Surftech LLC has agreed to sell a minority stake to Cobra International Co. Ltd, its long-time manufacturing partner in Thailand in a move that will provide it preferred access to one of the worlds largest manufacturers of composite watercraft amidst a boom in stand-up paddling.
The structure and management of Surftech will remain the same, but it will immediately benefit from increased financial and technical support from Cobra. Based in Thailand, Cobra is run by a group of expat watersports enthusiasts, who are focused on the surfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle and kite surfing markets.
Surftech and Cobra began working together in 1990 when Surftech founder Randy French developed Tuflite composite construction with Cobra as his manufacturing partner. Since that time, the two partners have collaborated on several industry leading board technologies including, Softop, Ultraflx, Pro-Elite, TL2, Natural Composite and most recently Quantum Carbon construction.
Cobra has been Surftechs strongest partner and closest ally for more than 20 years, said Surftech CEO Huntley Dornan. This newly deepened strategic partnership will give Surftech the support in product development and production ability to meet the strong demand for our boards we have today and grow into the future. Together, Surftech and Cobra are positioned to advance board building yet another step and to create world class innovative products for another twenty years, just as we have the past twenty.
According to estimates released last week by The Outdoor Foundation, participation in sail boarding/windsurfing grew 8.8 percent to 2.90 million people in the United States from 2010-12, while participation in boardsailing/windsurfing increased 18 percent to 1.59 million The report estimates participation in stand-up paddling has increased 47 percent to 1.54 million during that period.
French, a leading surf and windsurf board shaper, founded Surftech in 1998 to bring Tuflite, a dynamic, durable and lightweight board construction material, from the windsurf industry to surf. Today the company, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, offers a wide variety of high performance surf and stand-up paddle boards to customers worldwide.