Summer Skin 911 for the People Who Paddle

Distressed MulletlogoRaise your hand if you are glad summer is right around the corner!

I know that I am ecstastic that I can now leave the neoprene behind, kick off the booties, and enjoy paddling in boardies and lightweight paddle tops! But the advent of the warm paddle season means our skin, shrouded from the elements during the long winter months, is now exposed. Hands are prone to blisters, now that we are not wearing gloves and/or are paddling longer because we have the daylight to do so. We have to be mindful of the sun and those pesky UV rays and their affects on our skin. Being outside more means more little bumps and scrapes, too.

So what’s paddler to do?

There are three products that I couldn’t live without during this time of year – Elemental Herb’s All Good Goop, Banx Block sunscreen and M.J. Herbals Arnica Salve. This trifecta of balms keeps my hands happy, my skin from being crispified, and those bumps and bruises from becoming bigger aches and pains. I couldn’t paddle without them.

I stumbled onto All Good Goop in my REI store. I was initially attracted to it by its nice lavender smell. Not overpowering, not too floral. But earthy. Just the smell of it is soothing. And no wonder – lavender has been known to help with anxiety and restlessness. It is also believed to be an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. In addition, it contains calendula and comfrey, as well as yarrow. All of these herbs are believed to be anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and promoters of healing. It’s in a nice beeswax and olive oil base, but it is not greasy. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and is great for hot spots, blisters, scrapes, chapped and chaffed skin, After a long or hard paddle, I always rub some into my hands. And it is great in the winter too, when dry cold air attacks my lips and the skin around the tips of my fingernails.

When Katie previously wrote about Banx Block, she referred to it as the sunscreen for people who hate sunscreen. And she is right – this stuff makes me want to use it. It is by far the best UV protection I have ever slathered on my pail Anglo-Celtic, freckle specked skin. It is mineral based and reef safe. Zinc is the primary ingredient, so you don’t need a lot of this stuff to protect you from the harmful rays of the sun. It spreads evenly and is not oily. It absolutely positively will not sweat or drip into your eyes. And it is so long-lasting that I have been known not to reapply during a full day’s outing on the board. Even when I have been in and out of the water a lot. And nary a single burn! Getting the stuff off is extremely difficult! Seriously!! Best. Sunscreen. Ever. Period.

Last Saturday while teaching SUP at one of our area lakes, one of my students was wrestling with a fin. It was stuck in a very tight fin box. I offered to help her get it out, and as I was working it up and down, it suddenly disengaged and flew into my face, giving me the first fat lip I have had since I got into a fight in Sunday School on Easter Sunday when I was five.

Ice was not readily available. But in my car was my little container of MJ Herbal’s Arnica salve. I applied that stuff, and by the time I got home, the swelling was down. Arnica is a fanatic anti-inflammatory. It can be used in a topical form, like this salve, or it can be taken orally in pill form. On bruises, though, it is awesome. It reduces discoloration and pain. You can buy it in tubes, but usually that form can be greasy. It can be in an alcohol or water base. This salve is soothing and a bit tacky, not unlike the consistency of the All Good Goop. It is an amazing addition to the first aid kit.

I would be completely remiss if I did not mention my devotion to Udderly Smooth Udder Cream. No, not Bag Balm- the vaseliney stuff that comes in the square tin. No, this is a very smooth cream that comes in a tube or tub covered in black and white cow spots. It is simply amazing for sun burn, saddle sores from cycling, rashes or really anything that involves your skin. I always keep some of that around because of it’s healing properties. It makes a great daily moisturizer too.

All four of these creams and salves should be in every paddlers’ kit. Your body will thank you.

Do you have a favorite balm or ointment to help with summer paddler skin ailments? Let us know!

