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Hobie Eyewear: Know your lenses

by Hobie Eyewear 28 Jun 11:36 UTC
Hobie Eyewear sunglasses © Hobie Eyewear

Did you know today is National Sunglasses Day? Yes, it's a thing, and for especially good reason if you spend a lot of time around the water.

Bustin' out a pair of polarized shades not only looks cool and improves your vision above and below the water's surface, but it protects your eyes from sun damage.

Brought to life by The Vision Council, the leading trade association for the optical industry, National Sunglasses Day is held annually on June 27 to celebrate the importance of wearing sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun's harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays. It encourages people to practice safe-sun behavior by wearing sunglasses as a matter of habit throughout the year since these rays are always in play.

"It's especially important to wear your sunglasses when spending time on or around the water," says Dylan Coates, senior marketing coordinator for Hobie Eyewear. "Even on days with light cloud cover or only moderate sunshine, UV rays have the potential to damage your eyes not only from directly shining on your face but from reflecting off the water as well. Essentially, you should wear shades from sun-up to sundown whether fishing, enjoying water sports or spending time on the beach."

That means wearing sunspecs under a wide variety of conditions, a point Hobie Eyewear has been keen to address. All of their sunglass lenses are designed to filter out the sun's unseen but harmful UV rays, affording 100% UV A, B and C protection. All but two specialized pairs (blue blockers for computing and a set for viewing golf greens) also feature polarized lenses for superior vision on and into the water.

"But Hobie Eyewear goes farther than these necessary features," points out Coates. "All our sunglass lenses are treated front and back with Hobie's Hydro 360 coating which sheds water and oils, including sunscreen lotion, to ensure easy cleaning with minimal smudging. Plus, we offer a variety of lenses sculpted to allow for more personalization and the ability to match varying sunlight conditions such as early morning, mid-day and late afternoon or evening periods. Each of these factors can require special considerations for your sunglasses to provide maximum performance."

Stephen Vaughan, Hobie Eyewear's senior director for product development, sharpens that point, noting Hobie has a long history of turning out quality fishing and water-themed sunglasses since introducing polarization technology to the sunglass industry in 1982. Today, the company remains the leader in the field.

"In addition to our highly stylized frames," notes Vaughan, "we have a variety of lens types that allow wearers to look sharp, personalize their appearance and match their glasses not only to current sunlight conditions, but the task at hand. We even have frames that accommodate interchangeable lenses, so you don't have to bear the expense of buying additional frames to expand your sunglass collection."

Speaking to Hobie Eyewear's wide selection of high-quality lenses, both Coates and Vaughan believe it helps set the company apart from competitors. "We really do have a wide selection to choose from," says Vaughan, "and each style is designed with a specific purpose in mind. We sell polycarbonate, nylon and glass lenses. All three are of the highest quality, but the polycarbonate are most popular being highly impact resistant, lightweight and less expensive than the glass. The nylon lenses are used in our floating sunglasses since they are especially lightweight."

Extensive testing with Hobie fishing ambassadors and partners shows most people can't tell the difference between the polycarbonate and nylon lenses vs. glass lenses, notes Vaughan, and few notice any difference in the optics. "We're exceptionally proud of our poly and nylon lens quality," he states. "Because they meet such exacting standards, customers can choose them and spend less than they would for glass lenses, providing significant savings that can be banked or used to offset the price of extra frames or lenses."

Which Hobie Eyewear frames and lenses are best? Coates calls that a personal choice since customers in general, and anglers in particular, use them for different applications. "Our Huntington Frames are especially popular because they look stylish, and feature interchangeable lenses, which allows you to adapt to changing light conditions on the water without having to grab a second pair."

As for lens choice, it's important to keep purpose and personal preferences in mind, especially for hard-core anglers. While all are polarized and can be used in a variety of situations, they each have sweet spots. Vaughan breaks it down as follows:

  • Grey-Based, Natural Tint: Dims the entire spectrum of sunlight waves evenly to make everything simply appear darker. Good for general use in well-lit conditions. An excellent choice for saltwater fishing where you might be in the sun for hours at a time.
  • Grey-Based w/ Cobalt Blue Mirror: Reflect away more blue light waves, resulting in a bluish appearance. Another great choice when fishing in open sunlight or for day-long sun exposure.
  • Grey-Based w/ Sunset Mirror: Features an orange mirror and can be used for full day fishing while providing a different look.
  • Copper-Based: These lenses enhance contrast to make certain colors like reds and green "pop." They seem to brighten the visual field in a soothing way. Freshwater anglers love them for scoping structure or spotting trout and bass in rivers, lakes and streams.
  • Copper-Based w/ Sea Green Mirror: All the same properties as the copper-based lenses, and can be worn earlier and later in the day, extending the amount of time you'll fish with optimal vision.
  • Sightmaster® Plus: These provide and exceptionally enlightening and soothing optical experience. This is the ultimate choice for flats fishing and sight-casting. Use early and late in the day to extend the hours you'll encounter bonefish, permit and tarpon, or other shallow water feeders including stripers, blues, redfish and snook.

Vaughan's favorite pairing? "I like fishing with Copper-Based lenses most of the day and employing Sightmaster® lenses in the early morning and evening hours to expand my time and opportunities in the strike zone. I use the Huntington frames, so I just switch lenses and don't have to carry around a second set of shades while I'm on the water."

More information at hobieeyewear.com.

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