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The Sun, Heat and Skin Cancer: Is Tennis Too Dangerous?

On days like this past Thursday in Melbourne, the answer is yes. That day, all matches in the Australian Open – the opening grand slam event in pro tennis each year – were suspended because of heat that climbed to 110 degrees F (40+ C).

That’s not sustainable for players or fans; if you happen to be either one, you know that tennis requires you to be out in the sun for hours at a time. But when it isn’t so hot, a larger and less obvious danger remains: how are people protecting themselves from UVA and UVB rays that can cause skin cancer?

In Australia – which as a nation has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world – this isn’t an unusual question. At this year’s Australian Open, officials have passed out sunscreen to fans and stocked it in the locker rooms. And well-known professional tennis players like John Newcombe of Australia and Felix Mantilla of Spain have had very public battles with skin cancer after their playing days were over.

Yet many tennis pros today say they don’t like to wear sunscreen. They cite the same reasons you might as a casual player (or a fan):  sunscreen is too slippery; it can feel like it’s blocking the body’s natural cooling process; it gets in your eyes.

Other players, like Australian former world No. 1 player Patrick Rafter (who played a doubles match in this year’s tournament), make it clear that sunscreen is a must. But what else can be done?

Patrick Rafter and Novak Djokovic at Australian Open Tennis champion Novak Djokovic posted this on Twitter from the Australian Open.

A great option that can no longer be overlooked is wearable sun protection.

In 2000, former tennis pro Chris Evert explained to a tennis magazine that her eyes had been permanently damaged by UV rays. Now, UV protective sunglasses and even contact lenses are available for players and fans.

But there’s much more available than that. In the same article, Evert mentioned that players had only recently begun wearing hats while playing. Now there’s a whole range of UPF 50+ sun protective hats in a variety of styles, with features like wide brims, breathable and quick-drying fabrics and removable neck drapes.

In fact, tennis players can now outfit themselves with entire ensembles – complete sun protection from head to foot. This is partly because of increased awareness about the dangers  of UVA and UVB rays, and partly because fashion has finally caught up with function.

Is tennis too dangerous? Even if you’re not playing in a prestigious professional tournament watched the world over, the answer should always be a resounding “no.”

Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!

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Coolibar Athletes

Sun Gaiter: One Item for Covering It All

Coolibar Athlete Chad Hannon completes endurance events of all kinds, his favorite being adventure races. Chad wishes to share his thoughts on his favorite adventure racing companion – the Coolibar Sun Gaiter.

In adventure racing, this little item (Sun Gaiter) is known as a buff, or a multi-scarf. It is one of the most versatile and essential items a racer can own. Whether I am running, hiking, biking or kayaking you’ll find this piece of equipment either in my pack, on my head, around my neck, or over my face.

The Coolibar website shows this as a neck gaiter. That simply does not do it justice. It can be worn on your head to protect it from the sun, soak up sweat, cushion a helmet, keep you warm, or any combination of that. It can be worn around your neck to keep the sun off your neck. It can be put over your face when it gets cold to instantly warm you up, and/or keep the dust of a road out of your lungs. I even grabbed two of these and put them on my legs to keep the sun off my thighs as I biked a long stretch in shorts. Additionally, it weighs almost nothing. So little in fact that I shove two in my pack before heading out on any adventure or training.

One of the best ways to keep the cold off when you get chilly is to pull one of these over your face. This little piece of gear can warm you up in a big way. On the other side, one of the best ways to cool down is to get wet cloth on your head or around your neck. Guess what…same piece of equipment. So imagine a race that starts at 49 degrees at night and ends in 90 degree heat…bingo, perfect gear piece.

If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you know I feel sun protection is cancer protection. Walking around (or doing anything) in the sun unprotected is like smoking a cigarette. It will eventually get you. Something I have not shared in the past is that I recently had to go have a “Spot” on my left temple checked out by my doctor. Scary! It turned out to be nothing, but it makes you think.

Shop for the Coolibar Sun Gaiter and other UPF 50+ Accessories

Coolibar athlete Chad Hannon received free sun protective product for the purpose of this review.

