In 2022, the SunGod Community achieved more than ever before. Our athletes, ambassadors, charities, and of course, our all-important customers, now make up an inspiring and ever-growing community, hailing from every corner of the globe.
Every day, you’re getting out there, putting your SunGods through their paces and sharing feedback, ideas and suggestions, so we can carry on raising the industry standard - in product performance, in customer experience, and in our impact on people and the planet.
From our skiers claiming World Champion titles in freeriding, to our sailors winning prestigious sustainability awards, and our charities cleaning up a million miles of beach - the SunGod Community has been an unstoppable force in 2022.
We’ve cherry-picked just 9 achievements from our community this year, which highlight what we're all about at SunGod. Thanks for being part of our journey as we work to See Better, together.
1. Maxime Chabloz
Freeride World Tour Champion at just 21 years old
21 year old Maxime Chabloz is the dual-talented superstar of two sports, kitesurfing and freeride skiing. With numerous kitesurfing titles under his belt already, including a Junior World Title, this year Max rewrote the rule book in his first year skiing on the Freeride World Tour. He won the 2022 FWT in front of his home crowd in Verbier, Switzerland, to become Freeride World Champion. Max looks back on a season like no other...
“It was insane to win the FWT in my rookie season. I was thinking of it as a year to gain experience, get to know the faces, get to know the whole new scene. I was never aiming for the overall champion title! I think that meant I didn’t put any pressure on myself... that was the key to winning."
"When I think back to Verbier it's very, very emotional. My season goal was to reach Verbier as the only male Swiss skier. Just to be the one the home crowd are cheering for! Arriving there in the yellow bib, as a title contender, made it even more special. I get goosebumps every time I think about it. When I look back at my run, the way I was feeling at the start, and then standing on top of the podium, winning the Xtreme, winning the overall Tour, winning Rookie Of The Year… it was just out of this world. There are no words to describe it."
And for 2023? “I know it's always hard to start the season as the reigning champion, but I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. There are so many good riders and I think it's going to be a tough fight. That's the beauty of the sport, every year there's new talent, fresh blood. I've won what I wanted to win. Now, I just want to have fun and show my best skiing."
Essential Gear: Ski Goggles
2. Red Roses
Women’s Rugby finalists in New Zealand
The Red Roses, England Rugby’s Senior Women’s Squad, fought for glory in New Zealand this autumn. They made it to the final of the biggest rugby tournament in the world, in front of the largest TV crowds in the history of women’s rugby. Red Roses winger Lydia Thompson shares her thoughts on inspiring a generation of young female players.
“There are more and more women’s and girls’ only teams being set up at clubs, which is huge for participation. The fact that more international sides are introducing professional contracts, and in this country the Allianz Premier 15s [the elite women’s rugby competition in Enlgand] is experiencing really exciting growth, shows there is also a pathway for women and girls who may have aspirations of playing the game as a career. Being professional, full-time players ensures we have recovery time, more time for analysis and can train more regularly. It’s amazing - and this is just the beginning.”
“We get incredible crowds at Red Roses and club level and it’d be amazing for this growth to continue. Visibility is also key to growing the game, and this is something I expect to be in an even better place in five years’ time, with more games broadcast.”
And for 2023? “We’re seeing more and more women and girls playing now. Imagine where that could be in a few years' time?”
Essential Gear: Women's Sunglasses
3. Courtney Dauwalter
The first woman ever to win on 4 major ultra-trails of the world circuit
Ranked World No.1 heading into 2022, ultra-runner Courtney Dauwalter had already claimed some of the most impressive course records in her sport, including the UTMB and Western States 100, but in 2022 there were still some jewels missing from her ultra-running crown - the notorious Hardrock 100 in Colorado and the gruelling Diagonale des Fous on Réunion. There was no slowing down this year as Courtney solidified her place in the history books by becoming the first woman, and only the second athlete ever after the legendary Kílian Jornet, to win these four iconic races. Courtney reflects on a year to remember…
“This season I got to mix in a little bit of everything: 100-mile races, an ultra with my mom, a personal project on the 160 mile Collegiate Loop near my home, and I even got to experience Zegama [a high-altitude “skyrunning” endurance race] - a shorter, faster race than I usually do. It was a variety pack of experiences that created many really special memories."
