Action sport athletes endorsing products is nothing new. Since traditionally there has been little "salary" from boardsports themselves, sponsorships tend to pay the bills over prize money. Endemic brands provide a path to credibility within the space, and a base income for many, but often it’s the larger companies from outside the industry that help athletes get ahead.
However, when a surfer appears in ads with mainstream athletes who are household names in every home in America, that's a new story that garners discussion – especially when it’s a young brand that’s just getting started, and even more so when the company calls NBA all-star Kobe Bryant a founding athlete.
Erickson is the only surfer and woman featured in the campaign, which also includes Bryant, the Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, the Houston Rockets' James Harden, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Juju Smith Schuster, motocross Champ Ken Roczen and skate legend Ryan Sheckler.
The debut product line includes deodorant, antiperspirant, hair and body wash, body bar, sunscreen and a soon-to-be released ultra-strength recovery cream. The idea is to provide an athlete's skin with everything it needs and no extra chemicals. The brand is geared toward all athletes, at all levels. A spokesperson for the brand explained that AOS is just getting started, and as they continue to grow, will build an athlete roster and products that speak to all athletes.
"Being a professional surfer, I pretty much live in the ocean,” Erickson tells TransWorld Business. “For me, sun care is essential not only for its benefits to reduce sun pigmentation and anti-aging, but also the more common concern for skin cancer. With UV levels growing stronger throughout the world, the seriousness in prevention is very real.”
For Erickson, the AOS brand ethos and its attention to natural ingredients is what made it stand out: “I will never represent a brand that I feel lacks honesty when it comes to their intentions in their product,” Erickson says. “Being an athlete, I look for the meaning and purpose in everything. My connection with the ocean runs parallel to my well-being, just [the same] as representing brands that make a difference in people's lives.”
Art of Sport’s line is created without parabens, oxybenzone, PABA, MIT/MCIT, talc and 1, 4 dioxane. For Erickson, at the end of the day, it's one less boundary to contain her.
"I feel we should choose quality over quantity every time. Whether I’m out surfing, having a beach day or even cross training in the mountains, I know I’m covered and protected with Art of Sport. This gives me peace of mind and also gives me an edge to push harder and longer in the elements if choose to.”
An athlete of Erickson’s status gets plenty of offers for endorsements. Being a top American name in the sport since her junior career, Erickson fought on the World Qualifying Series for five years and landed herself on the World Championship Tour in 2017. As a rookie that year, she won the Vans US Open. She has cracked the Top Ten the last two seasons.
Erickson has a good fit with her primary sponsor RVCA and is very marketable on an broad international level (she made Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 list a few years ago) so she certainly has her choice when it comes to endorsement deals.
For AOS, the ambassador selection process was based on an individual basis and key factors surrounding each athlete and their disciplines.
“We partnered with a group of world-class athletes from different sports who are committed to getting better and were passionate about the opportunity to build a brand from the ground up,” said Art of Sport’s spokesperson. “Sage is one of the top athletes in the world in her sport and her commitment to pushing herself further is inspiring. Her insights have helped shape the development of products and the brand.”
So what was it like to appear with such widely recognized figures?
“It feels [like] exactly where I’m supposed to be,” Sage confides. “I see this team not for their status but for their love of their sport and passion for the game. My teammates have committed their lives to that quiet little voice that says, ‘I can do anything, as long as I work harder than the next.’ I’m honored and truly humbled to be a part of something special from the beginning.”
She also admits that these particular athletes have had a specific impact on her throughout her life.
“It’s so funny – I’m from California so of course, my family has been Lakers fans since I was born,” she says. “My brother has been obsessed with Kobe since day one and so I always had to be Shaq to elevate his game when we were kids on our home court. It feels surreal to be a part of this with [Kobe]. I’ve loved Sheckler’s street presence in skate and I now have a hilarious obsession with JuJu.”
On a more serious note, Erickson says she views her inclusion in AOS’ campaign as symbolic of her journey and the motivation to get to where she is today.
“Being on a team of incredible athletes that all started from nothing and made a lifestyle and career out of a dream is so inspiring,” she adds. “I’m not saying you need to be an athlete to have dreams, but I think we’ve all recognized our need and passion for what we love. Not fearing the possibility of fear but rather finding the drive in our weakness until they’re made our strength.”
All products are available now at (with the Recovery Cream set to launch in the near future) and Amazon. Prices range from $8.95 to $13.95.
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