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Partner Athletes Sevve Stember

Why Climbing Matters

Coolibar Athlete Sevve Stember is a natural born climber, always seeking the next mountain to climb. This summer, he and his wife, Andrea, moved from Minnesota to Colorado to pursue new opportunities and climbing routes. Sevve shares why climbing is important to him and journals his favorite moments during his first summer in the Rocky Mountains.

I often ask myself, “Why climbing? Why do I care about it so much? Is it significant?” I am very aware of the priority that I place on climbing in my life, so it’s important for me to grapple with these questions. I’ve distilled my reflection down to these three themes:

1. Human connection
We all seek to belong to something and to be understood. In climbing, I’ve found more like-minded people that I can connect with on many levels than I could’ve ever imagined. The journal entries below are all really special days in my life that I will look back on with fond memories and good times. Despite the obvious individual aspects of climbing, there are many profound implications that climbing has on the people that share it together. Trust, sacrifice, failure, success and frustration…these feelings are shared with my climbing partners through a common love of being outdoors and challenging oneself.

2. The Bigger Picture
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal the body and soul alike.” -John Muir

When working in Yosemite National Park, I used to share this quote with visitors as an eloquent way of getting at the significance wilderness has to a person. There are many different belief systems about how the world came to be. For instance, as a science teacher, I believe the world is very old and has been slowly changing for billions of years. When climbing, I can connect with the many different processes that occurred before I could enjoy its continuous crack system or perfectly sculpted pockets. Being in nature helps humans tap into a state-of-mind that is hard to come by elsewhere, it helps us connect with our beliefs—whatever they might be.

3. Progression, Goals, and Self-betterment
Climbing routes are graded by difficulty, providing climbers with data to see personal improvements. Personal growth is something that drives me in all aspects of my life. The motivation I receive from trying to climb harder routes spills over into other aspects of my life, such as being a better teacher or learning how to be a more supportive husband. This matters because it helps me be a more productive, efficient and passionate member of society.

It was a summer to remember, to say the least. Seeing new sites, sharing beautiful vistas with friends, sleeping under the stars with my wife, and I continue to learn along the way. Although at times I do have doubts about how I spend my time, I know that finding that thing that drives me to new places: good friends, higher goals, are critical to living a fulfilling life.

South Platte

Summer 2013 Climbing Journal: My First Summer in the Front Range

June 11
After a fantastic evening on my aunt and uncle’s back porch in Rapid City, South Dakota, Andrea and I stopped briefly for a couple climbs in Spearfish canyon. We were closing in on the final leg of our move from Minneapolis, MN to Denver, CO. I hung draws on a route called “Wow!” and climbed it on my next try without falling – very gratifying!

June 17
Today I met Matt and Linde, friends of mine from Minnesota, in Boulder, Colorado. We climbed a 4-pitch route (route with four stops) called “Athlete’s Feet”. Towards the top of the route a large thunderstorm rolled in, and we descended just as the first drops hit. Linde met us and we rolled to a different crag (an outcrop of rock) to do some shorter, harder sport climbing routes. Matt is a climber that I looked up to a lot when I lived in Duluth, MN years ago; it was fun to swap leads with him all day and work a route that we both got on our second attempt.

Sevve sending Animal Riots Activist (5.12a) shortly after Matt showed the way

June 28
Eldorado Canyon is known as one of America’s premier climbing destinations. I had never been there before today. Frank, a good friend of a friend, and I climbed the classic “Bastille Crack”. It was great to experience a new piece of American climbing history while getting to know a new friend.

July 4-7
Being the patriotic people we are, my friends Garrison, Dan, Frank, Katie and I headed into the heart of the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming to celebrate the 4th of July with some real cowboys. I’ve driven through Tensleep before, but never had the pleasure of climbing there. It was phenomenal to say the least. I set several benchmark onsights (climbing a route first try without any information) and flashes (first try; but with prior information). The trip was complete when we saw a full on cowboy brawl during the street dance. Wyoming must be the most unchanged state over the past 50 years.

A typical view in Tensleep, Wyoming

July 14-15
My buddy Dommer flew in for the weekend and we headed north towards Estes Park. A good crew of friends were waiting for us upon arrival, and as we waited out an evening storm a double rainbow appeared over the breathtaking view of Longs Peak. The next day, we climbed granite spires and soaked in the sun.

