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 Athletes

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 Athletes

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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Avoid UV & Seek Shade Expert Rx

Are gel manicures Safe?

Going to the nail salon seems like a harmless act; however, dermatologists are concerned that the newest nail trend, gel manicures, and the UV machines used during the process may contribute to skin cancer and hand aging.

The process of a gel manicure includes placing your hands in a machine that emits UVA for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. UVA rays are proven to contribute to skin aging and skin cancer. According to a segment that aired this morning on the Today Show, most customers receive a gel manicure twice a month on average. In the short-term gel manicures prevent nails from splitting and look great. In the long run, dermatologists say regular customers may be looking at aged hands and possible skin cancers down the road unless customers take skin protection measures.

Here are a few precautions you can take before heading to the salon to protect your hands and skin as much as possible:

Coolibar UPF 50+ Fingerless Gloves block 98% of UVA and UVB rays

1. Wear UV protective gloves:  Wearing UPF 50+ fingerless gloves can protect your hands from over-exposure to UV light.  Regular cotton gloves may still allow UV to reach the skin. If you opt to make your own fingerless gloves without UV protective material, use sunscreen underneath.

2. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to exposed fingertips: Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Have the nail artist apply sunscreen to your hands instead of lotion. Bring along a tube of sunscreen that contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Both ingredients provide physical UV protection that blocks UV instantly, unlike chemical sunscreens that are absorbed by the skin and can take up to 30 minutes to protect.

3. Routinely check skin for changes around and under your nail beds: Skin cancer is preventable in many cases, and when caught early, it is highly treatable. If you spot something unusual, seek advice from a dermatologist.

Watch “Nail safety: Do’s and don’ts of gel manicures”.

Shop for Coolibar Fingerless Gloves

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What our customers say

Hawaii the SunAWARE way

Coolibar customers are very passionate about sun protection and leading healthy, sunny lives.  Customer Scott and his wife Kara fit this description perfectly. After winning the 2012 Coolibar Hawaii Sweepstakes, Scott and Kara shared with us that they were already avid promoters of protecting skin, especially during vacations. We asked the couple to share their story of why sun protection is important to them and how it can make vacationing even better!

From Scott:

Growing up with red hair and a fair complexion was not easy in the 70’s.  Sunscreen was not a priority and the medical community did not fully understand the dangers of the sun.  Unfortunately I had some significant sunburns as a kid and have paid the price as an adult with two melanoma diagnosis in the past few years.  Fortunately, both of my incidences were caught early, but I am still amazed at how many people (fair skinned or not) still underestimate the dangers of sun exposure. 

My wife started buying Coolibar swim shirts a couple years ago for vacations and time at the pool.  With young kids we spend a lot of time in the water.  I remember the first time I tried on Coolibar clothing thinking, “yes I will definitely wear this!”  The quality of the material, the styling, the cut and fit were perfect, very similar to high quality fitness wear.  In the water, the shirts tighten to the body so you barely even notice that you have them on.

Scott and Kara overlooking Hawaiian waters in their Coolibar

This year Kara was ordering some more clothing from Coolibar for the family trip to the Carolina coast and entered to win the trip to Hawaii.  We were blown away when we won and we so grateful for Coolibar (and our parents) for letting us take a second honeymoon without the kids!  Part of the award was free clothing so we ordered various items and put them to full use.  I was wearing Coolibar the entire trip. 

A few benefits of the Coolibar clothing we noticed were:  1) I only had to apply minimal amounts of sunscreen (face, hands, etc.), which is a nice for someone used to full sunscreen everywhere, not to mention a money saver; 2) The clothing breathes very well, so even in warmer temps I was very comfortable; 3) I am an avid diver and my wife and I both like to snorkel, which we did a ton of in Hawaii.  We used the long sleeve swim shirts and swim tights as lightweight wetsuits.  Even with the cooler temps of the Pacific, I was able to stay in the water for over an hour without getting cold.

