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NEW AND USEFUL / LYNN SIMROSS

PRACTICAL VIEW : The Goods, the Gear and the Gadgets for Fun in Summer Sun

June 03, 1993|LYNN SIMROSS

Summer's here, and so are a handful of hot products for swimmers, surfers and skateboarders, as well as sunbathers:

* For youngsters who can't swim, or even those who can, Bami Floatems are the latest in flotation aids for 2- to 7-year-olds. And they're not clunky-looking like the old inflatable water wings.

The child's arms fit through armholes in the oblong floats, which rest on the shoulders. Floatems are made of the same hard foam used in many life vests, so they're difficult to puncture and don't deflate, and they are covered with neon pink or lime-green nylon so they are easy to see in the water. They won't slip off easily, because they have a strap at the back and an adjustable one that buckles over the chest.

Floatems retail for $12.99 to $14.99 and are available at Wal-Mart, Fedco, Sportmart, Oshman's, Big 5, Sport Chalet and Nordstrom. If you can't find them in your area, call Bami Inc. at (800) 642-4526.

* Serious sunbathers may want to check out the sun umbrellas and tents marketed by Canada's Pro Cutis North America. The shelters are made of a new fabric that firm representatives say will block out harmful UVB (ultraviolet B) and UVA2 rays, allowing penetration of UVA1 rays, "the good part of the sun."

The company tested its products at five universities in Europe and Canada and sold them in Europe before putting them on the market in the U.S. The new fabric was developed in Germany. Representatives say the film allows up to 79% of the UVA1 rays to penetrate, meaning you can get a tan, but it takes longer than in direct sunlight. The fabric also will cool down the area under the tent or umbrella.

"We feel this new technology gives the sun back to the people," says Pro Cutis marketing director Sven Poulsen.

Pro Cutis umbrellas and tanning tents come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They're available in dark or light violet, blue, light green, brown, pink and clear. Umbrellas start at $89. A small tent is $146.50. To order write Pro Cutis North America, 532 Lysander Drive Southeast, Calgary, Alberta T2C1L7, Canada or call (403) 279-2814.

* Listen up, surfers. You'll want to check out Bully's Board Cords lightweight competition leash, out last month.

The Comp, as it is called, has a thinner cord than standard leashes. Swivels at each end help keep the cord from tangling. Weighing only about eight ounces, Bully's Comp also has a "standoff" strap which attaches around the ankle with polyester Velcro-like fasteners so you can't step on the cord.

"It's a scale-down of the standard leash, only a lighter weight and a smaller cord," says Bully's production manager Chris Bishop. "Pro guys don't use leashes at all, and most of the other surfers want them as lightweight as possible. We use polyester because it lasts longer than nylon in salt water."

The six-foot Comp retails for $16 to $20 and is carried by San Pedro Surf Shop in San Pedro, Ocean Gear Surf Shop in Manhattan Beach, North County Surfboards in Carlsbad and Hobie Sports in Oceanside; or contact Bully's Board Cords, 3044 Industry St., Suite 106, Oceanside, Calif. 92054; (619) 966-0296.

* If you're not into umbrellas and tents, but still want to tan, do use some kind of skin protection. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90% of all skin cancers result from overexposure to sun.

Just out for summer are two new sunscreen creams: Shade UVAGUARD for adults and Coppertone Kids.

Most suntan creams offer protection from UVB rays, but few from UVA2 rays. UVAGUARD contains Parsol 1789, the company's name for an ingredient that blocks UVA rays. It is available in a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 (a medium level of protection) and is free of allergens. The sunscreen is from Shering-Plough HealthCare Products and was approved for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration in December. Cost is $9.95 for a four-ounce bottle.

Also from Shering-Plough is the new Coppertone Kids, a waterproof sun block lotion that lasts six hours and comes in SPF 15 ($6.75 for four ounces) or SPF 30 ($7.50). Both UVAGUARD and Coppertone Kids are available in national drug chains and mass marketing outlets, including Kmart and Wal-Mart.

* Say, skateboarders. . . Unless you've been hiding in some cave, you've noticed that the boards, the trucks and especially the wheels are different these days.

We asked skateboarder and surfer Eric Zucker, owner of Ocean Gear in Manhattan Beach, to explain. "The boards have a double kick (curve upward) now, front and back," he says. "They used to have a kick tail and be flat in front. In the last year or so, the truck axles are lighter and let the wheels float. They're not pinched to the truck like they used to be."

Skateboard wheels have been steadily shrinking for the past year or so, according to Zucker. The most popular size is the 40-millimeter polyurethane wheel, instead of the older 60 to 65 mm (2 3/4-3 inch) kind.

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