Elite athletes unite to imagine the future of sport.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Oakley Australia’s The Future of Sport, a disruptive glance into the future of sports performance technology according to legendary racing cyclist, Cadel Evans, Olympic snowboarder Scotty James, surfing prodigy Jack Robinson, Oakley and three leading design companies.

shain white, ryan sheckler, oakley, future of sport
Shaun White & Ryan Sheckler talk about The Future of Sport. Photo courtesy of Oakley

Seek out problems, find solutions, and wrap them in art

Oakley is no stranger to product innovation and new design technology. In 2013 they released their Oakley Airwave goggle allowing navigation of resort maps, delivery of personal data around speed, amplitude and altitude as well as allowing the user to controlling their soundtrack from the inside of the google’s lens. This project celebrates the collision of technology and sport to create three innovative new concepts in collaboration with athlete and designer, each representing a window into the future of three sports.

Disruptive by design

“Snowboarding is the closest you can get to free flight other than jumping out of an aeroplane or base jumping, now we are smashing the boundaries of what this freedom can be.”

One of the three innovators and good friend of Still Stoked was leading wearable tech company Wearable Experiments (We:eX). They collaborated with snowboarder Scotty James to explore how wearable technology could give him more air and ‘shatter the confines of snowboarding’. I caught up with Ben from We:eX to get the low down on the project and how the team came to develop their disruptive snowboard design for Oakley.

“Our collaboration with Scotty James for the Oakley Future Sport Project brings together fashion and technology with a functional design aesthetic, and through creative problem solving with Oakley, we have created unique, design focused wearable technology that will revolutionise how athletes prepare, perform and approach the sport of snowboarding.”

Oakley, Innovation, wearable technology, Future of sport, snowboarding, we:ex, wearable technologies
Oakley Innovation Sneapo Future of Surfing snowboarding

Big Air – snowboarding flying jacket

The idea was to launch a first-of-a-kind line of snowboard gear that increase the wearer’s velocity and flight time.

The inspiration

Quadrocopters and the flight projection that wingsuit fliers experience when base-jumping or proximity flying.

The concept

Build a turbine structure through the back of a customised snowboarding jacket. The turbines will use the wind force and trajectory from a half-pipe jump to accelerate the rider and increase the amount of time and distance in the air. Controlled using 9-axis mention sensors the BIG AIR jacket has situational awareness and can increase the number of flips and spins, or in the case where a rider gets out of control, the jacket can bring the rider back to vertical and back to the ground safely.

oakley, future of sport, we:ex, snowboarding, wearabe technology
Working drawing courtesy of Wearable Experiments

The materials

The “fin” shaped turbines will be lightweight metal polymer (or potentially a graphene), as an external feature built into the jacket through supporting internal skeletal structures. Graphene is the thinnest compound known to man (at one atom thick) and also the lightest and strongest – read more about it here as it is pretty rad stuff!

Will we see “Big Air” in production any time soon?

The technology we’re talking about is too advanced right now so there are no immediate plans to manufacture the concept. The material graphene can not yet be mass produced but there is hope that the future will see it being used with 3D printers. The “Big Air” jacket could be something we see produced in the next 30 years, but who knows if it will be sooner than that – at Oakley, anything is possible!

Thanks for Oakley for putting on a great Future Of Sport event (snowboarder Shaun White and skater Ryan Sheckler flew all the way from California to check it out). The progression of sport through technology can only happen by listening to athletes and bringing together World leading visionaries to make the impossible possible. Oakley really are a leading brand in this space, challenging existing ideas and current expectations. Good on em’!

Oakley, Future of sport, snowboarding
Photo by Still Stoked
Oakley, Future of sport, snowboarding
Photo by Still Stoked
Alexa hohenberg, shaun white, future of sport
Alexa & Shaun White chat at the event – Photo by Still Stoked
Hiya, I'm Alexa. Always on some sort of adventure! I'm excited to share my stories & introduce you to other rad women, also living the dream. I'm here to inspire you to do the same :-)



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