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Canadian Men Sweep NC Surf to Sound Challenge USA’s April Zilg Wins Women’s Division Championship

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Canadians Tommy Buday, Larry Cain, and Gab Beauchesne-Sevigny swept the men’s competition in both the North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge and Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship in Wrightsville Beach. April Zilg and Stephanie Shideler of the USA, and Tracey Finlay of Canada won the top three spots in the women’s division.
And, what a difference a day made for standup paddleboard race conditions. “Yesterday I was wearing my bikini, today I’m wearing four layers,” said women’s champion April Zilg, of Wilmington, NC.
Saturday’s race conditions featured temperatures in the low 80s, with low wind, lots of sunshine, and relatively flat surf. The only weather obstacle was morning fog with a minor race delay for burn-off.
Sunday ushered in a cloudy sky, temperatures in the 50s, morning winds at 15-20 mph, choppy flatwater conditions, and a wind-chill factor in the upper 40s.
Cain, Buday, and Beauchesne-Sevigny, Courtesy of Jenny Yarborough
Surf to Sound Women’s Champ April Zilg, Courtesy NC Press Release
“It was a blast racing here in North Carolina,” said men’s champion Tommy Buday. “We enjoy the diversity of c798b791-9492-425b-97d3-944d1c673876
the sport with the waves, the wind, and the rough conditions. I come from Montreal. We don’t have oceans, so to come here and participate in both ocean and flatwater racing is exciting.”
Buday, Cain, and Beauchesne-Sevigny are Olympic flatwater athletes. April Zilg is ranked 13th in women’s World Rankings by SupRacer.
Surf to Sound Challenge Elite 6.5-mile Race Results:
Men Unlimited Division:
1. Tommy Buday, Quebec City, Canada
2. Larry Cain, Burlington, ON, Canada

3. Gab Beauchesne-Sevigny, Quebec City, Canada
4. Michael Tavares, Apex, NC, USA
5. Kevin Rhodes, Wilmington, NC, USA
Women 12.6 Division
1. April Zilg, Wilmington, NC, USA
2. Stephanie Shideler, Long Beach, NY, USA
3. Tracey Finlay, Ontario, Canada
4. Anna Blackburn, Wilmington, NC, USA
5. Anya Yurchenko, Excelsior, MN, USA
Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship:
Men Unlimited Division
1. Gab Beauchesne-Sevigny, Quebec City, Canada
2. Larry Cain, Burlington, ON, Canada
3. Tommy Buday, Quebec City, Canada
4. Runslo Walksalot (alias), Hampstead, NC, USA
5. Billy Miller, Manteo, NC, USA
Women 12.6 Division
1. April Zilg, Wilmington, NC, USA
2. Stephanie Shideler, Long Beach, NY, USA
3. Tracey Finlay, Ontario, Canada
4. Julia Nicholls, Morehead City, NC, USA
5. Juliett Gismondi, New York, NY, USA
Harbor Island 4-mile Recreational Race Results:
Men Unlimited Division
1. Steve Phillips, Murrells Inlet, SC, USA
2. Stephen Dees, Carolina Beach, NC, USA
3. Steve Capps, Wrightsville Beach, NC, USA
4. Matthew Nacy, Purcellville, VA, USA
5. Rock Wells, Wilmington, NC, USA
Women 12.6 Division
1. Miriam Sutton, Beaufort, NC, USA
2. Jeanna Bunting, Wrightsville Beach, NC, USA
3. Juliett Gismondi, New York, NY, USA
4. Jamie Moir, Ontario, Canada
5. Jenna Blackburn, Wilmington, NC, USAa28555ec-3098-426a-a329-4e345119e259

Zilg, Finlay, and Shideler, Courtesy of Jenny Yarborough
Weekend races for the 5th Annual North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge covered 18-miles, including the elite 6.5-mile Surf to Sound Challenge, the 4-mile Harbor Island Outer Loop, the 7-mile Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship, and a Kids’ Race. All races started and ended at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort on November 7-8, 2015.
The 5th Annual North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge was presented by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club, organizers of the prestigious Carolina Cup, and sanctioned by the World Paddle Association (WPA).
Media Photos and Press File (more race results)
Mark Schmidt
Race Director
North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge


Dr. Pokorny on Skin Cancer and Sunscreen

The Problem:

The incidence of skin cancer has been increasing dramatically over the last 40 years.  From 1992-2006 non-melanoma skin cancer rates have increased 77%.  Melanoma rates in 1977 was about 7/100,000; in 1992 it was about 16/100,000 and in 2006 it was about 20/100,00.  The rates of skin cancer are increasing despite the fact that the use of sunscreen has increased during the same time period


Population lives longer (therefore seeing more cancer)

Ozone layer depletion

Tanning beds

Medical community and population are better at detecting skin cancers

Sunscreen- although used more frequently- not used in adequate amounts

Sunscreen not as effective as possible.

How does solar radiation cause skin cancers?