Our trip to Hawaii was so memorable not only because of all the exciting excursions we went on, but it also gave Kara and I a chance to reconnect as a married couple without our three wonderful children. I know Kara’s favorite part of the trip was snorkeling with dolphins at the Puuhonua O Honaun reef just south of Kona.  We swam out into 150 feet deep crystal blue water to catch up with a mother and baby dolphin that was performing acrobatics just for us.  My favorite part was diving and snorkeling with the Manta rays off the Big Island. Other unforgettable moments include: paddle-boarding at Waikiki, riding scooters around Oahu to the North Shore to watch surfers tackle 20 foot plus waves, hiking to numerous waterfalls, diving with sharks, playing with a Pacific Octopus in 50 feet of water, and watching humpbacks breach almost the entire time we were there.  Of all of our travels this vacation has to be at the top of the list! And we did it all in Coolibar!

Scott and Kara on beach in Coolibar
Scott and Kara riding in style!
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Expert Rx What's Hot

“Vampire face-lift”: an eerie Hollywood anti-aging trend

After the Academy Awards Sunday evening, local Minneapolis ABC news aired a segment on the “vampire facelift” as certificates for this new Hollywood anti-aging treatment were provided to all Oscar attendees. From the eerie yet romanticized nickname, one might picture their skin looking as flawless as Kristen Stewart (pictured left), who plays vampire Bella in Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

The procedure isn’t surgical, but rather, a patient’s blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge so platelet rich plasma separates and rises to the top.  Then, it’s mixed with filler and injected into the patient’s face.

Doctors performing the procedure hope to stimulate new collagen production. With age, collagen production slows and cell structures weaken, thus skin gets thinner, is easier to damage and skin sags and wrinkles.

The procedure takes half an hour, but downtime lasts up to four days. Some patients opting for the “vampire face-lift” prefer the idea of using their own blood rather than a neurotoxin or synthetic filler.

Introduced in 2009, this system, called Selphyl, is used by approximately 350 physicians and clinics nationwide according to the manufacturer Aesthetic Factors. However, some doctors are hesitant to offer the procedure. Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Jess Prischmann said, “I just don’t think that it’s been time tested,” during her interview with local Minneapolis ABC station. She does not offer the “vampire face-lift” to her patients.

Dr. Phil Haeck, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said in The New York Times, “There are no scientific studies [on the effectiveness], only personal attestations.”  The “vampire face-lift” ranges from about $800 to $2,400 hundred dollars, depending on the patient’s needs and the physician providing the procedure.

If this procedure sounds scary to you, consider the safe anti-aging option – sun protection!   

How do you feel about this anti-aging trend? Let us know on Facebook.

Photo credit:,_2012.jpg

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Chad Grigsby Partner Athletes

Chad Grigsby 2013 Fishing Season Kick-off

For those of you that don’t know me, I am Chad Grigsby and I am a professional angler on the FLW Tour – the PGA circuit of bass fishing. I have had the fortune of competing professionally full time for 11 years. That’s right, I fish for a living. I live in Maple Grove, MN, am married to Bridget and have two daughters – Isabelle, who is now five and Avrey, who is now three.

Well, the 2013 season on the FLW Tour got kick started with a great tournament. I ended up 9th. The goal, of course, is to win every time, but when you are up against the best 150 anglers in the world it is always great to be fishing for 4 days (for those who don’t know about tournament fishing, they cut the field to 20 after day 2 and to 10 after day 4). We couldn’t have asked for better weather down in Clewiston, FL where we took off from to compete on Lake Okeechobee.

Chad Grigsby wearing Coolibar Aqua T-Shirt

After spending the last three months in Minnesota the Long Sleeve Aqua T-Shirt came in very handy to protect my Minnesota skin from the Florida sun! It also looked great on me, hey I am just sayin’. The lake was in excellent condition for flipping, which is the technique I mainly used along with some sight fishing. On the final day it is a requirement for me to wear a short-sleeved jersey, thats where the Long-Sleeved Crewneck Swimshirt did double duty of protecting me from the sun and keeping me cool in the mid-80 temps. The next stop on Tour is Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper, AL March 7-10. Be sure to check out FLW Live! to watch the weigh-in and hopefully watch me all four days!

