Confluence Watersports' deal to acquire Whetstone Inc., a manufacturer of carbon finger paddles designed for touring and whitewater, fell apart, barely more than a month after the initial agreement was announced. According to sources at Confluence, the deal had been tentatively approved by William Carpenter, Whetstone's owner, prior to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. However, upon final review by Carpenter's other partners, Whetstone Inc. decided that acquisition would not be in the company's best interests now. Carpenter would tell SNEWS® only that he had the greatest respect for Buff Grubb, a Confluence brand manager, and others on the Confluence team. SNEWS® View: Paddles are one product category that Confluence is missing from its lineup. Whetstone would have not only added the paddles to Confluence's mix, but it would have added Carpenter, and that loss hurts more. Teaming a paddlesport industry veteran such as Carpenter with another talent already in Confluence's pool, Buff Grub, would have added design expertise that would have been quite remarkable. For now though, the two companies will continue on their separate paths -- with Confluence still seeking a fit for the paddle void.