Over fifty years ago, the Kent Sporting Goods Company was founded as a subsidiary of Eagle Rubber Company, a manufacturer of football gear, helmets and uniforms, based in Batesville, Mississippi. In 1959, the company moved to New London, Ohio. Some of the first products to come off the manufacturing line were U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets, golf bags, bowling bags, and outdoor lawn games and accessories.
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In 1981, under new ownership, the KENT brand became a major factor in the Type I kapok commercial vest market and Type II commodity market. About a year later, a small company in Celina, Ohio, with a brand niche in water skis, ropes, and vests, approached KENT and asked them to manufacture their ski vests. This was the beginning of Kent’s quest to be a major player in the water sports, marine, and PFD (personal flotation device) industry. Starting in 2001, the Shareholders of Kent started several corporations that acquired the assets of other popular water sports corporations and their respective brands. Some of these include Connelly, CWB, HO, Hyperlite, O’Brien, Liquid Force, Straight Line and Wakekite, all specializing in a full line of high action recreational water sports products including wakeboards, kneeboards, kiteboards, towable tubes, skis, ropes and life jackets. These products can be found at most specialty shops, pro shops, and big box retailers. In 2009, KENT introduced two other innovative brands to the marketplace under the Absolute Outdoor corporation marketed as Full Throttle and Onyx. Full Throttle is a premium water sports brand featuring life jackets, tubes, wakeboards and kneeboards for today’s active lifestyles. Onyx, is an outdoor recreation brand consisting of rainwear, paddling vests, inflatable PFD’s for fishing and hunting, all designed to keep you outdoors longer. Today, KENT and its’ controlled group of companies offer a multi-brand portfolio of water sports and marine products. These companies and brands offer innovative, well-designed, functional gear for the water sports and outdoor enthusiasts looking to satisfy their active lifestyle and water or outdoor activities.