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Will the action sports biz say bye bye Red Bull, hello CBD?



Industry News

Industry wonders if we're seeing the exit of energy drinks and the entrance of CBD to the action sports market

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 18 May, 2017 - When Andy Irons was winning world titles and we all wore knee-dragger boardshorts and rode boards with anaemic cubic litre volumes, chances are we were downing heaps of energy drinks as well. Why? Because the marketing was there for action sports.

The drinks themselves, a rich blend of caffeine, B vitamins and lots of sugar, claimed to boost performance but most often just gave us the same buzz as coffee - granted via a more efficient bloodiestream absorption rate thanks to the carbonation and infusion of B vitamins.

As energy drinks go the way of 23” inseam boardies, the action sports industry is looking for the next big thing and increasingly surf CEOs are eyeing more sophisticated, holistic consumables - the current favourite on their radar being CBD.

CBD is a shortened way of saying cannabanidiol, as in derived from cannabis. Not to be confused with THC, the stuff that gets users high. When the medical marijuana movement started and people began touting the benefits of pot, it was mostly the CBD doing the work. CBD is now used frequently prescribed (at least in California) as an anti-inflammatory, as well as a treatment for chronic pain, fibromyalgia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety and a host of other ailments.

One company marketing CBD variations for athletes, specifically for surfers, skaters, snowboarders is Innovative Health Labs. Much the way Clif Bar took energy bars out of the grocery store and into the outdoor shop, this company wants to take CBD out of the headshop and into the surf shop.


Innovative Health Labs has just launched in the U.S. after its European debut. The company prides itself on a patented CBD extraction method that leads to what they deem a better, more pure product.

The range of products target mental acuity, injury-aid and overall performance and without any traces of THC, users won’t fail their drug tests.

“To extract THC, many methods out there are compromising product quality,” says Eric Boyd of Innovative Health Labs. “When you take out the THC, it closes out a pathway for the CBD to react with the body. We have patented the process of blending all the important organic compounds.”

Let’s back up for a quick chemistry lesson. Hemp plants aren’t simply made of THC and CBD. It’s not like taking, say, caffeine out of tea or coffee. There are little bits called turpenes, around 80 in cannabis, and since THC is just one catalyst for CBD to work, when the THC is taken away, you need something else (the turpenes) to make the CBD react with the body. Turpenes establish a gateway for the CBD work, and IHL claims they have perfected a method for them to do this. This interaction of all the organic compounds is what chemists extracting CBD call an “enterouge” effect.

Kam Alton and Eric Boyd of Innovative Health Labs


By blending different turepenes Innovative Health Labs says they now have formulas to help people's body's recover after workouts, focus, relax or pump up.

“When we brought in CBD it was such an obvious play into the Active Livestyle market,” adds Boyd.

But how about finding CBD near the Sex Wax at your local surf shop - is that next? Kam Alton of Innovative Health Labs says that while their product is available in a pulmonary formula for vaping, it’s their under-the-tongue formula that would fit well in your local shop.

“I see our products in sublingual form (under the tongue drops) being by the register in any surf shop across the globe,” says Alton. “The surf market is ready for a product that has all of the benefits of CBD without the worry of THC content. Many of us have been waiting for a solution to this, and its finally here.”

So, will CBD be to action sports what energy drinks were a dozen years ago? Time will tell. But it's interesting because CBD floats at the confluence of surfing's new neo-yoga-organic lifestyle while also digging up surfing's stoner roots.


© Daniel Beauchene


Editor’s Note:
In the interest of understanding this concept better, we sampled the IHL Sport Life product Sativa CBD after a lengthy surf session. Inhaling the CBD from a PAX 3 vaporiser we found that it worked well to relax tight shoulder muscles and ease the ache of a chronic lower back condition. Plus there was a nice “calming” feeling. Not buzzed, just an amplification of that post-surf warmth. All in all, our very non-scientific method would equate minor CBD consumption with the same relaxation and pain relief we’ve gotten in the past by taking three ibuprofen tablets and drinking a beer. Legal Notice: do not take this information as an endorsement or guide to consuming CBD.




Bryan Dickerson

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