A good crew of goofballs enjoying the double rainbow
Sevve

July 24-25
Rifle is one of the most sought after crags in the American sport climbing scene. My wife Andrea had a week off from her residency duties and we took the chance to go check it out. From the parking lot, the approach was about two minutes. Once the sun hit the side of the canyon we were on, we’d walk two minutes to the other side of the canyon. Such good rock! Although Rifle has a reputation of being super challenging, I was encouraged by how I climbed while visiting. We also tagged the summit of Mount Massive, with a not-so-alpine-start, leaving the parking lot at 11am.

Andrea and Sevve on the summit of Mount Massive, near Leadville, CO

July 31
Summer draws to a close. Our friends Dan, Bron and their son traveled from Minnesota to visit for a couple days. Dan and I had been getting stoked all summer to climb the face of Longs Peak; a feature called The Diamond. In 2007, while living in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, I became familiar with The Diamond. Since that summer, I had always dreamed of climbing it.

We woke up at 1:30 a.m., slammed coffee and jammed to tunes on the five mile drive to the parking lot. Amidst dozens of peak baggers, we quickly ascended the six mile approach to Chasm View and rappelled onto Broadway ledge, which marks the beginning of the routes on the Diamond. Pitch after pitch went by as we kept a watchful eye to the east. We witnessed many thunderstorms roll in, but to our good fortune, they were always several miles away. I got to lead the crux pitch, which is one of the last pitches on the route so the full day’s toils had definitely taken their toll. I meticulously made my way up the finger crack section, followed by a full on chimney that deposited me onto the final crux bulge. With horrendous rope drag, I managed my way through the crux, and belayed Dan up. An hour later we were on the summit and our luck had run out. Sleet started to fall and we opted to make our way down the Keyhole Route instead of rappelling the Cables Route; which I predicted would have some scrambling on exposed (and recently wet) slabs. We made it back to our car feeling exhausted, but so fulfilled. Dan is embarking on a “50 noteworthy climbs by the time he turns 50 years old” adventure and this was his 1st of 50. I met a personal goal and felt really competent in a complex environment. This was a day to remember the rest of my life.

The gratifying sunset on the hike back after climbing The Diamond

Like the shirts Sevve is wearing in the photos? Shop Coolibar UPF 50+ Short Sleeve Fitness Shirt and Long Sleeve Fitness Shirt

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SunAWARE

The Sunny Side of UV, Solar Powered Vehicles

After two years of student collaboration, the University of Michigan Solar Team is off to Australia to compete in the 2013 World Solar Challenge, the largest solar electric vehicle event in the world. Forty-three teams from across the globe will race approximately 1864 miles from Darwin to Adelaide almost solely relying on the power of the sun.

The U of M Solar Car Team is a student-run organization that designs and builds solar electric vehicles, taking about two years to do so. The Solar Team, comprised of 20 students, will now take the next month to rigorously test their car Generation 2013, adjusting to the energy of the Australian sun. Then October 6 – 13, their commitment and technology will be tested as they race their car across the continent.

U of M Student and Project Manager Eric Hausman is traveling with the team across the globe to ensure the team adapts to the environment. “We are constantly in the sun, or at least hopefully or the car won’t be doing so great!” said Hausman. “But we also want to protect our team members from the sun.” Hausman contacted Coolibar sun protective clothing after receiving a UPF shirt for Christmas and testing it out. Coolibar sent the team UPF 50+ sun protective caps for their days of testing in the harsh Australian outback.

Sun protection is important everywhere, but even more essential in Australia where skin cancer is considered an epidemic. “The Solar Team loves [the hats] and they will provide great protection in Australia,” said Hausman.

University of Michigan Solar Team in Coolibar Hats University of Michigan Solar Team in Coolibar Hats

Coolibar wishes the best of luck to the University Michigan Solar Car Team. May Generation 2013 out-shine the competition.

