Sweet Protection is a brand today associated with some of the best skiers and snowboarders in the world; yet surprisingly the company started with roots more entrenched in the summer and skate culture of California...despite being almost 5000 miles away from it.
The earliest seeds of the story to come were sewn in the remote Norwegian town of Trysil, way back in 1988. A local school student, Ståle Møller had written a design paper on producing skateboards - something he had started doing in his garage at home, despite the sport then being illegal!
Long before the internet and mobile phones became part of society, Ståle and his friends knew little of the world's skateboarding culture, save for the occasional skate-movies or magazines, smuggled into town by a sympathetic local priest who often travelled abroad. Despite the ban, skateboarding was growing in the forests of Norway, and Ståle found himself busy through the nights, building his own boards for locals, under the moniker Bushmade Skates - and even a skate ramp in the woods where they could ride! It wasn't long before the skateboard prohibition was lifted, and Ståle fast received support from the local Municipality to support this now-burgeoning skate scene.
Over the next eight years, Ståle turned his design flair from skating, to kayaking and snowboarding - creating ever-better clothing and equipment for his local riders. When they went travelling around the world together in the mid-nineties, this group did it with backpacks and clothing they'd made themselves - a serious amount of expertise was building up, and by 1997; Ståle and his friend, Erik Martinsen decided to put it to proper use; aiming to build their own whitewater kayaks (a sport starting to take-off in the fjords of Norway) - in the end Ståle built Erik a carbon fibre helmet he could use in the Freestyle Kayak World Championships that year. Much like Carlo Salmini's unique ski race protection being used by athletes in the Winter Olympics; this breakthrough design was recognised by all at the event, and soon demand was burgeoning for Ståle's unique helmets - a request Stale was only too happy to oblige with (despite still only being at design college)!
A couple more years passed by, until in 1999 Ståle was persuaded by a friend to stop building products for friends and niche interests, and start taking his immense skill to an international market. Action sport was now a well established industry, and these men had been involved in the sports for over a decade - it was time to make something of their uncompromising demand for innovation. Snowboarding was the way to go, they agreed; and Sweet would be their name. Over the next 3 years Ståle's helmet design was refined and adjusted; and fast picked up by some of the biggest names in the sport at the time. In 2003 the company was ready to launch internationally at the ISPO trade fair in Munich, and was an overnight success - winning the brand new Best Newcomer Award for their clothing and protective gear.
First developed by a group of young Norwegians in the 1990s, these boys have followed their passion ever since, and today Sweet Protection are one of the most iconic and respected companies in the action sport market.
Sweet can often be found on SportPursuit; the current sale runs until Monday 20th May. See the sales here: