when Bomber Gear, which specializes in the design of performance whitewater skirts and technical paddlesports apparel, was sold to Confluence Watersports in late 2010. The move allowed him to help Bomber Gear reach its full potential.

"We are so deeply saddened," said Confluence director of marketing and sales Cheri McKenzie. "It's a sad time for us and we are focused on helping his family."

Since the acquisition by Confluence, both Franken and Bomber Gear had blossomed. Franken had used his time at Confluence to bring his beloved Bomber Gear to new heights in both performance and material, debuting a new line of paddling drytops, jackets, pants, shorts and sprayskirts. "I'm super excited about the move," he told Paddling Life shortly after the sale. "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."

Confluence was equally happy with the partnership. "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," Confluence CEO Sue Rechner told Paddling Life at the time. "This investment is in perfect alignment with the vision for our accessories business to provide a strong value proposition to our customers."

Added General Manager of Accessories Chris Pageau: "Acquiring Bomber Gear has given us a tremendous strategic thrust forward for our accessories. 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."

Franken was 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 to join Confluence was an extension of his dedication to the brand.

Updates will be posted as they become available...


Paddling Life News on Playak is © and presented by:

Sponsors

JKPalm

Login to post here

ToddPauHana added a video. 23 hours 52 minutes ago

Paddle Boarding Giant iSUP in New Zealand: Pau...

We took the 15' Oahu Nui inflatable paddle board to New Zealand to explore the country with friends and family. We took this board surfing, touring,...

ntroutman added a video. yesterday

Big Wave Kayaking: 2018 Stakeout Moments

Check out some raw GoPro moments from the 2018 high water spring melt stakeout season with Nick Troutman and crew.

richardohman added a video. 2 days ago

MERCURY GTX Modular Touring kayak

This is a brand new lifestyle video featuring the awesome Mercury GTX modular touring kayak by Point 65 Sweden. The Mercury GTX in action! The video...

EJ added a video. 2 days ago

Bragg Creek

This is some biking and kayaking on and around the Elbow river, this is just outside of Calgary and is the entry point for a lot of people to get...

supsdotnet added a video. 2 days ago

John Puakea Teaches Canoe Paddling Technique:...

Here's part two of our canoe paddling technique video with elite paddler and championship coach John Puakea. In this video, Johnny continues...

supzero added a video. 2 days ago

SUP Surfing in Sumatra

Wes Fry, Scotty Con Iballa and Shakira score epic waves in Sumatra.

RaftingLife added a video. 3 days ago

Scary Pin on the Ucona River

Paddling friend has a scary pin on the Ucona river. He was luckily able to extrate himself from the river.

paul.robertson added a video. 3 days ago

Paddle Against Plastic: Land's End to John o'...

We met up with Cal Major on day 18 of her Land's End to John o' Groats SUP expedition for a quick paddle and a catch up to share what the trip is...

See the AUP for our Acceptable Use Policy and a Privacy Statement. Verein Playak is responsible for all editorial content on this site (including all graphics). No part of this site may be duplicated in any way without explicit permission from Verein Playak. Verein Playak takes great care to only publish original content, but since part of the content is user generated, we cannot always guarantee this 100%. If you notice any copyright violations, please let the editors know through the contact form and they will take appropriate action immediately. As a news and information platform, we republish small text snippets and thumbnail images, but always link to original content on other sites, and thus aim to adhere to a 'Fair Use' policy. If you believe we violate this policy in any particular case, please contact us directly and we'll take appropriate action immediately.