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Brand ID | Sport stars sharre their product knowledge | sponsoring elite athletes
July 2015

Sport stars share their product knowledge

Brands invest a lot of money in sponsoring elite athletes to use and wear their products. But, do these brand ambassadors understand and appreciate the benefits of the gear they promote? Brand ID recently gave retailers the chance to test the product knowledge of the athletes who use their brands

Brand ID recently gave their retail customers the opportunity to interact with some of the top athletes who wear and use their sports brands, and hear first-hand what they like about these brands. Big and small Western Cape retailers came from as far as Worcester and Vredenburg to mingle with the sport stars and learn more about the 2016 Canterbury, Columbia, Mizuno, Skins, Sklz and Speedo ranges.

Columbia was added to the Brand ID portfolio in May this year (see p18), and Roger Noades, who came across from the former distributors, explained that the 172 patents (some pending) and 19 core technologies in four silos, sets it apart from other brands. The various technologies keep the wearer 20% warmer, dry, regulate temperature and protect against sun, especially in their fishing shirts.

As an international sportsman he regularly received gear from many brands, but he really cherished his Columbia gear, because he lived in it, said former Protea cricketer Justin Kemp — who says he has been fishing longer than what he played cricket. He recently joined the Big Catch fishing tackle store in Paardeneiland. “Nothing can compare with the Columbia fishing shirt,” he says. “You can be in the sun all day.”

Intrepid adventurer Riaan Manser, who recently took his partner Vasti Geldenhuys to New York by rowing across 10 765km of ocean — after he cycled the perimeter of Africa, circumnavigated Madagascar by single kayak and Iceland by double kayak with partner Dan Skinstad — is a huge Columbia fan. “I’ve tested this stuff,” he assured his audience, “and if I say it is good, you can know it is!”

For a trail runner, Columbia has it all covered, with everything you need, said Columbia Trail Team member Jan Ham. “When you go through deserts the Omni-Freeze cools you down, it is completely waterproof and it covers all other bases.”

Skins

Skins helps you perform better and recover faster, Brand ID’s Evert Ferreira explained the benefits of the brand that enables better blood flow, muscle stabilising and faster recovery during and after exercise.

“For me it is crucial to wear Skins during training, or after a stage race in, for example, the Epic,” said RECM mountainbiking team member Erik Kleynhans. He believes the RY400 long compression tights help move the blood to provide oxygen to his legs.

Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen wears the Skins A200 top and bottom on match days and also during some training sessions. He also wears compression socks to prevent cramping during training and to stimulate blood flow, which helps him adjust to different pitches. On the field Skins helps him to cool down “because you can’t make good decision when you are hot-headed”.

An independent study conducted by the University of Essex Human Performance Unit recently found that the new Skins A400 long tights indeed improves the wearer’s running endurance performance.

Mizuno

When Brand ID started distributing Mizuno locally two years ago, they concentrated on two silos: rugby and running. “The Spring/Summer 2016 range will be much broader,” said brand manager Paul Copson.

“Mizuno running has two backbones: stability and cushioning, and we have some of the lightest shoes on the market,” he continued. “That is why runners have been switching from other key brands to Mizuno.” The running range is all about colour, energy and technology.

He describes the underfoot of the new Wave Rider 19, with updated cosmetics, as “phenomenal”. The dynamic stability featured in the new Inspire will slow down pronation, as the straighter grooves keeps the gait path “on track”, said Copson.

The range has been expanded with the introduction of a fashionable running shoe aimed at the young, recreational, urban runner, who’ll wear it from the track, to the gym, to dinner. “The response has been phenomenal,” says Copson.

They now also supply a netball shoe (Wave Mirage), which offers “explosive power and enhanced engineering” and will be worn by the SA national netball team from January next year. The SA squash team will also be playing in Mizuno squash shoes, which are available from the top end to entry level, including middle level.

