By: Tana DeBoer
If you time traveled back to 1997, you would read the morning newspaper and find out that the president was Bill Clinton, buy books on a new internet site called Amazon, go to a movie theater to see Titanic and call your friends with a new gadget called a cell phone. But if you were in lake country, you would also find out that having a blue and yellow “RAVE” anchored at your lakeshore was a shore-stopper.
RAVE Sports didn’t jump on the water sports bandwagon — they invented it! The originator of the inflatable water trampoline and trademark owner of the classic yellow and blue design, RAVE Sports has become the gold standard for innovation, design and quality in the water sports industry. The company started with this classic lake product line 25 years ago and has since expanded across markets, product categories and the globe.
RAVE Sports' Major Milestones:
1997: Named for Radical Alternative Vehicles and Equipment, RAVE Sports begins by introducing their patented Aqua Jump™ water trampoline, which receives national media attention and industry recognition.
2000s: Product innovation continues, including adding Bongo™ Bouncers, Aqua Attachments, boat-towable tubes and pool floats. Some boat tubes include the patented water-spraying RAVE Tail™ that provides added visibility for safety and fun. Product placement in the Cheaper by the Dozen 2 movie creates more media attention and lures celebrity customers.
2009: The company is acquired by Revel Match, owned by Steve Friswold and Bruce Senske, who expand product offerings to include many more boat-towable tubes, stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), water skis and wakeboards, life vests, tow ropes, and other accessories. Product innovation continues by eliminating the steel bar frame from the water trampoline to make it lighter and easier to set up, and renaming it the Aqua Jump Eclipse. They also launch a water park division to provide quality and innovative waterpark tubes and rafts to the world’s leading water parks and water slide manufacturers.
2010: Innovation includes the patented Aqua Buddy water ski and wakeboard trainer, the only training tool for teaching how to water-ski or wakeboard. They introduce Splash Trax inflatable modular obstacle courses for camps and resorts, plus several additional winter sports products are added to round out the seasons of fun.
2012: RAVE Sports acquires AVIVA Sports, which leads to an expanded pool and social float product line as well as commercial Iceberg products.
2013–2018: Continued innovation with release of Lake Cruiser SUPs, Water Whoosh floating mats, and numerous skis, wakeboards, kneeboards and more.
2019: Introduce patented low center gravity (LCG) water park rafts, which revolutionize the industry with a safer ride on extreme water slides, as well as the patented Super Shuttle designed for the parasailing industry.
2020: RAVE Sports is acquired by Escalade Sports, a 100-year-old public company owning a diverse portfolio of 50+ leading sporting goods brands. RAVE Sports maintains its Minnesota headquarters as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Indiana-based parent company. The new Big Easy boat-towable tube is awarded the Water Sports Industry Association’s “Innovative Product of the Year”, a perfect way to celebrate 25 years of making water fun.
From their original inflatable water trampoline to towables to stand up paddle boards and more, RAVE offers you everything you need to enjoy life on the lake. Learn more at ravesports.com.
Read more of our stories in Issue 23 of Lake and Company.