Monday, November 9, 2009

5 Questions About project BLUE

1. What is project BLUE?

It's not a charity. It's a plan of action.

project BLUE is an initiative by seven of the leading and competitive brands in surfing, who have come together to develop a co-branded, limited edition product line where a part of the proceeds go to the non-profit Surfrider Foundation. The goal of project BLUE is to give surfers and beach lovers an easy way to plug into Surfrider’s mission to protect to the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches.

2. Who is involved in project BLUE? Why is project BLUE unique?

The brands involved in project BLUE are a who’s who of surf. Billabong, DAKINE, Electric Visual, Famous Wax, Nixon, O’Neill, and Reef are the current partners.

To those with just a cursory knowledge of the surf industry, O’Neill and Billabong are obvious competitors. However, many of the project BLUE brands make bags (thus competing with DAKINE), Billabong owns a sunglass brand that competes directly with Electric, DAKINE makes traction pads that compete with Famous Wax’s pads...the list goes on.

3. What products are in the project BLUE lineup?

The products in project BLUE change regularly with each brand’s selling season, but the following is a brief overview of what each brand is contributing.

Billabong: The boardshorts for men and women, made from Billabong’s Eco-Supreme Suede fabric. Comprised entirely of recycled plastic bottles, Eco-Supreme Suede is responsible for diverting more than three million plastic bottles from landfills. Also in the lineup is the Platinum B9 wetsuit, featuring a shell made from 90 percent recycled materials.

DAKINE: The Recon (men’s) and Oceana (women’s) backpacks. Made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, each features and each featuring a seam sealed wetsuit pocket, insulated cooler pocket and other organizer sections.

Electric: All of Electric’s polarized sunglasses will fall under the project BLUE initiative in 2009. They’ll be shipped in packaging made from recycled materials with printing that uses soy based inks.

Famous Wax: Famous’ Green Label surf wax, which is petro-chemical free, along with professional surfer Timmy Curran’s Eco-Timmy traction pad, made from 40 percent recycled foam.

O’Neill: Each season O’Neill releases a collection of t-shirts and/or fleece for men and women, made from organic cotton and printed using soy based inks.

Reef: The Redemption Fanning sandal for men (made from recycled car tires, among other eco-friendly materials and feature a bottle opener integrated into the sole). The NWS sandal debuted in August and features an innovative construction that minimizes waste in the production process, in addition to using recycled materials.

Nixon: Four different watches, for men and women, with innovative features such as tide charts/ranges, in addition to unique crown placements ideal for athletic use.

I had the opportunity to test out one of the women’s watches by Nixon over the weekend, the Small Channel T for project BLUE. The watch has a limited-edition blue color and is Swiss made with a five-hand design with tide, moon phase, tidal range, and seconds sub-dials. There are quick adjusting buttons designed for easy setting of tide and moon phases and the watch is waterproof to 100 meters. The watch hands also glow in the dark.

Setting the tide and moon phase hands is stated simply in the directions that are included and quite simple to do. In addition to the easy-to-read format of the directions they have a silly sense of humor. At any rate, I set the tide on Friday night and it kept up with what the tide charts said for Saturday and Sunday. I was in the water both days during the morning high tide so I know it worked right. (The tide didn’t flatten out the waves for me completely, fortunately!)

The feature that is touted the most about this watch is that the dial placement on the crown is intended to stay out of your way during athletic activities and not dig into your wrist. I was quite interested in this feature, being a lefty. It had never occurred to me that this would happen as it hadn’t happened in the past for me. The moral of the story and lesson learned – wear this on your left wrist and it won’t dig into your hand when you surf.

Overall, I really like this watch and plan to use it regularly.

4. Who is behind project BLUE?

project BLUE was developed by Vipe Desai, a member of the Surfrider Foundation’s national board of directors and the director of marketing for Monster Energy. The goal of project BLUE isn’t to encourage consumerism, but rather, to help consumers support a charity that’s important to them in a fairly easy manner. Vipe believes philanthropy is a mature subject and organizing charity fundraisers or otherwise soliciting donations is a difficult task for many to participate in. project BLUE gives beach lovers an easy way to plug into Surfrider next time they find themselves in need of a new backpack or t-shirt.

5. Where can I find out more about project BLUE?

Current products, promotions and news updates are regularly posted to the project BLUE website and through the site’s presences on various social networks such as Twitter, Social Vibe, MySpace and Facebook.

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