Mr Paterson's supplied marketing imagery. Great huh?
Jake Paterson Is Very Bald And Knows How To Save Your Skin
"I have no hair. I have done all the testing. Our shit really does work."
You're getting older. With each passing session, your skin is getting more beat. Fried.
Surfers spend more time exposed to our sun's radiation than any other past time, fact. Graver fact: Every 52 minutes someone dies of melanoma. Gasp!
Let's face it, we're not going to be voluntarily cutting out time in the water anytime soon, so we place our faith in protective measures to maintain our youthful complexion and minimise our chances of acquiring the dreaded C-word.
The experts recommend that we cover ourselves up with UV shielding attire, which can be easily dealt with by wearing wetsuits, vests and the like. However, unless you're a serial killer who wears a surf hat, it's the face, ears and neck that are most at risk. So we rely on sunscreen. And not just any old sunscreen – it's gotta be Broad Spectrum in order to protect against UVA and UVB. Most are only capable of blocking UVB, and it's UVA that's has the power to scramble up your DNA and cause cellular damage.
For surfing, you'll also need your cream to be water resistant, so it doesn't wash off after your first duckdive or wipeout.
Here's where ex-tour veteran, former Pipe Master, super coach, and World Tour clairvoyant, Jake 'Snake' Paterson enters the equation. The bald man from Yallingup spends a damaging amount of his life exposed to the elements. Whether it be in the water himself, or perched on sand with camera in hand, watching over his herd, he's out there absorbing those rays. So when he informed us that (together with friends) he'd expanded his operations into the skin care industry, our interest was piqued. Stab's Bondi office had been lacking in the protective cream department so we called in a few samples for review.
We Are Feel Good Inc sent us a box with three flavours; Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+, Coconut Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ and Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+. All three smelled fantastic, especially the coconut formula—not that its aroma's going to prevent your face from transforming into a leather boot. As a testament to their water-resisting capabilities, after a one-hour lunch session, it still felt (and smelled) as fresh as when first applied.
The neat little bottles state that all We Are Feel Good products are Oxybenzone and Paba, Paraben and preservative free. What does that all mean? Well, Oxybenzone has been implicated in coral bleaching and the destruction of reef ecosystems, Paba and Paraben often cause allergic reactions ("and even cancer"), and preservatives—like those in food – are just plain bad for all parties. Overall we'd expect the cream vanish into the back of a Stab staffer's vehicle by end of week, the coconut cream perhaps into the beach bag of one of our lady friends.
Because we love getting Mr Paterson on the line, we diverted from World Tour-related discussion and over to his side hustle.
Stab: So Jake, why’d you get into the sunscreen game?
Jake: Every year in the July school holidays a bunch of us head to Gnaraloo and that's where, one night around the campfire with two other couples, David and Katrina Lodge and Scott and Sally Mcgregor, came up with the idea of making a high-quality Sunscreen. We really thought there was a hole in the market. So the idea was born over a few beers and wine, to cut a very long story short.
Give me a rundown on the development process, how it went from initial idea to production?
Scott is a Skin Doctor so he knows his shit what is good for you skin and what isn’t so good so we did I years testing of a whole lot of products from one of the best sunscreen manufacturers in Australia and we came up with the best sunscreen ever, in my book. The six of us work in the company and each have different trades to make it all happen. It's all our second passion job, but it's coming along great.
Why would we choose your product over say, Banana Boat, or some other chemist cream?
For me, it ticks all the boxes for a good sunscreen. It rubs in really well and doesn’t leave you looking like you have seen a ghost. It doesn’t run in your eyes in the surf. It's not greasy. It's preservative free. There's no oxybenzone, which is a big one for me because that is the stuff that bleaches the reefs – lots of sunscreen have that shit in it. It's also four hours water resistant, I have no hair and I have done all the testing and our shit really does work.
It smells really great.
Yeah, it sure does, Our Coconut Sunscreen is our best seller, chicks love it!
How is business going so far?
This December will be our first year birthday in the marketplace and by then I think we will have about 400 doors Australia wide.
What’s it like being in the sun so much with what you do? What’ve you learned over the years, protecting your skin?
Yeah, I spend a lot of time on the beach and in the sun. I see my parents and their friends that didn’t use sunscreen when they were kids and seeing all the sun damage now really makes me want to look after my skin as best I can. I’m sure everyone knows someone that has had a skin spot from the sun cut out and the sun in Oz is so harsh – you really do need to use a good sunscreen.
Are people more aware now of skin protection and sunscreen in particular?
When I was a kid the good old Slip Slop Slap message was around and I think they are bringing that back, but I really think the general public have no idea how dangerous the sun is down here. Scott tells us of some heavy stories of skin cancers he cuts out from sun damage, which is why I’m super happy to be in this business looking after myself and family.
You can see more from We Feel Good Inc, here.