Partner Athletes Sevve Stember

Coolibar Athlete Sevve Stember: Climbing Expert

I started climbing shortly after I could walk, although I don’t remember much of it. My mom would turn her head for a brief moment while we ate breakfast in the house that doubled as my dad’s chiropractic clinic at our home in Minnesota. Before she knew it, I would mantel my way onto the kitchen table. Climbing was in my blood.

One of the first climbs I did outdoors is burned into my memory as one of those moments that changes your life forever. As I climbed Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies at Shovel Point above the Great Lake Superior, I didn’t know it, but a whole new world had opened up to me – the vertical one. From that day onward, I would surround myself with climbing.

I learned from anyone I could and got on the rock as often as college would allow. The next three years would be a steady crescendo leading to an international expedition that was funded, in part, by a grant from the American Alpine Club to establish first ascents in Valle de Cochamo of the Andes Mountains.
After a successful expedition in Chile, where we established many new routes, some over 1000 feet tall, and climbed an unclimbed peak, I set my sights a little closer to home: Yosemite National Park. There I established an 800-foot aesthetic route on a granite point in Yosemite’s Wilderness.

Sevve Stember climbing Mr. Lean (5.11d) on the sea cliffs of Palisade Head in north eastern Minnesota

Since moving back to Minnesota, I have been focused on climbing shorter, harder routes. In this new endeavor, I have been successful in transforming myself as a climber and have developed a broader skill set. I’ve also learned to be ok with “failure” and think of it more so as a learning opportunity.

Climbing is inspiring to me because in order to improve at it, you must be really honest with yourself about your weaknesses. I love the mental side of climbing, the amazing places it takes me to, and the lessons that I learn from it that are often applicable in other aspects of my life. I care about sun protection because in order to do what I love outside, I must protect myself from the sun’s intense rays. Another reason skin care matters to me is because skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, so clearly as a society we need to work on prevention.

Outside of climbing, I am a science teacher, which is a really fantastic subject matter to teach because kids have a genuine interest in it. One of the best parts of my job is that I can use my strong connection with the natural world to inspire young minds. My wife and I also enjoy traveling, drinking coffee, cross-country skiing, and talking about the Norwegian Elk Hound that we hope to own soon.

– Sevve Stember

Andrea and Sevve Stember Andrea and Sevve Stember enjoy a bluebird day after completing the Buena Vista Snowjourn 12km freestyle ski race, just north of Bemidji, MN. Both stood on the podium; Sevve placed 2nd overall and Andrea won the women’s division.
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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athlete Carol Philips: Women’s Pioneer of Surfing

I grew up in Hawaii on the North Shore of Oahu and have been surfing and bodyboarding every day since 1984. I started surfing because I fell in love with the ocean at an early age. It keeps me healthy and makes me feel free.

I was the first women to ever compete at the Pipeline and started the first ever women’s contest there back in 1990. I have for the past seven years run and own a surf school called the North Shore Surf Girls and live in the town of Haleiwa. I had a small role in the movie “Blue Crush” and modeled my surf school after the one in the movie. My favorite part of teaching surfing is teaching young children and people with special needs.

I’m of Irish descent and work in the sun daily for 6 hours at a time. I have always paid a lot of attention to protecting my skin from the sun as it’s important to me. Surfing is an amazing sport the only drawback is sun exposure, which is why I love Coolibar products.

Carol Philips

Carol Philips Surf School

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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athlete Ally Loisel-Murray: Long-Distance Runner on a Mission

On April 22nd, I am running from Galveston, Texas to my hometown in Minnesota. My mission is prevention and Coolibar is helping to expand my awareness of leading a healthy lifestyle!

In 2008, I had a life threatening car accident, prior to my qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.  As a result, I suffered two strokes and three traumatic brain injuries. In addition, I trisected my left carotid artery. Born without a right carotid, I was left with a 5 percent chance of survival. After my experimental stent placement surgery, I was told I had a week, and then a month, then two months. Recently I had my fourth “new” birthday (October 10, 2012).

Every couple of months, I hear about people whose stents are rejected or recalled due to other complications. Just recently, I learned there is now a relationship between brain injury and brain cancer. I realized I needed help to raise awareness on so many levels, so I planned my approximately 1,200 mile run from Texas to Minnesota.