            Two forms of solar radiation penetrate the earth’s atmosphere.  UVB radiation (280-320nm) radiation is short wave length radiation that is associated with sunburn (think UVB like UVBurn).  This radiation is stronger in the summer months, does not penetrate water, clouds, or glass; however this radiation does reflect off of water and snow so that in the presence of water and snow doses can be enhanced by 80% as an individual will be exposed to the initial radiation and then a second dose of radiation as it bounces off the water or snow.  There is a rather strong association with UVB radiation and non-melanoma skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer.  There is also an association with UVB radiation with melanoma. During the late 70’s and early 80’s this form of radiation was felt to be the sole cause of skin cancers and just about every sunscreen product works well in protecting against UVB radiation

The second form of solar radiation that penetrates the atmosphere is UVA radiation.  UVA radiation can be broken down into two different wavelengths (UVA2 320-340nm and UVA1 340-400nm).  UVA radiation is longer wavelength radiation that is equally as present in the summer as it is in the winter.  This type of radiation penetrates glass, clouds, and water, and this type of radiation does not burn the skin but may contribute to tanning.  UVA radiation is now known to cause the aging effects of chronic sun exposure like premature wrinkles, sun spots, and rough skin.  Recent evidence indicates that UVA radiation is just as much a risk factor for skin cancer as UVB radiation and is likely more associated with melanoma than UVB radiation.  A recent study out of Australia indicates a 24% decrease in pre-cancerous lesions with the use of daily sunscreen use as compared to those who use sunscreen only intermittently.  Also the only study that shows a reduction in the rates of melanoma with the use of sunscreen compared individuals who wear sunscreen daily to those who wear sunscreen only intermittently.  Only the group that used sunscreen daily showed a reduction in the rate of melanoma.

Both forms of radiation penetrate into the skin and damage DNA in the basal layer of the epidermis creating mutations.  Rarely, one of these mutations creates an “immortal cell” that then progresses into a skin cancer.

How doe sunscreens work?

            There are two types of active ingredients in sunscreen that work a bit differently.  Chemical (organic) sunscreens use a combination of chemicals that are mixed and matched to attempt to provide broad spectrum protection from solar radiation.  Organic in this sense refers to carbon molecules, not pesticide free. All of these chemicals will absorb solar radiation.  The process of absorbing this radiation causes the chemicals in the sunscreen to break down— thus chemical sunscreens, in general, lose effectiveness the longer the sunscreen is exposed to sunlight.  Also, many of the chemicals in the sunscreen release free radicals when exposed to sunlight.  These free radicals do not do much harm if the chemicals are on the surface of the skin, however some chemicals are absorbed into the skin and so the degradation of the sunscreen occurs in the skin where the DNA of the skin resides and mutations can occur.

Physical (inorganic or mineral based) sunscreens use either titanium or zinc or both to provide sun protection.  Zinc and titanium tend to reflect light away from the skin so that the solar radiation never reaches the skin.  Some of the zinc and titanium will absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat and infra-red light, but during the process free radicals are created.  However, unlike chemical sunscreens, zinc and titanium do not penetrate into the skin so any free radicals created will be on the surface of the skin.  The surface of the skin does not contain any DNA so there is no potential for mutations or cancer creation.

How are sunscreens tested?

            New guidelines to test sunscreen were mandated into law January 1, 2015.  There are three tests done on most sunscreens on the market today.

The first test done is called “Broad spectrum” testing.  Sunscreens are tested to make sure that  all UVA radiation and UVB radiation is blocked or absorbed by the sunscreen.  Radiation from 280-400nm must be blocked by the sunscreen for the sunscreen to advertise that it is “broad spectrum”.  This testing is done one time before the sunscreen is exposed to any sort of water or solar radiation.  Therefore, a sunscreen can pass the “broad spectrum” testing, but no test is done after water exposure to assure that the sunscreen is still “broad spectrum” after water immersion.  Also, recall that solar radiation degrades many of the active ingredients in suncreen, thus a sunscreen may start off as “broad spectrum”, but after 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours, may no longer be “broad spectrum” as the active ingredients in the sunscreen are being degraded by the very solar radiation it is blocking.

