Liquid Force Acquires StraightLine
Jan. 9, 2008
Liquid Force is announcing that it has acquired the assets of Straight Line from the Yoshida Group. Straight Line has been the #1 manufacturer of quality wakeboard and water ski ropes and handles for twenty one years, and has a strong reputation for quality, innovation, and delivery. In recent years, they have developed the B2 bushing rope fastening system, the LPL quick and easy fill system and the ergonomically designed carbon wake handle which has kept them on top of the market. However, with many of the wakeboard brands, Liquid Force included, launching their own rope and handle lines, it has made it difficult for Straight Line to grow the past few seasons. This is why the acquisition makes so much sense.
Liquid Force Founder, Tony Finn states, “ We have always looked up to Straight Line as being the best at what they do, and we are very excited at the opportunities that this brand brings us. Straight Line is the #1 brand in ropes and we are the #1 brand in wakeboards. Our distribution is very similar as we both focus on the high end market, so the synergies that both brands will get will be dramatic. Together, we will be able to provide the water sports enthusiast more unique and dynamic products so that everyone will have more fun on the water, which is always our main goal.”
The three main people at Straight Line will stay at the new company. Darrin Evans has been there for twenty years and will remain on as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. SL veteran Jim Smaaladen will remain as sales manager and Jeff Wheeler will continue his duties in the R and D and marketing realm.
Says Finn, “When we started looking at Straight Line, we quickly realized that one of the main reasons for SL’s success, was these three guys. They have a tremendous amount of experience, and are passionate about what they do. Moving forward, we will combine their expertise and enthusiasm with our marketing, sales representation, and solid worldwide distribution to create more and better products, improve customer service, and increase brand penetration worldwide”
Darrin Evans says “I’ve been with Straight Line for twenty years and feel like this is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for. Straight Line’s focus has never been about being the biggest but it’s always been about being the best and we’re in this position because of the passion behind the products that are brought to the market. Being teamed up w/ Liquid Force now gives us the tools that Straight Line has needed and we couldn’t be more excited to be paired up w/ the #1 brand that’s surrounded itself with great people with the same passion we have about their products.”
Jim Smaaladen adds “In the last fourteen years, I have seen and been involved in many changes with Straight Line and I can honestly say that this is the most exciting change! Being partnered with the crew at Liquid Force will open many doors and allow us to continue bringing the most innovative and exciting products to the market.”
Jeff Wheeler continues “Partnering up with Liquid Force is going to be awesome. They have remained at the top because of their leadership in R&D, marketing and distribution. This support will only help build on the already solid foundation of the Straight Line brand. I’m excited about all the new opportunities that this partnership will open up for both companies.”
Straight Line will be moving into new offices near their homes in the Vancouver, WA area where they will also have a showroom. The Customer Service will be handled at the Liquid Force offices in Encinitas, and the product will be shipped out of the LF warehouse in Redmond. Besides ropes and Handles, SL also has the highly successful Launch Pad Ballast Weighting Systems and a resurgent inflatable line that continues to expand. Both of these categories will be strengthened in the coming months.
The Combination of Liquid Force and Straightline will be a powerful force in the marketplace for years to come!!!!!