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Inside Coolibar

AAD SPOT Skin Cancer Initiative: Saving Lives

Exposure to ultraviolet light is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Not only is skin cancer preventable, it is highly treatable when caught early. Because the signs of skin cancer are visible on the surface, you just need to call your doctor when you see something unusual, growing, or changing on your skin. The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent. Yet, sadly, one American dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, almost every hour.

A world without skin cancer is an achievable goal and the American Academy of Dermatology is committed to reducing the incidence of and mortality from skin cancer. By educating the public about how to reduce their risk of skin cancer and how to spot skin cancer, we can help change behaviors and ultimately save lives.

SPOT Skin Cancer™ is a large-scale public awareness campaign is designed to involve the public, the Academy’s membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, other health organizations, media, and for-profit corporations to advance the public’s understanding of skin cancer and motivate them to change their behavior to prevent and detect skin cancer.

Coolibar is teaming up with the AAD SPOT Skin Cancerinitiative to help raise awareness on how to prevent skin cancers as well as raise funds for their programs. As a fundraiser, Coolibar is selling Men’s, Women’s and Children’s UPF 50+ SPOT Skin Cancer™ T-Shirts. Coolibar will donate $10 from every T-Shirt sale to the initiative. Together, we can all work toward preventing skin cancers.

– Coolibar

AAD SPOT Skin Cancer UPF 50+ T-Shirts

Shop AAD SPOT T-Shirts

Information and statistics provided by the American Academy of Dermatology website.

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Inside Coolibar New Products Sun Protection Clothing

Choose the Right Print for You

Coolibar has new prints and colors galore this spring. Choosing a print that complements your facial features can be a daunting task. Our favorite go to stylist, Bridgette Raes, knows all about choosing the right print for your complexion, so we decided to take some advice from her blog.

Bridgette’s Advice:

“When choosing prints, one must consider their own personal coloring to decide just how much bold contrast to wear.

Print Intensity – Combining two colors together in a print creates a contrast between those two colors. For example, if those two colors are extreme opposites (like black and white) you have created a high amount contrast, which gives the print a high level of intensity. If, however, the color combinations found in the print are closer in relationship to each other (a combination of soft pastels, for example) you have created a low amount of contrast between the colors and that combination has a low level of intensity.

Coolibar UPF 50+ clothing: Long Sleeve Swim Shirt, Sun Tunic, Paddle Swim Shirt, ZnO Cabana Hoodie

Just like color combinations in prints have an intensity level, so does your own personal coloring. Intensity levels vary from person to person, and can be high, low, or somewhere in between, which would be referred to as medium. Your own level is determined by the relationship of contrast between your hair, skin and eyes. The model on the right has a lot of contrast between her hair skin and eyes which creates a lot of contrast or an intensity in her coloring. The model on the left has much softer features, with her hair, skin and eyes being closer in color; therefore her intensity level, would be low.

Why does this matter?

When choosing prints, it is important to consider your own personal intensity level as you’ll always look best when your personal intensity matches the intensity in the prints you choose.

When someone with a low level of intensity in their personal coloring wears too much contrast in the color combinations they choose they look drowned out. When a person with a high level of intensity in their coloring chooses a color combination that is too soft or low in contrast, they look washed out.”

Keep these guidelines in mind if you’re unsure of a print choice, but at the end of the day, if you love a print, go for it!

About Bridgette:  Since 2002, Style Expert Bridgette Raes has transformed the wardrobes and styles of hundreds of clients. She is the president of Bridgette Raes Style Group in New York and author of the book Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want. Her witty, down-to-earth and educational advice has made her a sought-after writer, spokesperson and style expert for many media outlets.

Read Bridgette’s original post here: Ann Romney’s Fashion Mistake a Lesson for Us All on How to Choose Prints

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