The second test done is called “SPF” testing.  SPF is solely a measure of UVB protection and tells the consumer nothing about UVA protection. The arm of an individual of light complexion is exposed to UVB radiation.  The time it takes for the subject to start to show pinkness determines the subject’s baseline untreated time.  For the sake of understanding, let us say it takes 10 minutes of radiation exposure before the skin turns pink.  Then, the same subject’s other arm will contain the sunscreen and the test is repeated on the treated arm.  SPF is a measure of time, and if the treated arm takes 150 minutes to start to turn pink then the SPF of the product is 15 (150min treated time/10 min untreated time=15).  SPF is only a measure of UVB protection, and there is no assurance that the ingredients in the sunscreen that are intended to block UVA radiation will behave in the same fashion as the ingredients that block the UVB radiation.

Lastly, “water resistance” testing is done.  Basically, water resistance testing repeats the SPF test after either a 40 or 80 minute water challenge.  However, unlike real life, the sunscreen is not exposed to solar radiation during the 40 or 80 minutes while the subject is immersed in water.  I suppose the best way to explain it would be that water resistance testing would be like applying a sunscreen and then swimming indoors only in fresh water (no chlorine) for 40 or 80 minutes.  The test verifies that the sunscreen maintains the SPF level in this situation.  Chlorine has been shown, also, to degrade some active ingredients in chemical sunscreens so this test does not simulate the environment in a swimming pool.  Due to the fact that many of the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens break down in the presence of solar radiation and chlorine, it is unclear how effective the sunscreen would behave if exposed to both water, chlorine and solar radiation for 40 or 80 minutes which is far more typical of real world situations.

Issues with chemical sunscreens

            One of the most popular chemicals in sunscreen is oxybenzone.  Oxybenzone is particularly popular because it is an effective UVB blocker and blocks some UVA2 radiation as well and it is absorbed into the skin and then absorbed into the body.  Many individuals consider the fact that after Oxybenzone is applied topically it can be found in the urine for up to 5 days after it is applied to the skin, somewhat disturbing, but the vast majority of evidence indicates that the doses of Oxybenzone that end up in the blood stream are negligible and unlikely to cause any sort of systemic effect.  That being said, I encourage individuals who are in the sun for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis should avoid oxybenzone as they should be applying and using a lot of sunscreen.  Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests avoiding oxybenzone in children under the age of 12.

Oxybenzone is very popular because it is in the skin and therefore will not wash off the skin in water.  This ingredient along with octinoxate penetrate the skin and help to obtain large SPF values that can not be washed off as the chemicals are in the skin as opposed to on the skin.  That being said, studies show a disturbing issue with Oxybenzone.  When oxybenzone is exposed to solar radiation it oxidizes into oxybenzone semiquinone.  Oxybenzone in small doses does not appear to have significant detrimental effects, however oxybenzone semiquinone has been shone to react with thiol groups and this, basically, deactivates an enzyme in the skin that is important for free radical degradation.  So, there is evidence that the protective effects of oxybenzone’s ability to absorb UVB and UVA2 radiation may well be offset by oxybenzone semiquinone’s tendency to deactivate important enzymes needed for free radical deactivation.  Finally, chlorine can react with oxybenzone that renders the ingredient less effective in blocking solar radiation, but also the chlorinated oxybenzone is toxic.

Second, the majority of chemical sunscreens contain avobenzone.  Avobenzone is one of  the only chemicals that blocks UVA1 radiation.  In fact the only 2 compounds that block UVA1 radiation is Avobenzone and zinc.  Like oxybenzone, avobenzone breaks down in the presence of solar radiation, but it is often mixed with octocrylene to slow down the degradation process.  Unlike oyxbenzone, avobenzone is not absorbed into the skin and sits on the surface of the skin.  However, there is not guarantee that avobenzone does not wash off the surface of the skin with water exposure.  A sunscreen that uses avobenzone with other chemical UVB blockers to pass the broad spectrum test will still pass the water resistance testing because UVA protection is not checked or verified after water exposure.  So, avobenzone can wash off and the sunscreen can still advertise itself as broad spectrum, SPF 50 or whatever and water resistant!  So one can be in the sun all day and have absolutely no UVA1 protection after they either get into the water or sweat.  This creates uncertainty with chemical sunscreens, as it is not certain whether the UVA protection is still adequate after water exposure.

