In the kind of sports I like – surfing, snowboarding, etc. – the guys and girls are cool. They wear clothes with big logos on it and drink energy drinks all day.
Now, how does that combine with my No Logo and healthy lifestyle worldview? For me, these sports are about disconnecting from the world and feeling waves, wind, water and snow. Not by accident do we call them soul sports. What I like the most about them is that they respect (most of the time) the environment. They use natural powers instead of fossil fuel.
On the other hand, if you go down to the beach or up into the mountains you will find out quickly which are the big names in the scene – and I’m not talking about the craziest perfomers – rather I mean the big brands. They are literally everywhere. Marketing and branding are a big business in sports which are referred to as “cool”. That is when soul sports turn into simple consumerism.
Still on the marketing side, we can also find a different actor: the energy drink industry. Over the years they have started to make big business and to invest it into sponsoring sports events. Wait: sports and energy drinks? That does sound rather contradictory. I mean not alone with this impression: “If you love snowboarding or some other healthy activity that defines many decisions in your life, you are likely a choice target-consumer for companies that sell “energy drinks.” Maybe you, like us, started to feel uncomfortable about how effective these companies have become at encouraging young people to consume their product: beverages of caffeine, sodium, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and even some mystery chemicals about which little is known.” These are the words of a couple of young pro-skateboarders who launched Drink Water. That is actually also what it is all about. Those guys write about it: “Drink Water is a friendly reminder to drink water.” If you buy one of their T-shirts or Sweatshirts, 10% will be invested in making drinking water possible for more people. That is what I call cool.
Looking at initiatives like the Surfrider Foundation and many more, I feel happy about the ideals and philosophies which are part of the sports I love. I hope people don’t forget about it because they are too blinded by the big logos.
Personally, I have no doubts that you can be very cool without the “right” clothes and the “right” drinks. Luckily, in sports these things do not count anymore once you hit the water. Then the coolest are again those who are in balance with the planet.