University of Michigan Solar Car Mock Race University of Michigan Solar Car Mock Race

Learn more about the U of M Solar Car Team: umsolar.com
Learn more about Coolibar Sun Protection You Wear: coolibar.com

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Coolibar Athletes Wellness Warriors

Athlete for change: Paul Ridley

In 2010, Paul Ridley completed his 3000 mile row across the Atlantic Ocean, solo, protected by Coolibar all the way. Why would one endure the pain that comes from 87 days of rowing 12 to 14 hours every day? To raise awareness and research funds for skin cancer.

Our former athlete for a change is still at it, and he’s now teamed up with Advil to talk about pushing through the pain to reach his goal of helping those dealing with skin cancer.

Watch his video, and you may even be inspired to volunteer your resources to a worthy cause.

Read the story about Paul’s Row for Hope.

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What's Hot

Summer Nostalgia Album

It was the summer of ____. What fond memories long summer days bring. We’ve changed so much, but our love for summer remains the same.

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Wear Sun Protection Wellness Warriors

Sailing with Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey

Meet Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey. An Explorer for National Geographic, Dr. Lindsey is a native Hawaiian and the first Polynesian Explorer and female Fellow in the history of the National Geographic Society. She is an internationally recognized expert in the emergent field of cultural intelligence — and she chooses Coolibar for her sun protection needs.

“In late June I boarded a deep-sea voyaging canoe in Vanuatu to set sail for the Solomon Islands. The 16-member crew and I hoped to make the journey in under a week.  But like Life, things don’t always go as planned. In this case, we lost our wind for almost three days and slowly slipped into Honiara Harbor after 10 days at sea.

It would be easy to romanticize a languid voyage across the South Pacific on a 74-foot double-hulled canoe. But the truth was that we bobbed like a cork on the ocean for days with few places to escape the sweltering heat and unrelenting blaze of the sun.

Dr. Lindsey's Solomon Island Voyage Dr. Lindsey’s Solomon Island Voyage

This is where Coolibar proved invaluable!

As an Explorer for the National Geographic, I’m often in remote regions of the world. Preparation for my travels can at times feel overwhelming. From malaria to sea sickness, food poisoning to snake bites…   I do my best to cover my bases but it’s not easy. When it comes to UV protection, however, I no longer worry about how to prepare. Coolibar has made this part of my life a breeze…no pun intended.

Before I discovered Coolibar I spent an inordinate amount of time searching the internet for products that would provide the best possible sun protection. The fact that Coolibar also creates beautiful clothing is an added bonus.

My travel is extreme, I know. Yet, it affords me the opportunity to test-drive what’s on the market. And, believe me, I put a lot of products to the test! I need to know what works then I count on them completely. And because my travel is precise, I don’t have a spare ounce to pack anything but the best.   

Coolibar’s long sleeve shirts, jackets, hat, and long pants proved indispensible.

My skin and I thank you for creating such amazing products!”

National Geographic Explorer Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey National Geographic Explorer Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Dr. Lindsey’s website to learn more about her adventures and projects.

 

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Wellness Warriors

A Man Fascinated by the Desert and Extreme Heat

Ripley Davenport, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, is a dedicated explorer and adventurer of desert regions. His curiosity and awe of the desert environment has led him to discover the wonders that the desert has to offer. By crossing the desert on foot Ripley has become very intimate with the landscape and the crucial preparation needed to survive.

Mr. Davenport is about to embark on a Death Valley Man Haul. Lucky for him, he has had on-foot experience crossing desolate and arid deserts. Recently in 2010 he man-hauled his way across the Manchurian Steppe and Gobi desert covering a little over 1000 miles and again in 2011 he walked another 1000 miles, leading an International team with 12 Bactrian camels, from West to East across a section of the Altai Mountains and Gobi desert.

His intent in Death Valley is to be completely self sufficient and entirely on foot throughout the 153 mile route from North to South through the Valley itself by manhauling a specially fabricated wheeled desert trailer, which will carry minimal water and provisions that weighs approximately 441 pounds across Death Valley, which consists of sand dunes, jagged mountains, salt-pans, washes and canyons. Read more about Ripley’s Death Valley Man Haul.

man haul desert trailer - photo courtesy of Emmanuel Berthier

Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in North America with the highest reliably reported temperature in the Western Hemisphere at 134 degrees F. The average daily temperature is 114.7 degrees F.