Besides being a marathoner, I was a commercial pilot. Currently, I am a wife to a husband, who thankfully,  is patient with my crazy life. We are a busy household of four as we have two amazing sled dogs. One raced a 350 mile Iditarod through the western states into Alaska. The other is a husky greyhound mix that failed at racing, but we love him anyway.

Ally Murray on Lake Superior in Duluth, MN

I am excited about Coolibar! I wear the Quarter Zip Long Sleeve Shirt and Long Sleeve Fitness Shirt over my winter heavy-duty workout clothes during training. They are flexible, breathable and have great length for both waist and arms, while protecting from the sun’s dangerous UV rays! I love the colors and styles and have received several compliments! Wearing Coolibar clothing brightens my workout and helps me adjust to the spring sun!

If you wish to follow my status once my run starts, visit my blog at

Ally Loisel-Murray

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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athlete Gene Meade: Ultra Runner

My name is Gene Meade and I am a trail and ultra runner from North Carolina. I am also a fitness instructor and Vice President of the North Carolina Road Runners Club. I enjoy being outdoors, and in addition to running ultra races,  I enjoy cycling, hiking and mountain biking. In 2012, I competed in a Marathon, five 50K races, one 100K race, a 212 mile relay race and two 24 hour running events. Now, my 2013 goal is to run two one hundred mile races. I am running my first 100 miler in April.

I first got into running and cycling in the mid 80’s and then took a break in the mid 90’s to raise three daughters. I came back in 2008 and have not stopped since!

Being fair skinned, sun protection is very important to me. I also lost my brother-in-law to melanoma in 2009, which was a huge wake up call. Many of the clients I work with in the gym are focused on their bodies with regard to fitness and nutrition, but pay little attention to sun protection. I am looking to change that!

Gene Meade

Gene Meade Gene Meade
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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athlete Krista Kennedy: Stand Up Paddleboarder

I consider myself a rare fifth generation native of Las Vegas, Nevada. For the past 11 years, I’ve managed apartment communities in and around Las Vegas. As single mom, I love the outdoors and playing in the sun. From an early age, I enjoyed many activities including gymnastics, dance, swimming and hiking the trails at beautiful Red Rock National Park and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. Most recently, I found a passion that combines my love of the sun, water and exercise–stand up paddle boarding or SUP.

I’ve spent most of my life in Las Vegas with the exception of two years in Fort Wainwright Alaska—the Last Great Frontier– and two years in Denver, Colorado. Spending winters in Colorado and Alaska was a major culture shock! It didn’t take long for me to return home to Las Vegas with my daughter Emma, where I could once again enjoy my favorite activities in the warm Las Vegas weather.

In June of 2010, while on vacation at Laguna Beach, I was introduced to SUP. After my first lesson, I knew this was the sport for me. The ability to be on the water and in the sun all while getting a full body workout is everything I love about the outdoors. When I returned home, I started researching to see if there was a location in the area that offered SUP rentals. I was ecstatic to find a business at Lake Las Vegas. ‘Paddle to the Core’ is a short 30 minute drive from the city and they even have small boards perfect for my eight year-old daughter. Now, in the spring and summer (and sometimes in the fall), Emma and I can get out on the water, enjoy the sun and take in the gorgeous views.

Krista Kennedy and her daughter Em Krista Kennedy and her daughter Em

With all of this new fun in the sun, I had a new challenge – how to keep my daughter and myself protected from UV rays. Prior to 2008, I did not have concerns about sun protection. As most people of my generation, being protected in the sun meant putting a little sunscreen on the nose and shoulders. That misperception changed in 2008 when my mother, Brenda, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After watching her battle cancer, undergo multiple surgeries and years of chemotherapy, my views changed. Since cancer is prevalent in my family, my mother insisted that I start being proactive with a healthy lifestyle that included being protected from the sun. And I knew applying sunscreen was not enough.

I made a concerted effort to cover up when going out to SUP. But staying covered on the water has not been easy. Sunscreen helps but for the long amounts of time I am out on and in the water I knew I was putting myself, and my daughter, at risk. Wearing shirts made my mother happy, but were too restrictive for the amount of moving needed to SUP. Also, the cotton fabric gets heavy when wet, feels rough on the skin when moving and doesn’t offer high levels of protection. So this summer, I will be using Coolibar UPF 50+ Swimwear in a lightweight flexible fabric perfect for the active water sport enthusiast.

