Interview PWA - Dr. Tim Peltz, Associate at SWOX

Hello Tim, How are you? Well, thank you. Just had a fun session over at Bondi beach.

So, SWOX, how did it all start? I actually grew up windsurfing and surfing (semi) professionally in Germany travelling all over the world and also living in South Africa... but then got stranded being a doctor here in Sydney. When SWOX was founded we were a group of passionate surfers / board-riders doing what we loved, surfing Sydney and surrounding beaches in the sun.

One day whilst sitting glistening sun of Australia (Sydney) in the ocean, we began to wonder how much damage we had already done to our skin and ways in which we can improve our skin's future. By that time I already treated hundreds of skin cancer patients, becoming pretty concerned about my own skin.

Problem was that most sun screen products were not designed to be used in extreme conditions our skin is exposed to during surfing sessions: massive UV-irradiation combined with the non-stop intense physical rinsing of your skin. This is a worst-case scenario for any sun screen with a suitable product not existing to cater for these extreme conditions.

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And now you are the official PWA sun protection partner, how does it feel? Back to the roots, I love the idea that our sun screen company (SWOX) is now the official partner of the PWA world tour. If you had told me that when I was 16 (constantly dreaming of becoming the next Robby Naish) I would never have believed you. Haha.

As a professional of the industry, do you think that us, windsurfers pay enough attention to be protected from the sun? It's not solely a problem of surfing or windsurfing, it's a global phenomenon. Skin cancer is already one of the most deadly illnesses and its incidence is growing all over the planet, but mostly in the areas where people expose themselves constantly to the UV light of the sun. Guess who that is: surfers, windsurfers, snowboarders, sailors... even golf and beach volleyball players are affected. We all have to take more action to protect our selves and to stop the growing trend in skin diseases caused by excessive unprotected sun exposure.

What would you recommend to all water sports enthusiasts out there so that they can protect themselves better? The easiest thing is obviously to stay out of the sun. Pretty difficult when you surf or windsurf unless you spend the entire session in the barrel. Hats could be one solution but they never really work, you lose them after the first big wipe out or big jump anyway. Modern sunscreens are very effective in protecting against the UV- rays if used appropriately. So most people don't re-apply sun screen often enough to provide actuate protection. Especially in the harsh conditions in the ocean, it's important to use a strong (SPF 30 or above) water resistant sunscreen every two hours.

We have seen sprays, oils, etc but among your products, you offer sun protection capsules, can you tell us more about them? The main problem with sun protection agents in the water is that they are washed out of the skin and lose their protection function; especially among the modern fashionable sun sprays and oils. Then there's the problem of stinging eyes when sunscreen is washed into the eyes. SWOX's idea was to simply design sun protection products that provide the best possible UV shield in the water. We focused on two things: our sunscreens are extremely water resistant and they provide high and long lasting UV-protection. To further enhance the ability of the body to cope with the remaining risk of sun induced damage we designed a food supplement that consists of scientific proven agents that showed sun protecting abilities. This doesn't mean that this product replaces sun screen, but it gives you a little bit more support so that you get out of the day with the least possible damage.
Where do you see SWOX in 5 years? Hopefully SWOX will be established as a reliable, innovative sun protection company for all extreme sports men and women globally.

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With so many brands in the market, what does SWOX have that differentiates it from other brands? Like I said before, we are committed to designing products for maximum protection. We focus on a small number of products that are specifically designed for people like us and we don't compromise. It's not about the smell, it's not about the looks, it's not about the clever gimmicks, it's about the essential functionality. Staying protected whatever, wherever and however you play.

Which countries is SWOX available in and what’s the best way to purchase? SWOX is by now available through good surf and snowboard shops all over Europe. We distribute in South Africa, Indonesia and some South American countries, but easiest way is to order SWOX products from our online store, swox.com.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about SWOX? SWOX stands for Sun-Water- OXygen and we are totally committed to developing products that we trust, day in and day out. We're surfers designing for surfers who want to reduce the high risk of developing sun induced cancers in the future. I think that says it all ;-)