Extreme temperatures, dry conditions and sparse vegetation will push ones mental, physical and physiological limitations, therefore, strategic preparation is essential for a successful trek. Mr. Davenport says, “I travel very light and take minimal gear. There’s no point in taking anything that you are not going to use. If you have to question why you should take something, you shouldn’t take it at all.”

Ripley needs sun protection he can rely on while in Death Valley. His gear list includes the Coolibar sun gaiter, full finger gloves, ultra sport hat and face sun shield to keep him safe from UV. We will be checking in with Ripley throughout his man haul. Stay tuned for more on Ripley Davenport and his wild desert- loving adventures.

 See Coolibar’s UPF 50+ gear for Ultimate Sun Protection.

Ripley Davenport - photo courtesy of Emmanuel Berthier
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SunAWARE Wellness Warriors

Coach Karl Dunbar Talks NFL Training Camp

With only a few weeks of summer left, the NFL Training Camps are kicking into gear this Thursday, July 26, 2012. Karl Dunbar, defensive line coach for the New York Jets (former DL coach for the Minnesota Vikings) talks about how he’s preparing for the weeks ahead and what he loves most about training camp.

1. How would you best describe training camp from a coaching perspective?

The best way to describe training camp for a coach that goes off to camp is “sanctuary”. It’s a time to get away and focus just on football!

2. What are you most looking forward to this training season?

The thing I’m looking forward to the most is getting to Cortland, NY and getting to know my new guys! With the limited days of OTA’s and MiniCamps, it’s hard to really see them in physical action. This will be the time!

3. How long do players train each day during training camp?

The players only get four hours on the field, but the meeting time is limitless. That is why I love going to camp. They have nowhere else to go, they are all yours!  🙂

4. Is it mostly outdoors?

I think most practices will be outdoors if weather permits. It’s that time of year you need to be outside and it helps because we play outdoors alone with Miami, New England and Buffalo.

5. How do players protect themselves from the elements (heat and sun)?

The trainers do a great job of keeping the players hydrated, and we feed them well so they keep their weight up. We do let them get their rest too. Being away at camp helps limit the players access to outside sources (family, friends and curfew keeps them off their feet).

6. What is your role in guiding players during training camp?

My role as a “Coach” is to get these guys ready to play at a high level. I have to teach them proper technique and make sure they learn our playbook so they know what to do. It’s fun because I’ve played the position at this level, and I can relate to what most of them are going through.

7. How do you protect yourself from the sun during training camp?

Over the years, I’ve protected myself from the sun with sweatshirts and sunscreen. Now that I have Coolibar gear, I will be using that to protect my skin from the sun along with sunscreen! Lightweight Coolibar clothing is just what the doctor ordered. It protects me from the sun and keeps me cool in the process.
 

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Chad Grigsby Coolibar Athletes

Fishing Season Update from Coolibar Athlete Chad Grigsby

For those of you that don’t know me, and am I sure there are a few, 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 10 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 4 and Avrey who is 2.

This year the season kicked off in January on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, FL. Okeechobee is one of my favorite lakes, as I tend to do well competitively there; however, this year wasn’t my best performance- I finished 58 out of 164- but I am excited to go back and won’t complain about being in the Florida sun in January. (Photo: Me in a Coolibar long sleeve protecting me from the Florida sun during practice).

Next I was off to Lake Hartwell in Columbia, SC where I struggled again and finished 120…on to Table Rock in Branson, MO where I finally cracked the top 50! (Photo: Me with my largest bass from Table Rock before weigh in with Isabelle, Coolibar shirt underneath the jersey – amazing that the long sleeves keep you cool and dry when fishing all day in 85 degree weather).

 

After Table Rock, I was able to head to Scottsdale, AZ with my family, where we celebrated Easter and had fun in the sun! (Photo: My daughter Isabelle after her Easter Egg Hunt wearing a kids Coolibar zip up to protect her Irish skin from the sun rays!)

Next up Beaver Lake in Rogers, AR, which is also a favorite of mine for a couple of reasons. I tend to do well there and that is where I met my wife (I am originally from Michigan- Go Big Blue!).

Well, I will check in again after Beaver, hopefully with a great story of my fantastic performance.

Stay cool. Chad

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