I am not a big fan of chemical sunscreens not because I feel they do not work or are not effective.  What I find concerning is the uncertainty.  There may be many conscientious sunscreen manufacturers that combine a number of chemical active ingredients to obtain broad spectrum protection and package it in a vehicle that keeps the active ingredients viable and on the surface of the skin even after water immersion.  Unfortunately, there are also sunscreens that take advantage of the fact that some of the chemicals that protect against UVB radiation are absorbed into the skin (and eventually into the body) and do not wash off, but the chemicals that protect against UVA radiation do wash off and there really is no way to know, by reading labels, which chemical sunscreens maintain broad spectrum protection after water immersion and which ones do not!


            Zinc oxide, is by far, the most important ingredient in a sunscreen.  Zinc is the only active ingredient in a sunscreen that blocks both UVB and all UVA radiation.  Thus, if you are wearing a zinc based sunscreen and are not burning, you can also feel safe that you are protected from UVA radiation as well.  Zinc oxide is one of the primary ingredients in BanxBlock because of this unique property.

Even though Zinc oxide blocks both UVA and UVB radiation, it is a more effective UVA blocker.  Rather large concentrations of zinc are needed to reach an SPF 30 level.  Pure zinc sunscreens usually contain over 20% zinc  and it is nearly impossible to reach an SPF 40 level with zinc alone.  Consequently, we added titanium dioxide to BanxBlock.  Titanium dioxide works in a similar fashion to zinc, but is more effective blocking UVB radiation and does not block UVA1 radiation.  By using both zinc and titanium we are able to take advantage of the more effective UVB blocking properties of titanium and the more effective UVA blocking properties of zinc to obtain an SPF 40 product and still use less then 20% minerals.  The greater the concentration of minerals creates a thicker cream and may also be more comedogenic.

The challenge with a mineral sunscreen is achieving water resistance.  This depends upon the inactive ingredients as neither zinc or titanium are absorbed into the skin.  We have used primarily natural ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, vitamin C, and green tea extract that will not only help the minerals stick to the skin, but also, many of these ingredients are natural moisturizers and anti-oxidants in their own right.  We like to think of Banx Block as a skin care product that is also an excellent sunscreen, and many individuals comment that their skin feels softer after using Banx Block and also Banx Block does not tend to cause acne outbreaks.

If you have ever read the label on a traditional chemical sunscreen it will often warn that the sunscreen should not be used on damaged skin.  This includes sun burnt skin, rashes, psoriasis or eczema as damaged skin will absorb the chemicals in sunscreen in far greater concentrations than non damaged skin.  BanxBlock is actually great for damaged skin, as it is a natural moisturizer that forms a film over the skin and prevents water loss from the skin and zinc is a known natural antibiotic.  Zinc is the primary ingredient in many diaper rash formulations.


            Mineral based sunscreen has a number of advantages when compared to chemical sunscreens.

  1. Zinc containing sunscreens block all UVA and UVB radiation thus if you are not burning you are not getting UVA radiation either.  This statement may not be true with chemical sunscreens as ingredients that block UVA may degrade faster or may wash off while the ingredients that block UVB are still present and functional
  2. Mineral based sunscreens are more photo stable. Once again the SPF rating gives you some idea about the photo stability of the active ingredients that block UVB radiation but tells you nothing about the photo stability of the ingredients that block UVA radiation
  3. Mineral sunscreens do not react with chlorine.— better for swimming pools
  4. Mineral sunscreens are not absorbed into the skin or into the body. Even nanoparticles do  not tend to absorb into the skin, but that is not settled science as of yet.

Mineral sunscreens have the disadvantage of leaving a whitish color and some preparations are greasy or thick, but all in all we are an ardent believer that mineral based sunscreens are superior to chemical based sunscreens if one is wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.


The topic of sunscreen is complex and there are many other issues that can be discussed.  If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me at


Jeff Pokorny, MD










BANXblock sunscreen station at 2014 Lifeguard Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA.

BANXblock sunscreen station at 2014 Lifeguard Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA.

Ok, we know what you are thinking… EVERY sunblock advertises these qualities, and usually they are either straight up lying, or it sucks to wear, or both.  BANXblock is a different story.  Most importantly, it is absolutely TRULY waterproof!  Shocking, we know, because everyone says it and THEY’RE ALL LYING.  When we say waterproof, we don’t mean lasting a 5 minute motionless soak in a pool… we’re talking staying on and effective through at least an entire surf session, if not an entire day on the beach… and BANXblock pulls this off like none other.   You literally have to scrub it off with soap and a washcloth at the end of the day!