"I have been running ultra-marathons for 10 years now, and this accumulation of miles is helpful, for sure. By the time I’m standing on a start line, the dominant feeling is usually excitement. Excitement to get running, and to stop thinking about running. The only expectations I have for myself before every race are to make sure I leave everything I have out on the course and to cross the finish line knowing I tried my very best that day. And to have as much fun as possible."
And for 2023? "I’m looking forward to many more visits to the Pain Cave!"
Essential Gear: Trail Running Sunglasses
4. Surfers Against Sewage
Cleaned over 1 million miles of beach in their Million Mile Clean
SunGod charity partner Surfers Against Sewage’s Million Mile Clean reached its incredible target in 2022, with over 1 million miles of beach, street, river, park and mountain cleaned by the SAS community. This included SunGod’s own team, at our local "beach" - the River Thames in Hammersmith, our London HQ!
“Our aim is to make the UK a cleaner, greener place for everyone to enjoy. The Million Mile Clean is open to everyone, no matter where you live. Wherever and whoever you are, every piece of rubbish you collect brings us one step closer to stopping plastic pollution."
"The Million Mile Clean brings communities together to really make a difference in their local green and blue spaces. Mobilising at least 140,000 volunteers every year, we’ve been able to reach one million miles of cleaned spaces. The Million Mile Clean also supports our Brand Audit work, where we’re able to hold the worst plastic polluters to account."
Over the Million Mile Clean, SAS have achieved:
1,041,732 miles cleaned
736,926kg of plastic removed from green and blue spaces
263,188 volunteers taking part in cleans across the UK
11,818 cleans registered
And for 2023? “We’ll continue to strengthen our position as Europe’s leading beach clean organisation - diversifying our reach, gaining new partners, and spreading the SAS message!”
Essential Gear: Watersports Sunglasses
5. Camille Losserand
Junior World Champion 2022, Kitesurfing
Kitesurfer Camille Losserand was crowned Junior World Champion in the GKA Youth Kite World Tour this year. A junior giving even the most established adult athletes in kitesurfing a run for their money, Camille has made her mark as one to watch in the kiting world in 2022.
"I've been focusing on strapless freestyle this year, and I'm so happy that all the dedication, perseverance and hours spent on and off the water have paid off."
"Winning the Junior World Championship title is incredible - the feeling of standing on top of the podium is impossible to explain. I guess it's a feeling of satisfaction; and one that gives you the motivation and fuel to work even harder and send it more than ever in the years to come."
And for 2023? "My goal for 2023 is to really improve in bigger waves, to prepare for what I'll face in competition. Ultimately, I'm aiming to claim the World Champion title one day; there'll be a lot of work to get there but I'm ready for it!"
6. SailGP GBR
SailGP win the inaugural BBC Green Sport Award
SailGP is designed to be more than a sports league - it aims to drive meaningful change and embed sustainability into the heart of the competition, through its groundbreaking Impact League, where SunGod Partner SailGP GBR achieved 2nd place this season. This year, the all-new BBC Green Sport Award recognised SailGP’s innovative approach to sustainability. SailGP GBR tell us what this means to them...
“Sport has a passionate following, so has a unique position to influence positive change. That’s why the BBC Green Sport Awards were created; to acknowledge that sport is not immune to climate change, and to recognize, celebrate and raise awareness of industry players that are going the extra mile for a greener future. We are so proud that everyone at SailGP’s hard work, and the league’s bold and ambitious approach to sustainability in sports, was recognized at such a high level."
"We’re only at the start of our journey at SailGP and we’re excited to achieve our ambition to be the world’s most sustainable and purpose-driven global sports platform, as well as to inspire other sports to do things differently.”
And for 2023? "We're focused on developing clean energy solutions to power our events. We’re aiming to be fully powered by nature, using only the sun, wind and water by 2025."
Essential Gear: Sailing Sunglasses
7. Sam Holness
The first athlete with autism to openly compete in and finish the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii
SunGod Ambassador Sam Holness has broken barriers, battled preconceptions, and ultimately gained purpose in life as an athlete with autism. Tony, his dad and full-time coach, shares Sam's story of an incredible 2022.
