It’s well-known that the bottoms of Falls and Jordan lakes, as well as many other aquatic substrates are littered with things that belong to me. And some things that don’t, like a sup yoga 10-pound anchor I lost Sunday (sorry Outdoor School!) But, usually it’s glasses lose, both the shaded and prescription variety. For whatever reason, I am adverse to wearing Croakies, although necessity is finally winning out on that score. But even when your sunglasses are tethered around your head, they can still come off in a fall or wipeout. Very, very rarely can you catch them in time before they slip into the darkness of the depths, leaving a thin trail of bubbles and tears behind.
Glasses are plastic, right?
So why can’t they just float?
At Surf Expo this last January, Team Mullet was enthralled by the offerings from Reflekt. Good looking, good quality polarized sunglasses that float.
But looks and promises are sometimes not all they are cracked up to be. So, yesterday I took a pair out into the field and put them through the outdoor instructor test.
In the interest of full disclosure, the kind folks at Reflekt sent me a pair Echo Unsinkables to try and write about.
The Echoes came in a rather non-descript paperboard box. Inside, the glasses came in a microfiber bag which doubles as a lense-cleaning cloth. No case.
The Echo style is a squarish Ray-ban style frame, but with gradient blue to white frosty coloring. They are unusual looking without being over the top. I noticed immediately that they are very light. When I slipped them on, the fit was good, although not especially snug or head-fitting, like some of my more expensive glasses. The lenses are nice and clear, but not over-dark.
For my day of teaching and skills practice on the water, I went ahead and slipped a floating eyeglass retainer on the Reflekts, more for just the convenience of being able to have the glasses around my neck when I am wearing my prescription specs. Not so much for the floating aspect, although I will admit, at first, I wanted to be sure these weren’t go to go the way of my other glasses.
Oh Ye of Little Faith
I made it through the SUP yoga class without having to take a swim, (despite prematurely dropping the aforementioned untethered sup yoga anchor) so the float test came when my two co-instructors and I took to the cove to practice rescues, pivot turns and braces. During a pivot turn, I spun off my board. Sure enough, the Croakies-clad Reflekts came off my face. But VIOLA! They floated comfortably without effort. Now, yes, the Croakies have a big orange float on them – so were the Reflekts languishing on the top of the water on their own, or simply because of the Croakies?
Only one way to find out.
I slipped the Croakies off the armatures and without hesitation, chucked them to Brenda to try. The look on her face when the throw fell short and the glasses landed with a splash was priceless.
The Reflekts did indeed float without the aid of the Croakies SFD (Sunglasses Floatation Device). Admittedly not as surface facing – they were hanging a little bit lower in the water, but they did not sink.
Naturally, the glasses were hard to see in the tea colored water. Hence, the Croakies went back on – not so much for buoyancy but for easier re-location and recovery after submersion.
Well done,Reflekt, well done.
The glasses performed admirably throughout the day. The lenses shed water nicely and the light weight is appreciated.
The polarization and tint on the Reflekt Echo might not be as good as some of the very high end sunglasses I have been wearing lately. The Echo I chose comes with Reflekt’s Core polarized lense, which has 12 percent visual light transmission. The Coloarblast is Reflekt’s better lens, so I am hoping to try a pair with that option to see how the view compares. I did try the Echoes out in a variety of lighting conditions, thanks to our ever changeable North Carolina weather. For the price point, which is about $99.00, they are comparable to other sunglasses in that range.
But most of those other sunglasses DO NOT FLOAT.
And here’s another thing most of those other sunglasses don’t come with – a real replacement guarantee. If you register your Reflekts online, via a very handy QR code on the box that you can scan with your phone, or on the website,then Reflekt will give you one replacement pair of glasses per purchase for loss. That’s right. You lose your glasses, Reflekt will send you a new pair, for a $35 processing fee. Once. There is a lifetime warranty for standard use damages in addition to the one shot replacement.
You just really can’t beat that.
Sure, you might find better sunglass lenses out there, but you’ll pay twice as much if not more for them and if you lose them, the tears and self-outrage will be plentiful. But if you spend as much time in the water as I do, the floating capacity is well-worth the trade-off, especially when you combine it with the awesome replacement policy. The Reflekts will be a permanent part of my Instructor’s Kit from now on.