The Mizuno rugby range is all about heritage and technical excellence, said Copson. The 300gm Morelia is one of the toughest and lightest boots on the market — and it will this year be launched in black, as requested by schools. “It’s an amazing boot, it is so light, and you can just put it on on match day and go,” says Springbok Sevens player Werner Kok, who also mentions that the teams from Fiji and Samoa wear this boot. Some of his sevens team mates praised the boot because it is “nice to feet”, “you don’t get sore feet even if you wear it new on match day” and the “lightness contributes to speed on the field”.

Stormers Jaco Taute and Nizaam Carr both commented that the Morelia boot helped prevent injuries and that it is so comfortable to wear. “It helps you cover as much ground as possible,” says Carr.

Canterbury

Discussing the benefits of wearing Canterbury protective gear, sport scientist and team doctor Justin Durandt stressed the importance of wearing shoulder pads in a physically challenging sport like rugby. About 66% of the injuries in rugby occur in the shoulder and acromioclavicular (AC) joint dislocation due to a direct hit can keep a player off the field as long as six weeks, he says. The important factor to consider when selecting protective product is breathability. “In rugby, the hotter you are, the quicker you fatigue,” he says, and therefore the quality of the protective fabric is very important.

In the Canterbury protective range the “durability of the brand stands out, and this gives me confidence during tackles”, said Lions captain Werner Whiteley. “I can’t go on the field without it.” When he started playing at school, his mother emphasised the importance of wearing protective gear and since then he has always been playing with shoulder pads.

Before he started wearing shoulder pads, he had four operations to treat shoulder injuries, added Lions coach Johan Ackermann. “They are great for preventing injuries,” which helps him as a coach. The Canterbury baselayers are also appreciated by the coaching staff —especially when playing in cold countries like New Zealand. “The players love receiving new kit,” he said, and good kit from a good brand contributes so much to the confidence players feel.

And the new Canterbury training range is “very eye-catching, and definitely something I would be happy to wear,” quipped Stormer Kurt Coleman.

The Canterbury boots are rugby-specific and designed to withstand the demands of the front row and tight five, said brand manager Justin King. And there is no question that they help players in the scrum, especially in wet stadiums, added Ackermann — and they are sold at a good price.

The two important features of a ball are the feeling in hand and the kickability, and the Canterbury ball passes these tests, said Stormers kicking coach Vlok Cilliers. “It is a good ball, it doesn’t deviate.” Before choosing it as the official ball for the Varsity Cup, a lot of hard work had gone into developing the best ball in the market. The big sweet spot and the fact that it is the same weight as the Super Rugby ball are also benefits, added Coleman.

SKLZ

South Africa’s only professional fitness (bodybuilding) couple, Stiaan Lemmer and Ashleigh Frost, use SKLZ to stay in shape and look their best. To do well as a bodybuilder, every muscle has to develop in balance with the others, explained Lemmer, and for that they rely on SKLZ, which also helps prevent injuries and promote rehabilitation. The products are easy to use and “you can become your own physio,” adds Frost. From professionals to children can learn to exercise with SKLZ, say the couple, because the athlete determines the level at which he wants to exercise. It is convenient and small enough to use at home. A free display stand is available, depending on the size of the order placed.

Speedo

“Swimming is a lonely sport, but Speedo inspires you to swim,” said product manager Deidre Scodeller. When developing, for example, the IQ Fit goggle range, the Speedo Aqualab did 3-D scans of the faces of thousands of swimmers, including Michael Phelps, to ensure that they fit comfortably and are leak free.

In triathlons, the swimming leg often cost competitors a podium place, said Lezandré Wolmarans from the SSISA, but training aids like those provided by Speedo will help them swim stronger and more efficiently. Aids like resistance paddles, BioFuse fins, finger paddles, pullbuoys, kick boards, etc. will help build strength, improve arm movement and maintain balance.

“What I like about Speedo is that they work closely with athletes when developing great products,” said sponsored swimmer Darren Murray. Top athletes like Amanda Beard, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte have assisted with the development of ranges. “The biggest advantage is that you feel fast.”


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