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Blue & Green Product Reviews

Items for Outdoor Adventures


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Armor for your Cellphone: These days, everyone seems to carry computers in their pocket, but these little telephones that could generally have one fatal flaw — they don’t always hold up when the going gets blue-and-green. Enter ibattz’s Mojo Refuel Armor, a rad case for your cellular device that pulls some critical double duty: It protects your sensitive pocket computer from bumps and bruises — and even the occasional splash of water or rainstorm — while also offering a full dose of back-up battery charge. It’s a hybrid that combines the idiot-proof protection of more bulky cell phone cases like the OtterBox with the super handy insurance of having a secondary battery charge stored inside the case à la the popular Mophie case. Though not entirely waterproof, the Mojo is the perfect companion piece for extended road trips or an afternoon spent exploring the backcountry. Even better, simply charge the case and keep it stashed in your car for when adventure strikes; that way you are guaranteed to have enough juice to take your selfie and #yolo game to the next level no matter where you roam, and your phone will make it home in one piece. See ibattz.com.

Blocking the Sun Naturally: As a two-time cancer survivor — and with one of those death matches coming against melanoma — I take my sun protection very seriously. Add to this the fact that I find it hard to go more than 24 hours without jumping into a body of water of some kind, and I become a mainstream sunblock company’s worst nightmare: someone who demands the highest performance under extreme weather conditions without putting my long-term health at risk by exposing my skin to nasty chemicals. Amazingly, right here in Santa Barbara, a new all-natural sunblock has been born. I first stumbled upon Avasol products at this year’s Earth Day festivities and doubt I will ever use a different sunblock again. The stuff is gangbusters! Though not the most affordable of options, Avasol is more than worth the money. It delivers full-spectrum and truly water-resistant sun protection (I find I need to reapply every 90 minutes or so if I am surfing) via 100 percent bio-based ingredients. As an added bonus, the container itself is biodegradable and the block smells so good I am fairly certain small children will try to eat it. You can find Avasol at surf shops throughout the 805 or at avasol.com.

A “Surfboard” for All Seasons: Make no mistake… Surfboards should come from real live people — preferably real live people who you actually know and get to shake hands with. That said, if you are a fan of unhinged beach time revelry for the whole family, then a trip to Costco should be in your future. The emporium of over-sized packaging is also home to the Wavestorm, a super affordable soft-top surfboard that is a guaranteed fun maker for surf sliders of all skill levels. It weighs about 10 pounds, is indestructible, soft and squishy to the touch like a Boogie board, and several hundred dollars less than similarly sized foam-and-fiberglass wave-riding vehicle. The Wavestorm is perfect for that land-loving visitor or grom who is begging you to learn how to surf, or for yourself when the waves are small and crappy but the weather is hot and the ocean is calling. The 8-foot fun-shapes also do great work as over-sand transporting devices for heavy coolers, impromptu wind breaks, and even first-class sleeping pads. Costco is located at 7095 Marketplace Drive, Goleta. Call 685-3199.

Outdoor Inspiration for your Coffee Table: Young, handsome, super talented, and ridiculously well-travelled photographer Chris Burkard has been living the dream for a decade and counting. Currently raising a family on the Central Coast, Burkard, who is a senior staff photographer at Surfer Magazine, prefers to travel to places several hours if not days beyond the beaten path, his camera and eye for the sublime always in tow. The highlights of this addiction are on full display in his new book Distant Shores, a large-format nearly all-photo affair from Santa Barbara’s AMMO Books. Broken into 12 sections, each named for a different location like India or Iceland or Russia, Distant Shores delivers a stripped-down yet high-octane dose of ocular inspiration with page after page of face-melting nature photography. And while surfing was more often than not the motivation for Burkard’s travel, the Sport of Kings shares the stage in Distant Shores with the beauty of Mother Nature and the ridiculous demonstration delivered day in and day out when the ocean and sunlight interact. This book takes you there while simultaneously motivating you to go there yourself. Distant Shores is available in area bookstores, at chrisburkard.com, and at ammobooks.com.

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