As the people from the John Wayne Cancer Society say, the best sunscreen is the sunscreen you will actually wear.  Well said!  BANXblock feels good to wear because it’s light and it’s not greasy!  We promise!  And it’s not like the “ultra sheer ultra light dry-touch” crap that starts “dry” and turns into snail snot the moment you get it wet.  For someone who uses a board or a craft that they don’t want to slip off of, BANXblock is the way forward.  Also, it won’t come off all over everything else like the Vertra or Shiseido face sticks.  We were lucky enough to find this stuff at the 2014 Lifeguard Nationals in Virginia Beach and got to test it for three LONG days in the sun, competing in many races each day, in and out of the water… and we LOVED it.  The only drawback we found was that as with any sunblock containing zinc oxide, it leaves you a little bit white.  But for anyone serious about sun protection while in the water, we know this doesn’t even factor in.

And in case you’re curious, they are not paying us to write this… We are just genuinely excited about this product.  PLEASE go buy your own, we’d like the company to stick around! (And we’d like all the good sun and water loving people of the world to stick around too, so wear your sunblock!)


MAY 18, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.42.29 PM

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.58.31 PMBanxBlock is the official sunscreen of USA Water Polo. The water polo ladies (pictured) and I have a lot in common in that we apparently like to lie on our stomachs in the sun. What are those women up there doing? I dunno. It’s called clickbait, ladies and gents.

Today we are gathered here to talk about sunscreen while paddling, though. I’m sitting on the couch snuggling with Jack Daniels (my dog, not the bottle) thinking that I could use some Jack Daniels from the bottle because, while I managed to get sunscreen all over myself today, I forgot to do my legs. WHOOPSIES.

Why’s that a problem?

Here’s a little visual:

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.52.07 PM

I think I need to self-medicate right now to remove the pain of a major sunburn on the backs of my calves.

What isn’t sunburned? THE WHOLE REST OF ME. Including the tops of my arms, which were basically in the water for two straight hours. MAYBE THOSE WATER POLO PLAYERS ARE ON TO SOMETHING INDEED.

The issue of sunscreen and paddling is tricky. We’re in and out of the water. If you standup and you sunscreen your hands, you can’t grip the paddle. If you do your knees you can end up really slippery and unable to stand up. If you’re on prone and you do the front of your legs, you’ll be slippery, but if you don’t do the backs of your legs you’ll be sunburnt. You sweat; it all runs into your eyes.


But I don’t want to die of cancer.

I hate the way it makes my face feel cloggy. Like I can’t breathe. Like I’m a plant and my stomata are closed. That is a real word.

Guess what?


I recently came to this conclusion. After almost a year of stealing little bottles from April (from BanxBlock) and losing them in my car (The net worth of my car has gone up by $300 because of all of the sunscreen currently hiding in it.) (Maybe that counteracts plummeting net worth due to the fact that I don’t have a passenger side door handle, antenna, or hubcaps and the whole thing has 7/8 inch of sand resting on every flat surface.) I finally started USING BanxBlock this summer and I LOVE IT.

I felt moved to write a blog post after today’s paddle.

When I wear BanxBlock I don’t feel globby. It doesn’t run. And it works! If you use the correct amount (A LITTLE OF THIS GOES A LONG WAY, PEOPLE) you will be adequately protected for the length of your paddle without feeling greasy or gross.


I copied all of these words from their website:

BANXblock is the best all natural sunscreen designed for active lifestyles in the water and sun by Kitty Hawk, NC plastic surgeon, Dr. Jeff Pokorny. For years Dr. Pokorny has been treating the surfers, fishermen, golfers, and sun bathers who live, work and play along the beaches of North Carolina and suffer the consequences of prolonged exposure to the sun. After treatment or surgery, many of his patients would ask for his recommendation on the type of sunscreen they should use while maintaining their lifestyle. After researching all the medical grade sunscreens, Dr. Pokorny found that he could not recommend any of them as the best natural sunscreen. It seemed that every product available to the general public either used chemicals that were harmful to the skin, or provided inadequate protection from the sun.

In the summer of 2013, Dr. Pokorny came up with his own design and BANXblock was born. Initially BANXblock was sold only in his own medical offices and in a few local pharmacies. He didn’t expect the word of mouth demand that came from his patients bragging to their friends. It fell to his wife, Anne and a few of her good friends, to relaunch the product in an attractive and convenient squeeze bottle that an active, happy person would use. They then introduced it into the surf shops and retail stores where the active, happy people go. And so it began.


