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Courtney Dauwalter wins UTMB in SunGods

30 December 2023

SunGod Wrapped: Our Year In Review

9 Unforgettable Achievements from 2023


2023 was a year of pushing boundaries at SunGod.

Every year, our growing community of athletes and ambassadors blow us away with their determination, skill and commitment to raising the bar. In 2023, the level was higher than ever. This year, our world-class cyclists laid it all on the line, our runners broke unfathomable world records, and our ambassadors reached new heights - literally.

And that's just the headlines. We're equally proud of what's been going on behind the scenes at SunGod this year. From the painstaking hours of R&D on our sunglasses and ski goggles, to our B Corp commitments, to our ongoing charity efforts, in 2023 we've worked tirelessly to raise our game so our brand can serve you, the SunGod Community, better than ever before.

Read on to discover 9 unforgettable achievements that made 2023 a year to remember for us at SunGod:

  1. Courtney Dauwalter Makes History at UTMB

  2. McLaren F1 Team's spectacular track turnaround

  3. Airton Cozzolino becomes 2023 GKA World Champion

  4. Double Amputee Ambassador Summits Everest

  5. Geraint turns heads at the Giro d'Italia

  6. £10,000 for Charity for 10 Years of SunGod

  7. Royal Recognition for our Sustainability Efforts

  8. Team SunGod dominates the Freeride World Tour

  9. SunGod Named One of the Best Places to Work in the UK

1. Courtney Dauwalter Makes History at UTMB

Team SunGod ultrarunner claims the Triple Crown of Trail Running

After smashing new course records in both the Hardrock and Western States 100-mile races, winning the holy grail of trail running - Chamonix's UTMB - was thought to be an impossible feat. But in true Courtney style, she made the impossible possible. She dominated the 106-mile UTMB throughout, covering 10,000m+ of elevation to claim victory with ease.

Before Courtney, no one had ever won Hardrock 100, Western States and the UTMB in one season, and by securing these back-to-back 100-mile wins Courtney has achieved the newly-dubbed “Triple Crown” of ultrarunning. Her incredible form well and truly cements Courtney's position as one of the most successful ultrarunners of all time.

"Any time we're given the opportunity to try something difficult or crazy, we should absolutely take it. This was totally crazy, and really, really difficult, but totally worth it."   

— Courtney reflects on her summer of success, after claiming the win in the 2023 UTMB in Chamonix

Courtney raced the UTMB in her prescription sunglasses - SunGod Classics³ - proving the performance of our new prescription eyewear collection on the sporting stage. Explore our Prescription Sunglasses for sport and everyday, tested by the best.

2. McLaren F1 Team's spectacular track turnaround

We mark their success with the one-of-a-kind McLaren Winners' Collection

McLaren's season ended on a high this year, with Oscar Piastri being named "Rookie of the Year" in his debut season, while the team secured an impressive 4th in the Constructor's Championship.

After a slow start, McLaren ended the season with a string of podiums, fighting for every lap and putting immense pressure on the teams at the top. To celebrate their impressive rise throughout the 2023, in November this year we launched the McLaren Winners' Collection.

"For me, the feeling of winning is why we all go racing."

— Oscar Piastri, McLaren F1 Team driver and 2023 F1 Rookie of the Year

The collection comprises 183 unique pairs of SunGod Tokas™ sunglasses - one for every win in McLaren F1 Team’s history - featuring carbon fibre from the McLaren Formula 1 Team 2023 Race Car. Each pair is an entirely unique collector's item, and is dedicated to a specific win from McLaren’s archives.

Missed it? The final few pairs of McLaren Winners' Collection sunglasses are still available. Click below to shop the collection:

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McLaren Winners' Collection.

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Watch our documentary to discover how the McLaren Winners' Collection came to life:

3. Airton Cozzolino named 2023 GKA World Champion

Cape Verde-born kitesurfer Airton claimed the GKA World Kitesurf Champion title in 2023. His athleticism and determination placed him firmly in the top spot, where he continues to push boundaries in the sport of kitesurfing.

Airton has travelled the world on his journey to the top of his sport, but he's never lost touch with where it began: surfing waves on broken boards on the beaches in Sal, Cape Verde. Beyond the titles and trophies, Airton is deeply committed to inspiring and supporting the next generation of kitesurfers in Cape Verde. To find out more about Airton's story, watch our award-winning film Grounded.

"I hope one day, I'm gonna meet a new generation from Cape Verde. The potential is huge - I want to compete with those kids before my career is over."

— Airton discusses the next generation of kitesurf talent coming out of his home island, Cape Verde

To support Airton, shop his Limited Edition Zephyrs. Available for a limited time only.

4. Double Amputee Ambassador Summits Everest

After 15 years serving in the British Army’s legendary Gurkha regiment, Hari Bugha Magar's life was turned upside down when he became a double above-the-knee amputee. For many, that would mean the end of a climbing career, but not for Hari...

Hari was born in Nepal, looking out at the mountains every day. "In my country, people are very proud of Mount Everest; so I grew up listening to stories of the early moutaineers, like Tenzing Norgay, and learning about the mountain itself. I'd always dreamt of climbing it, ever since I was a kid. My plan had always been to climb Everest after I finished serving in the Gurkhas, but that plan was turned on its head when I lost my legs in active service."

After the injury, which led to Hari becoming a double above-the-knee amputee, he felt like his life was over and he'd never climb again. But slowly his outlook shifted, as he realised that sport and adventure were possible; they just required adaptations. In fact, his whole life became one of adpatation. With that realisation, suddenly nothing was impossible.

