Originally Posted by simplej
I don't understand how this industry can function all under the same conglomerate. The only really active smaller brands are ronix and slingshot
That is not true. Slingshot and Ronix are well known because they've become mainstream successes, but there are a slew of smaller niche brands pushing the market and the sport in new directions.
Don't forget about Rope, Humanoid, Phalanx, Wakeology, J-star/Jobe, and especially CTRL, who seem to be poised for cable domination. There will always be a market for niche brands in action sports, and when these niche brands meet with initial success, they can cross over to the mainstream.
Once a brand achieves the foothold that Slingshot or especially Ronix has, the Kent people can't easily stamp them out like they did to Company. These brands aren't going anywhere and they're only going to get bigger. As long as they exist, Kent brands will have to push themselves to pump out new and improved product.
It's working. Hyperlite, LF, CWB, and O'brien are killing it, and we probably have Ronix and Slingshot to thank for that.