Early this week, rumors began to fly that Voodoo Technologies Inc., Riot Kayak’s parent company, had gone bankrupt. Details are sketchy at best, as Riot President Jeff Rivest has yet to release a statement about the current situation, but some are speculating that the Riot brand will live on and continue to manufacture kayaks from their new headquarters in China.
Though Voodoo Technologies has reportedly shut its doors $1.18 million in debt, the fate of the Riot brand remains unknown. Because Riot is technically a sub-brand of Voodoo, the debt is actually that of the now bankrupt Voodoo and not that of Riot or Rivest. This would mean that Riot could technically continue to operate without interruption, given it had the credit to do so. It recently transferred its manufacturing to China, so it’s even in a position to produce kayaks less expensively than it previously was. The plot thickens though.
The Voodoo Technologies parent company was created by Rivest and former Riot partner Corran Addison to compete with Watermark and Confluence during the wave of kayak company buy-ups that occurred a few years ago. The goal was to better position their brands to compete with the new “big players”. The three brands under the new Voodoo parent company were Azul and Sun (both rec/touring kayak brands) and, of course, Riot. Azul and Sun were gradually phased out, leaving Riot as the only brand under the Voodoo parent company (now owned solely by Rivest, as Addison chose to leave five years ago and start his own independent brand, Dragorossi).
Rumor has it that Voodoo recently went bankrupt and Rivest transferred assets owned under the Voodoo name to Riot, so that he can continue to operate. As former Riot owner Corran Addison explains, one possibillity is that Rivest might be shedding the Voodoo shell, along with the bad debt associated with it, and taking Riot to China. “Not knowing what’s going on, that’s one possibility,” says Addison. “But I’m sure that any action he’s taking to save his company is perfectly legal.”