My goals for 2013 include: 1) to train on the lake to increase energy and stamina needed for dance competitions throughout the year; 2) to compete in a charity run for cancer awareness; 3) to increase my exercise by learning SUP yoga (that is yoga done on a SUP board in the water!). I’m excited to participate as a ‘Coolibar Athlete’ and look forward to pushing myself to meet the challenges I have set for the year while staying protected in the sun!

Krista Kennedy

Krista Mountain Biking in Nevada Krista Mountain Biking in Nevada
Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athlete Chad Hannon: Adventure Racer

Nine years ago while sitting on the couch having a cigarette, I made the decision to change my life. I decided it was time to live life to the fullest. I threw out the cigarettes, and got on my bike. Today, at 41, I am 55 pounds lighter and nine years without a cigarette.  I run endurance events of all kinds. My favorites are Adventure Races.

I am the father of two daughters (Madeline and Lanie), and have been married to my wife Courtney for nearly 13 years now.  We consider ourselves, all of us, to be a very active family.  Madeline in particular has shown a passion to follow me into Adventure Racing, and has begun running and training on a regular basis.  At age 10, she already has more running medals then I ever will have.

We are excited to be sponsored by Coolibar this season. We’re of Irish descent and if there is one thing we Irish are known for – other than drinking prowess – it is sunburns.  We cannot step in the sun without burning.  So, imagine spending an entire 24 hour race in it, or trying to remember to reapply sunscreen on a five hour bike race section.  With all we know today about overexposure and all the tragic stories that I need not repeat here, sun protection is just as obvious as throwing out those cigarettes. 

Chad Hannon

Chad and daughter Madeline Chad and daughter Madeline
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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athlete Sarah Gay: Triathlete

I’m your typical working wife and mother of two young children ages 16 months and 3 years.  The outdoors has always been a major part of my life, as have many different sports. 

Throughout childhood, I was a competitive synchronized swimmer and as a teenager competed at the national level.  In high school I played field hockey, as a college student at the University of Arizona, I played lacrosse, and as a young adult I worked as a ski patroller in Lake Tahoe.  My current favorite, though, is triathlon.  I did my first sprint distance tri in 1998 and was hooked from the get-go. 

Even from the start, I had a dream of completing an Ironman at some point which has turned into a goal of completing an IM the summer I turn 40. Today I am training for my first half Ironman distance tri in June 2013. I love triathlon because it combines three of my favorite sports (if you threw skiing in there, too, I’d definitely sign up for that race!) and the feeling I get when I cross the finish line is like no other!  I feel on top of the world, like I can conquer anything. 

Training for this race is motivating me to get back into shape after having kids. I also hope to set a positive example for them by showing them that staying physically fit and having fun outdoors while remaining sun smart is essential and easy. Sun protection is important me because, with one exception (a weakened immune system), I have every single risk factor for melanoma. I am fair skinned, have had more blistering sunburns than I care to admit, am outside any chance I get, have lived in Arizona and at elevation, my mother is a melanoma survivor (yay!!) and greater than 50 moles?  Try greater than 500, or 5000?  I have no idea, there are too many to count!  In an effort to beat the odds that aren’t in my favor, I have no choice but to stay protected from the sun.

Professionally, I work as a pediatric nurse practitioner where education and awareness is part of my every day life.  Granted, in pediatric cardiology sun awareness isn’t always the first thing to be discussed, but when parents ask, and they often do, about how to care for their child’s new surgical scar, sun protection is on the to-do list!  If I can continue to fit in little tidbits of sun protection education at work, at home and in the local triathlon community, then I will have done my part in bringing awareness to an often overlooked, but very common, health problem.

Sarah Gay

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Coolibar Athlete Holly Finley: Disc Golfer

My name is Holly Finley. I’m an international fashion model who has turned professional disc golfer. I started playing disc golf in June of 2011. I played for four short months before moving to Africa for a modeling contract. Unable to play in Africa because of no readily available courses, I planned out my year for the 2012 season. 

Upon returning from Africa, I promptly entered into my first tournament in February and won 1st place.  I then went on a winning spree, playing in 30 events during the 2012 season, taking home 16 first places and touring around the United States as an amateur player.  I turned down cash on multiple occasions to maintain my amateur status in order to compete in the Disc Golf World Championships.  I placed 4th in Advanced Women, besting out 40 of my competitors.  I was also invited to compete in a prestigious event known as the United States Disc Golf Championship.  I was one of four females and placed 27th out of 72 competitors. 

