A 38-year testament to wood, willpower, and Wisconsin.
As the world's largest manufacturer of quality canoe and kayak paddles, we remain a privately held company in Northwestern Wisconsin, staffed by paddling enthusiasts. This translates into countless hours spent designing, prototyping, testing, and perfecting each of our paddles. And when that's done, we go back and look at ways to build them even better. Lighter, stiffer, smarter, more durable, and more beautiful. Our customers have found our paddles to be their long-term companions on adventures, both short and long.
Our Core Values
"There is something very special about the Branches team. We relentlessly lean forward and improve process and product, while embracing a respect for people and teamwork."
Enhancing the paddling experience since 1982.
In 1982, whitewater and touring canoeist Dale Kicker and flat-water racer Ron Hultman teamed up to create the first composite tipped canoe paddle. This unique innovation revolutionized the paddle industry and gave birth to Bending Branches. Since that birth, paddles from this Wisconsin company have propelled people to the places and experiences that people dream of. This spirit of adventure continues to drive Bending Branches to enhance your paddling experience.
1982 - Bending Branches is founded by Dale Kicker and Ron Hultman in North Saint Paul, MN.
1984 - Rockgard tip protection invented, prolonging the life of canoe paddles six times longer than those without protection.
1985 - CNC machines introduced to manufacturing process, able to produce identical grips and shafts.
1986 - Moved locations to a 1,600 square foot facility in Minneapolis, MN.
1986 - Introduced first Bending Branches hockey stick.
1994 - Moved operations to new plant in Osceola, Wisconsin.
1997 - First composite kayak paddles were produced. 10,000 sq ft addition built to facility to house new composite kayak line.
2002 - Hired Ed Vater, now President and owner, and Jason Eccles, now Operations Manager. Switched from build-to-inventory to become a lean (build-to-order) manufacturer.
2003 - Discontinued the manufacturing of hockey sticks and turned focus towards paddle sports industry. Kayak paddles quickly outgrew canoe paddle business.
2008 - Acquired #1 competitor, Aqua Bound paddles.
2011 - First company to introduce kayak fishing specific family of paddles.
2011 - Bending Branches wins the Canoe & Kayak Magazine "Accessory Brand of the Year."
2013 - Bending Branches wins “American Made Outdoor Gear Award” (AMOGA) for culture and US-based manufacturing quality.
2013-2018 - The “Angler Pro” is awarded the 6x “Kayak Fishing Paddle of the Year” by consumers on YakAngler.com.
2015 - Revamped of entire canoe paddle offering with latest wood species.
2020 - Navigated the Covid pandemic and market demand, resulting in best sales month in company history.
Today - Continuing to provide world class paddles.