Click here for more science!

This year they introduced a face stick and a thinner additional formula. I stick to the original, which they now call “Elite.”

Want some of your own? Visit their website to buy online or find a local source.

OBLIGATORY FTC DISCLAIMER: I have a bunch of BanxBlock sunscreen that they have given me because I have batted my eyelashes at them and/or picked up at events, and/or stolen from April Peters when she wasn’t looking. The views expressed are my own. I’m not a doctor and Sharna and Lexy have to beg me to wear sunscreen. As with any and all gear we review you have to try it and see if you like it and it works for you.

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ESA Crowns Mid-Atlantic Surfing Champions

IMG_0560The Eastern Surfing Association held its second championship event of the year in great surf at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina. The 2015 Mid-Atlantic Regional Surfing Championships presented by The Outer Banks Tourism Bureau proved once again why the Outer Banks is one of the premier surfing venues along the East Coast.
While the event began with clean, small surf for the adult divisions on Thursday, conditions deteriorated by Friday afternoon causing ESA officials to call a lay day for Saturday. “The ocean was just too out of control to put our youth divisions in the water,” said ESA Executive Director Michelle Sommers. “The consensus from everyone running the event, including the judges, was to call it off and wait until better conditions on Sunday.”
The right call was made as Sunday provided perfect waves for the final day. With double-beaching and running 57 heats, the ESA came through for its competitors in a big way. “From the worst weather to the best surf, Mother Nature threw everything she had at us,” adds Harry Purkey, ESA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. “As always, the ESA persevered and put on a first class regional championship.”
This year’s event was planned in conjunction with Surfing America’s Prime event, which is an event that ESA Regional competitors qualify for. “We wanted to make it easier for our surfers who competed in both events,” says Sommers. “Greg Cruse from Surfing America was very involved with our planning since so many would also be surfing in the Prime.”
There was a live webcast at ( that had thousands viewing online each day of the event. Everyone tuned in to watch ESA All-Star Gabe Morvil win the coveted GoPro Open Shortboard Division. “The finals could not have been any better,” states Morvil. Morgan Leavel and ESA All-Star Nohea Futrell, both locals to the Outer Banks, took second and third, respectively.
ESA All-Star Simon Hetrick was carried up the beach by his fellow All-Stars for claiming the Boy’s Division. “I was super stoked to win,” says Hetrick. “The waves were firing for the final day and I surfed for ten hours between the ESA Regionals, Surfing America Prime and freesurfing. It was great to trade off barrels with friends in heats.”Simon Hetrick
The Outer Banks’ Quentin Turko took first in Junior Mens and the Junior Mens Longboard Division was swept by three Virginia ESA All-Stars with Grey Copenhaver leading, followed by Evan Micele and Parker Sawyer. The Menehune Division was won by Southern North Carolina’s Owen Moss.
Training in Hawaii paid off for the ESA All-Stars with Julia Eckel taking first in Junior Women and second in Junior Women Longboard. Eckel says, “There is no doubt in my mind that the All-Star trip to Hawaii gave me the tools to win the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.”
ESA All-Star Kat Neff was busy on Sunday surfing in 14 heats between the ESA and Surfing America Prime events. She placed first in Junior Women Longboard, second in Girls and fifth in Menehune Longboard. “I was okay with surfing all those heats even though my arms and legs were like gel because the waves were so consistent and firing and everyone was having a good time,” says Neff.
Winning the Girls Division was Leah Thompson from Southern North Carolina with Kate Pancho and Leanne Robinson claiming first place in Women’s and Ladies’ Divisions, respectively.
The Reflekt Polarized Mens Division saw Hunter Skolnick from Virginia take first place and Brycen Jernigan made it through some of the toughest conditions on Friday to claim the win in the Open SUP Division.
A complete list of all the results can be found at Photos of the event will be posted on the ESA website as well as on both the ESA and event photographer Mickey McCarthy’s Facebook pages.
Special thanks to Hattaras Island Christian Fellowship for being on the beach every day offering help where needed and goodies for the competitors. The ESA also wants to thank Surfing America for their support with Sunday’s hectic schedule. “We could not have had things run as smoothly as they did without Greg’s support,” says Sommers.
ESA wishes to thank all National and Local Sponsors, including The Outer Banks Tourism Bureau, Jennette’s Pier, Town of Nags Head, Reflekt Polarized, Rip Curl, Liquid Shredder, OluKai, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, GoPro, Surfer Magazine,, Sticky Bumps Surf Wax, O’neill Wetsuits, Surfco Hawaii, Chums, Catch Surf, Media In Motion, Sun Realty, Kitty Hawk Surf Company, TW’s Bait and Tackle, Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals, Café Lachine, Waveriders Coffee & Deli, Carolina Brewery, Pamlico Jack’s, Tortuga’s Lie, Banxblock Sunscreen and Tara Mosley Graphic Art for this year’s T-shirt design.11188388_10205556955576932_1341127499854618328_n
Also, just a reminder to stay tuned for info on the ESA’s 2015 Northeast Regional events, which will be taking place in Belmar, New Jersey May 15-17.
The ESA, which is in its 48th year, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit amateur athletic organization dedicated to the sport of amateur surfing. The organization promotes amateur competition for surfers of all ages and abilities, and is dedicated to the establishment and preservation of free access to a clean shoreline and ocean environment.