I am outdoors 10 hours a day, seven days a week training and competing. In between disc golfing, I’m running 10+ miles a week, road cycling, swimming, hiking and snowboarding in the winter months.

I am currently working in South Africa at this time and establishing Disc Golf where it is non-existent, in the Cape Town area. I am giving clinics to local schools and existing organizations interested in Flying Disc sports. I’ll be back soon to share more with you.

Holly Finley

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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athlete John Chase: Kayaker

As a kayaker and part time instructor, I spend a lot of time on and in the water teaching entry level kayak skills courses and leading tours as well as paddling for fun.  I am also an avid mountain and road biker, adventure racer, and occasional alpine mountaineer and rock climber.  I’ve summited Mt. Rainier, Longs Peak in winter conditions and summer conditions (with my two daughters), self-organized and led a trip to Mexico’s volcanoes, and competed in over 100 adventure races ranging in length from 4 hours to 8 days.

I am a full-time fitness manager, personal trainer, father of two daughters, and husband. I work hard to set a good example for my girls and to guide them to pursue a life worth telling a story about. I work hard, sometimes too much, but I try to balance time behind a desk with time outdoors. 

Being active has given me many amazing life experiences. I‘ve stood 6 feet from a herd of deer while riding my mountain bike, neither of us wanting to give up the trail. I’ve watched the sunrise alongside my daughters from 11,000 feet above sea level and witnessed the absolute silence of the winter woods after a big snowfall. I’ve watched coyotes, eagles, and hawks when they didn’t realize anyone was watching.  I’ve listened to the laughter of children and the look of amazement as they accomplished goals they never imagined and felt the pride of accomplishment in reaching my own goals.  

Each one of these experiences has helped me be a better person, a better father, added years to my life, put a smile on my face and the faces of others around me.  None of these required any special skills that anyone else couldn’t obtain. They just required a level of commitment and creativity that many aren’t willing to pursue. I’m just an ordinary guy who doesn’t want to live an ordinary life.

My favorite activities place me in the hot sun and protecting myself from the rays is important.  My mother has had several scares with Melanoma, and being an outdoor-loving person, I don’t want to see myself or others have to give up the things they enjoy because they’ve failed to protect themselves properly.  Coolibar’s products provide sun protection while maintaining style and eliminating the “wash off” factor with lotions.

I maintain a blog as a Personal Trainer ( where I post articles on topics to encourage people to lead a healthy life. I have produced over 150 brief You Tube videos demonstrating different exercises. I also maintain a website at devoted to teaching others exercises to improve their paddling abilities. I am a frequent fitness lecturer and am honored to be a speaker at this year’s Canoecopia event on fitness for paddlers.

John Chase

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Coolibar Athlete Ashleigh Baird: Freediver

Born and raised in central Florida, I grew up spending weekends playing on beaches, exploring fresh water springs and sailing around the Florida Keys – all the while spending countless hours studying the natural world.  The underwater realm was my first love and these early experiences helped form a passion for exploration and desire to make a positive impact on the environment. This ultimately lead to my choice to become both a Freediver and an Architect.  Freediving is a form of underwater diving that does not involve the use of scuba gear or other external breathing devices, but rather relies on a diver’s ability to hold his or her breath until resurfacing.

While attending the University of South Florida’s School of Architecture and Community Design, I registered for my first freediving course and have since competed in both local and international competitions.  In addition to recreational freediving, I recently finished the Freediver Instructor certification through Performance Freediving International.

Freediving has opened many doors, providing opportunities to work with major companies like GoPro and SeaDoo, as well as making appearances in Red Bulletin Magazine and ABC’s Nightline.  Encouraged by these opportunities, I am currently exploring the potential impact that freediving in the media can have on environmental conservation and protection.  Believing that by adding the freediver as an element to underwater photography/cinematography, a very positive human presence can be introduced, forming a much deeper and more dynamic relationship between the viewer and media content. 

I am currently training for this year’s upcoming international competition in May. My goals are to reach a depth of 60 meters on one breath, and break the U.S women’s national static apnea record of 6:35.

After going through bottle after bottle of sunscreen during the competition in Grand Cayman, I realized very few products worked as well as my fair skin needed them to. I want to help spread safe sun practices to my fellow athletes as well as improve my own health and safety while training and competing in these events. More to come soon.

Ashleigh Baird

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