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 Breaking Headlines

Oakley President Trashes The Competitors

FEBRUARY 06, 2006 -- The theme of the fifth Volvo SportsDesign Forum was "Active Safety." Before an audience of hundreds of designers and engineers, Oakley president Colin Baden used his time on stage to systematically trash the products of his company's competitors.

After he was finished, you would be concerned about your safety wearing ski goggle or sunglass from anyone but Oakley. Baden said that his presentation had been approved by company lawyers.

His approach was to bring optical testing equipment on stage and proceed to test his and competitors products. In fact, it's a wonder how some sunglasses make it to market because their optical clarity was terrible. The brands Baden trashed included Uvex, Gucci, Quiksilver, Smith, Nike, Bolle and more.

In addition to clarity, Baden tested some of the sunglasses for their resistance to high impacts. Baden's testing gear sent a metal spike weighing 500 grams and 165 mm long dropping on the rivals' sunglass, which shattered as compared to Oakley's. His assistant used a pellet gun to fire at the glasses. Baden said it was a gun, but it seemed to be a pellet gun. But it sent steel shot at the glasses at 164 kpm. Again, the competition's products shattered.

Baden's test method only showed competitive products he knew would fail. But Baden maintained that Oakley's products consistently beat competitors in the same tests at its labs.

He concluded by saying that Oakley has never lost a patent-infringement lawsuit and the plaintiffs got "their asses kicked by us."

Part of the program was an award program that recognized the safety features of outdoor gear; The panel of judges cited these firms:

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Head Protection: The POC Skull Comp ski helmet. The POC helmet patented ballistic penetration barrier that deliver maximum energy absorption, while providing a light, thin shell. (www.pocski.com)

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Body Protection: Dainese Core Jacket Out. The jacket provides back protection for extreme athletes. It consists of various fabric and plastic layers with weight-reducing integrated protection that aims to work as a second skin. Incidentally, Dainese, whose history comes from motorcycle racing, is working on a air bag that can be worn. (www.dainese.com)

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Foot Protection: Alpinestars Tech 10. The jury was impressed by the boot’s less is more approach. The ski boot’s safety features include a design that minimizes weight in the lower section to reduce fatigue while offering protection; biomechanical internal braces for support; and multi-functional structuring for performance racing. (Www.alpinestars.com)

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Safety & Security Equipment: Mammut Raptor Avalanche Shovel and Pulse Barryvox. Avalanche safety was a major topic at the Forum, and there was a prediction that more features will be introduced into apparel and gear to reduce the time between an avalanche and a rescue. The shovel was designed for such emergencies, and is lightweight and meant to be carried by the backcountry skier or snowboarder. (www.mammutsportsgroup.ch)

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Equipment Protection: TaylorMade r7 Head Cover. It was said to be one of “the most exquisite blends of design and safety ever developed for a golf product. It features a patented magnetically charged closure system, while the shroud protects the club. (www.taylormadegolf.com)

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Human Body Prophylaxis: Patagonia W’s Down Sweater. It is the lightest insulated product for frigid mountaineering. It also features a high-strength outer fabric. (www.patagonia.com)

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Student Concepts: River Travel Systems. It allows you to float on any river and keep your valuables and clothing is a waterproof container. It has a unique sporty appearance. It was designed by student Serge Kaepell.

Volvo SportsDesign Award – Student Concepts II: Johannes Goeggele designed an avalanche tool that measures the inclination of the slope.


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Quick links: One-click access to topics in this article.

Categories
Sporting goods industry
Eyewear
Competitors
Apparel manufacturing
Safety

Companies
Oakley
Gucci NV
Quiksilver Inc.
Nike Inc.
Dainese

Concepts
Student Concepts
pellet gun
Equipment Protection
ballistic penetration barrier
Head Protection

People
Colin Baden
Bolle





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