Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items during the Action Sports Retailer trade show, held Feb. 3-5 in Long Beach, Calif.
LaWedge headrest can hold beverages
LaWedge International Inc. of West Palm Beach, Fla., is marketing a $10 beach headrest of PVC foam with a vinyl-dip paint surface.
The Mexican-made product has an insulated rear compartment to keep two or three beverage cans cold or store personal essentials.
"When the sun hits it, the headrest softens up and molds to you personally," said Bruce Moorhead, president and chief designer. "The contours with raised sides keep your head in the center location."
Beer and theme-park companies are interested in private-label LaWedge headrests, and Moorhead is developing a convoluted-foam model and evaluating metallic and pearl colors.
Deep Carve mixes 2 types of boarding
Flowlab LLC of Mill Valley, Calif., combines skateboard and snowboard in its $200 Deep Carve product.
"The skateboard emulates snowboarding in the street," said President Phil Wessells.
The board permits turns up to 45 degrees vs. a typical skateboard's 25-degree angle.
The board features two sets of seven evenly spaced polyure-thane wheels. Riders can move onto the outer wheels on turns, allowing the tight turning radius.
Flowlab began selling the 42-inch-long board in mid-2000 through a Web site and is now reaching retail outlets. The company is adding top and bottom fiberglass reinforcements to the seven-layer maple boards, Wessells said.
Flowlab plans to introduce 36-inch and 32-inch versions next month retailing for $175 and $150, respectively.
Astro Studios of San Francisco designed the truck system, and a Fairfield, Calif., firm assembles the product.
Sunglasses feature face-cooling system
Carrera's new C8-style sunglasses feature a face-cooling ventilation system and an optional double-lens configuration for skiers not wearing goggles.
The lenses are impact-resistant polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant hard coat. The glasses retail for $80-$100, said Conrad Casser, Carrera's North American general manager in Ketchum, Idaho.
Parent company Safilo SpA molds EMS-Chemie AG's Grilamid poly-amide for the frame and co-molds API SpA's Megol thermoplastic SEBS rubber for the nose and ear pieces.
"Megol becomes tackier as it gets wet and won't slide down your face," he said.
Safilo of Padua, Italy, manufactures the glasses in northern Italy, Slovenia and Austria.
Ridout to introduce thinner skateboard
Material distributor and custom manufacturer Ridout Plastics Co. Inc. is developing a thin design for a new version of its pultruded polymer-matrix-composite Flexdex performance skateboard. A September rollout is planned.
"We are putting in a light bow to thin out the material," said President Elliott Rabin. "It's a bit of a gamble."
Meanwhile, Ridout began operating two automated machines last year that can bend up to four polycarbonate sheets into brochure holders simultaneously, increasing productivity by five or six times, Rabin said.
The machines, which are from C.R. Clarke & Co. Ltd. of Ammanford, Wales, cost about $10,000 each.
Ridout employs about 62 and recorded 2000 sales of $8.2 million.
Sanuk USA LLC of Solana Beach, Calif., exhibited its $20 Voodoo sandals as a follow-up on its earlier Wired model. Sanuk's contractor extrudes PVC through small holes into water. The material dries upon itself into a mat-like structure and is cut to form the sandal's footpad, said President Jeff Kelly. PVC is injection molded to form the base and band. ... Heeling Sports Ltd. of Carrollton, Texas, projects turning a profit in February on its Heelys-brand shoe, said Mike Staffaroni, newly named chief executive officer. Heeling Sports introduced the rolling shoe in September and began shipments in December.