BANXblock Named Official Sunscreen Of USA Water Polo

Discount to be offered to USA Water Polo members

Huntington Beach, Calif. – January 20, 2015 — BANXblock, an all-natural performance sunscreen, has been named the official sunscreen of USA Water Polo through 2015. As part of the agreement BANXblock will supply sunscreen to the USA Water Polo Men’s and Women’s National Teams along with sun safe editorial content for USA Water Polo’s communication efforts including SkipShot magazine and monthly e-newsletters. USA Water Polo members will also benefit in the partnership receiving discounts on BANXblock sunscreen.

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Local publication gives our Dr. and Sunscreen Great Press

Like any other small community, the Outer Banks likes to take care of its own. The Outer Banks Voice, a local online web publication keeps us current on events, news and general community information. They featured our Dr. Jeff Pokorny’s creation, BANXblock in one of their recent posts. Check their site often, for the local scoops.

Dr-Jeff-Pokorny1OBX doctor creates a natural, skin-friendly sunscreen

By Russ Lay on August 12, 2014

Last month we ran a story about local businesswoman, Manveena Singh, who is trying to launch an organic, chemically safe line of skin care products. Shortly after that article appeared our sales staff sent us a new ad for a sunscreen called BanxBlock.

I was intrigued and clicked on the ad and discovered its creator is a local surgeon who had treated me in the past. And, not only do we love local businesses at the Voice, Outer Banks companies that are expanding their presence beyond the local market especially intrigue us.

BanxBlock is the creation of Dr. Jeff Pokorny of Carolina Coastal and Outer Banks Plastic Surgery. Pokorny is a board certified plastic surgeon with 11 years of experience. He began practicing in Pennsylvania, specializing in plastic, hand and melanoma surgery and served as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Guthrie Clinic in the same state. He then relocated to the Outer Banks, where he sees patients in Elizabeth City and Regional Medical in Kitty Hawk.

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Distressed Mullet Gives BANXblock Something to Paddle About


I’m out in the sun. A lot. I’ve tried a bazillion different sunscreens. I’ve left my sunscreen at home, only to run into the closest convenience store and buy more sunscreen. I, like many of you, have a closet of half used sunscreens in my house. If you look in the trunk of my car, there is more sunscreen.

Out of all of the sunscreens I’ve tried, not one has done everything I need it to do. If one doesn’t give me zits, I have to reapply it every hour. If it stays on through a few hours, it runs and burns my eyes. If it is sweat proof and water proof, it is greasy and I can’t hold my paddle.

I’m also a bit of a health-nut. I believe the internet conspiracies that speculate about the increase in skin cancer and a correlation to the use of sunscreen with hazardous chemicals. I don’t want anything to be absorbed through my skin that I wouldn’t put in my mouth. Most sunscreens that I’ve tried with the “organic” label simply don’t stay put. What if I’m out paddling for 3-4 hours and I can’t reapply?

Enter BanxBlock. (I can finally clean out my closet and car!)

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USLA proves to be a great venue for BANXblock

The BANXblock team was on hand as the official sunscreen for the 2014 USLA National Championships in Virginia Beach, VA August 6-9. We met and were welcomed by more than 1,200 ocean rescuers from all over the country as well as Canada. The event was action packed with team and individual competitions on both the beach and in the water.

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