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Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Updated: July 7, 1:07 PM ET
Waterman's Applied Science spf ($19)

It's called Applied Science for a reason

The surf industry is like a machine. And the engine of that machine is the marketing department -- whole teams of creatives who can sling surf trunks in North Dakota in the middle of winter. From stand-up paddle blade covers to $250 sunnies, those folks in Orange County can wrap it in cool and sell you anything.

That's why it's interesting when a product comes along that isn't based on image, a product that might even save your life. Sure there are safety products for big wave riders, but how often do you really find yourself needing an inflatable life vest?

What it is:
Waterman's Applied Science is a technically advanced sunscreen specifically for athletes who spend extended amount of time in the elements. As surfers, we're more exposed than almost any outdoor endeavor. Watermans offers a lotion, stick, and lip balm.

This is not simply a generic lotion with a hip logo to make it look cooler than the stuff your Mom buys. The fact is that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. When you're on the water, the sun's UV radiation is particularly dangerous. This is stuff that Watermans takes very seriously.

Why it rules:
CJ Hobgood uses Watermans. His mother has been a cancer nurse for 35 years and has seen it all. He's even had to have stuff burned off his own face. Very simply, it's made by people who log a lot of hours in the water. Cancer is the plague of our time. We can try to prevent it, but we don't even know what causes many forms of it. Skin cancer is the most common in this country, and 90 percent of cases are exposure related.

This is something we can control. Of course, you could just stay out of the sun. But let's be real honest, when your break is going off, your house could be on fire and you'll be in the water.

Earlier this year, a decision by the Food and Drug Administraion stated that sunscreen manufacturers can no longer label sunscreens as "water resistant" if they don't meet new use standards. After testing, many brands had to remove the wording from their packaging. Applied Science passed the test and was able to keep it's "very water resistant," claim.

"Hands down, this is the best stuff out there," says CJ Hobgood, "The stuff in insane."

Look at the rest of the team. Jamie Mitchell? Mark Healey? Mitchell is a champion distance paddler and Healey is shooting fish when he's not throwing himself over some hell-ledge. They are both on the water all year round. This isn't some uncomfortable sandal that their sponsor makes. It's real life protection.

Where to find it:
Waterman's Applied Science is popping up in surf shops everywhere. They have a dealer locator on the website. There are 90 shops carrying this stuff in California alone. There's no excuse not be lathered up this summer.