"Sam's autism means his interests are not very wide, but they are deep; he is hyperfocused on doing a few things, and doing them well. Training offers him an environment where hard work is rewarded in faster times and improved fitness. It's structured and repetitive, so closely matches the nuances of his autism traits."
"As an autistic athlete, there are so many barriers; from the crowds at the start line or the loud sound of the starting cannon, which can cause sensory overload, to the lack of funding and recognition. But barriers are only obstacles to negotiate and overcome. At the end of the day, Sam is now regularly competing against neurotypical athletes and has proved he is capable of being competitive. In October, Sam achieved his goal of being the first openly autistic athlete to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Now, he describes triathlon as his job and he wouldn't want to do anything else."
And for 2023? "Sam's aiming for his first sub 3-hour marathon in 2023, and his professional tri card by 2024. Along the way, Sam's aiming to raise awareness of autism in sport globally, and help challenge perceptions around neurodiversity. Triathlon has been the best thing that has happened to Sam - it's given him purpose in a world where few believed he could achieve."
Essential Gear: Road Running Sunglasses
8. James Storm Carew
Claimed the GKA World Champion title for the 2nd year running
Australian kitesurfer and Team SunGod athlete James Carew stood on the GKA podium and claimed the World Champion title for the second year running in 2022. With only 2 events this year, every heat mattered, and James put it all on the line and destroyed the competition. We caught up with James to hear how it feels to be "King Carew" for the second year in a row.
“It’s hard to explain that feeling when you achieve the goals that you’ve poured so much of yourself into. It creates more motivation, more drive and a stronger feeling to get better. It almost makes me think that if I can do it now, imagine if I pushed myself even harder, what would happen?"
"More than anything, standing up there on the podium makes me want to be better. I put a lot of pressure on myself to win this year - I wanted it so badly. But pressure is a privilege - it’s what pushes you to become your best. I’ve sacrificed a lot, but that’s ok. It’s part of the grind and it feeds that feeling of always wanting more.”
And for 2023? "Well, that’s 2 in a row. Can I make it a 3rd in 2023?"
Essential Gear: Men's Sunglasses
9. Liv Racing Xstra
The UCI WorldTeam raced in the first ever Women's Tour de France, after years of campaigning
As one of the longest-active teams in the women’s peloton, UCI WorldTeam Liv Racing Xstra have been a driving force in building the foundations of the sport of women's cycling. Heroes of our Momentum campaign - a celebration of women's achievements in sport - Liv Racing Xstra competed in the first ever women’s Tour de France this summer. The team share what this meant to them:
"Over the years, our team has contributed to the professionalisation of our sport in many ways, including talent development, coaching athletes and creating solid employment conditions. The arrival of Le Tour de France Femmes was a dream. It was incredible that the dream came true in 2022, and even more incredible to be on the start line ourselves."
"Even though it was only the first edition of Le Tour de France Femmes, the global attention was there right away. The arrival of this race felt like a kind of confirmation, the jewel in the crown. On Eurosport alone, 14 million people watched the riders' performances. Since the Tour de France Femmes, attention to and appetite for women's cycling has only increased. That naturally creates an added level of pressure, but everyone in the team has coped really well."
And for 2023? "The team is really well-balanced and our first team camp in December was very promising; the riders are much further ahead than this time last year. We have two absolute leading riders: Rachele Barbieri and Mavi García. Rachele finished in the top ten of a stage four times last year in both the Tour and Giro Donne, so we're hoping for sprint success with her. With Mavi, we have an absolute top rider for the GC of big races. We're going for an even bigger and better 2023!"
Essential Gear: Women's Cycling Sunglasses
From all of us at SunGod - thank you! You, our community, have amazed us with your achievements this year, and we know there's still so much more to come. Our brand is our people - from our professional athletes, all the way through to those of you getting out there in a new sport for the first time. We feel privileged to have your support.
2023 will look different for each of us, as we face new goals, new challenges, new ambitions. But whatever the year brings, we're excited to face it together, as a community fuelled by a drive to See Better. Happy New Year!