Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Kokatat Paddling Apparel Under New Ownership

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2021 at 12:33 PM

click to enlarge Kokatat paddle gear - PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL COLLIN
  • Photo courtesy of Michael Collin
  • Kokatat paddle gear
After 50 years of owning Kokatat, Steve O'Meara has sold the Arcata-based
paddling sports apparel and gear company to its Director of Operations Mark Loughmiller.

“Before joining Kokatat, Mark was a local businessman and I’m pleased to be entrusting the company that means so much to me and our employees into his hands,” said O’Meara in a press release.

O'Meara founded Kokatat, then Blue Puma, in 1971 as a way to help people stay dry while traversing Humboldt County's trails and waterways.

According to the company's release, Loughmiller will become the new CEO and O’Meara will retain a minor stake in the company.

“Kokatat is not only a cornerstone brand in paddlesports, but also in our community,” said Loughmiller. “Steve has created an amazing brand that will forever be tied to Arcata and we look forward to building on this foundation for another 50 years and beyond.”

Read the full press release below.
Kokatat announces new ownership

ARCATA, CA (July 28, 2021) – After 50 years under the direction and ownership of its founder, Steve O’Meara, Kokatat has been purchased by the company’s Director of Operations Mark Loughmiller.

“Before joining Kokatat Mark was a local businessman and I’m pleased to be entrusting the company that means so much to me and our employees into his hands,” said O’Meara.

Loughmiller joined Kokatat in 2013 after 12 years as the Executive Director of Arcata Community Recycling Center.

“Kokatat is not only a cornerstone brand in paddlesports, but also in our community,” said Loughmiller. “Steve has created an amazing brand that will forever be tied to Arcata and we look forward to building on this foundation for another 50 years and beyond.”

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Kokatat. O’Meara started Kokatat, then Blue Puma, in 1971 purely as a way to help get people out on the trails and waterways of Humboldt County. On one fateful day he was approached by some friends to see if he would build them some better paddling apparel for an expedition they were planning on the Alsek River in British Columbia.  Today, Kokatat is recognized as a global leader in performance paddle sports apparel and gear.

Following the purchase, Loughmiller will become the company’s CEO and O’Meara will retain a minor stake in the company.“Before joining Kokatat Mark was a local businessman and I’m pleased to be entrusting the company that means so much to me and our employees into his hands,” said O’Meara.


Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About Kokatat Inc.
Kokatat has been manufacturing paddling gear in Arcata, California for 50 years. At a time when many technical apparel brands were moving manufacturing offshore, Kokatat continued to invest in infrastructure in the United States. Kokatat founder Steve O’Meara was committed to the development of the finest and driest paddling apparel in the world and recognized the need to control and continually evolve the development of our dry wear. In the early days, Kokatat worked closely with W.L. Gore & Associates, makers of GORE-TEX®, to refine the sewing and sealing techniques required for full immersion suits and tops. Today, our hands-on approach to manufacturing continues to set the standard in paddling apparel. Into the water with Kokatat! Learn more at kokatat.com.

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Iridian Casarez

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Iridian Casarez is a staff writer at the North Coast Journal.

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