Gear Shed

Sunski: Bringing Back Australian Surfer Shades

Resurrecting a classic—and it's a bargain

Sunski sunglasses australia surfer shades surfing beach eyewear

    Photo: Courtesy of Sunski

In 2009, two friends had saw the potential of bringing back Sunski, a classic surfer sunglass. They launched a Kickstarter campaign with the modest goal of raising just under ten grand. $150,000 later, they knew their idea had potential.

Tom Stewart first laid eyes on Sunskis outside a nameless local surf shop in Foster, Australia. He didn’t think much of it when he picked up a few pairs of the bright, wayfarer-esque shades as a keepsake. Back in the States, a little research with his business partner Michael Charley revealed that in the 1980s, Sunski had competed with Oakley’s iconic Frogskins. But the wayfarer trend evaporated and so did Sunski.

Oakley re-released its Frogskins in 2008, which convinced Stewart and Charley the time was ripe for a revival of Sunski as well. The pair purchased what little remained of the brand, tuned up the design and turned to Kickstarter for funding, hoping to raise $9800.

The response was overwhelming: over 3,000 backers shelled out a total of $150,067 in less than a month in Summer 2012. “At that point, we knew we had something,” says Michael. The partners quickly scaled up their vision from a one-shot production run to an outdoor lifestyle brand, with plans to roll out grassroots athletes partnerships and other products in the near future.

Casual and sporty, Sunskis distinguishes itself with high-end components, including unbreakable polycarbonate arms, at a great price. Top-of-the-line polarized, scratch-resistant lenses and hand-polished frames typically come with a $150 price tag; Sunskis retail for $48.

Sunskis do duty in every season and around the clock. On warm, goggle-free days this, we ripped up spring corn with Sunskis cutting the glare. And, when it was time for après they had the classic ‘80s steeze that pairs so well with cheap beer.

Available now, $48.

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