"Life is all about adaptation, and nothing is impossible."

— Hari reflects on becoming the first double-above-the-knee amputee to summit Everest.

Discover the full story of Hari's climb.

5. Geraint turns heads at the Giro d'Italia

We started 2023 with a bang, launching our brand new partnership with 7x Tour de France winners INEOS Grenadiers on January 1st. But we knew one rider's seal of approval wouldn't come easily - that of 2018 Tour de France winner and proud Welshman, Geraint Thomas.

As well as being known for his prowess on the bike, Geraint has a longstanding reputation for his loud and unusual taste in sunglasses. So, when tasked with creating an all-new design for G, we knew we had a challenge on our hands.

Facing a deadline of the the Giro d'Italia Team Presentation on 4th May, our product team worked around the clock to develop an all-new exclusive design for Geraint: the GTs™. Geraint race-tested the prototype to the podium of the Giro, where he claimed 2nd place after racing through SunGod's hometown of Verbier, Switzerland, wearing the iconic leader's Maglia Rosa jersey.

GTs™ not your style? Grab a pair of Team Edition INEOS Grenadiers cycling sunglasses to match the rest of the team.

6. £10,000 for Charity, for 10 Years of SunGod

To celebrate 10 years of SunGod, this autumn we donated £10,000 to charities chosen by you, the SunGod Community.

We asked our community to decide how this donation was split between our 5 incredible partner charities: The Bike Project, Surfers Against Sewage, 1851 Trust, Protect Our Winters and Shades of Love.

After weeks of voting, we counted the results and split the donation 5 ways, based on how your votes were cast. For one of the charities, Shades of Love, we went a step further, donating our "factory second" sunglasses too. Shades of Love have already distributed 460,000 pairs of sunglasses across the Himalayas and Andes, and we're excited to be helping them in their mission - both through helping to fund their operations, and through donating our own sunglasses.

Want to support our charities this winter? Grab a pair of 1% for the Planet Goggles or Protect Our Winters Goggles and do good as you shop. Plus, we'll match your donation to double the impact.

7. Royal Recognition for our Sustainability Efforts

We were proud to be awarded the King's Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development this year. Since 1965, the King's Awards (previously Queen's Awards) have been the most prestigious business awards in the UK, and this year King Charles met with our co-founder Zoe to learn more about SunGod's sustainability efforts.

After an incredibly detailed assessment which dug into every detail of our sustainability initiatives - from how they link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to how they impact our employees and customers, to ultimately how they create positive change in the world around us - we were honoured to receive the award. In June, our co-founder and CEO Zoe was invited to Buckingham Palace, where she met with King Charles and discussed SunGod's sustainability work with him.

“We’re so proud that our mission to put sustainability at the heart of our business has been recognised - it’s an incredible feeling. Winning the King's Award will help us fuel further change across the eyewear industry.”

- Zoe Watkiss, SunGod CEO and Co-Founder

And that wasn't the only award we won this year. We were honoured to be recognised for our award-winning product design, which secured us both the Red Dot and iF Design Awards in 2023.

Want to learn more about our sustainability projects? Check out our Mission Page to find out more.

8. Team SunGod dominates the Freeride World Tour

Our ski and snowboard athletes have been unstoppable this year. Team SunGod has claimed podiums left right and centre across the winter sports world, and the next generation has made its mark on the scene.

Dual-talented kitesurfer and freeride skier Maxime Chabloz was denied the chance to defend his title on the infamous Bec des Rosses in Verbier this season, due to poor weather, but the Swiss skier held his head high as he claimed 2nd place in the Men's Ski standings.

Also dominating the men's field was Verbier local and Team SunGod snowboarder Liam Rivera. 2023 was Liam's debut season on the FWT, and he made himself known by claiming the coveted "Rookie of the Year" title. In the women's Snowboard field, Team SunGod had strength in numbers, landing not one but two of the top 5 places, through Michaela Davis-Meehan and Tiphanie Perrotin.

Shop our Snow Goggles collection to match the riders' looks.

9. SunGod Named One of the Best Places to Work in the UK

As a certified B Corp™, we're committed to a triple bottom line of people, profit and planet. SunGod employees are the lifeblood of our brand, so we're incredibly proud that in 2023 SunGod was ranked one of the UK's top places to work, by The Sunday Times Best Places To Work index.

From holiday to personal development, mental health support to volunteering, employee wellbeing is something we take very seriously at SunGod. We know that our team are our most important asset, and it's essential that they feel fulfilled and motivated, and are given the room to grow both inside and outside of work.

So, we were hugely excited and proud to be included in The Sunday Times Best Places To Work index for 2023. This was based on anonymous employee feedback surveys, which covered everything from job satisfaction to how much pride in your work.

Want to join the SunGod team in 2024? We're hiring. Check out our Careers Page to find out how you could join our tribe.

From ultrarunners claiming world records to double amputees tackling new heights, the SunGod Community has been an unstoppable force in 2023.

Together, we've taken on vast challenges and come out on top. We're proud to unite our community, and we'd be nowhere without you: our athletes, our ambassadors, our charity partners and our all-important customers.

Thank you for pushing us to be the best business we can be. We can't wait to See Better together next year, and we're excited to have you, our community, with us every step of the way. Here's to 2024: the best is yet to come.

From all of us here at SunGod: Happy New Year!