Jan 21, 2022 - Business

Walton-owned investment firm makes a bet on kayaks

A man fishes from a kayak on a river. '
Courtesy of Eddyline Kayaks

Steuart and Tom Walton are in hot water — water brimming with kayaks, that is.

What's happening: Eddyline Kayaks of Burlington, Washington, raised an undisclosed minority equity investment from RZC Investments, owned by the brothers.

  • Eddyline will use the money to grow production and expand sales in the Southeast.
  • RZC's Don Huffner will have a seat on Eddyline's board of directors.

Why it matters: Kayaking is trendy. U.S. participation in various forms of the sport has grown from about 7 million in 2006 to nearly 18 million in 2020.

  • One estimate valued the U.S. paddle sports industry at $172 million in 2020.
  • And the investment is an example of NWA's business community continuing to leverage all things outdoors.

Background: Founded in 1971, Eddyline's product line includes touring, fishing, and sit-on-top models, which retail from about $1,800 to about $3,500.

What to watch: Eddyline plans to open an NWA office for distribution and dealer support. CEO Scott Holley told Axios the plan is for the office to be opened in 2022 or early 2023.

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