A year ago, I spent a day at the beach with my partner and her family in Huskisson. My partner was underneath the classic umbrella all day and to everyone’s surprise when we arrived home in the evening – she was the most sunburnt. I was confused as to how this could happen and began to research to find out more…
It turns out that firstly the umbrella used did not offer UPF treated fabric – meaning that harmful UV rays could penetrate the fabric of the umbrella.
Secondly, it has been demonstrated via studies1 that the actual sun protection factor of an umbrella “is probably between 3 and 7 in real-life” (assuming the fabric blocks out almost all harmful rays). This is due to the reflective rays that bounce off surrounding surfaces. Since the umbrella only blocks rays from above, the user underneath is susceptible to harmful rays from all other directions.
Despite this, the classic umbrella is still the sunshade of choice (from our surveys at Australian Beaches). The alternatives made an appearance here and there but didn’t really kick off – in particular for the under 25 age group – from my presumption that they were either too bulky, too hard to put up or considered unfashionable.
Now the umbrella addresses most key factors everyone desires for convenience and style but lacks when it comes to offering significant shade and sun protection. When the structure was invented over 4,000 years ago, I had a feeling there must be a better way to enjoy the beach and outdoors and it was time for something new
Imagine if you could go to the beach with a light, compact shade over the shoulder that you didn’t need to publicly embarrass yourself trying to assemble. It offers significant sun protection and even better, it looks good so people will actually bother bringing it with them in the first place.
This is what we have been working on for the last year and a half. To design and create a sunshade that is compact, lightweight, easy to assemble, disassemble, offers sun protection from the top and 3 out of 4 sides and looks good. Lucky, we like a challenge so we went to the drawing board.
After many revisions, different structures and attempting to simplify – we came up with the Pyramid Shade.
The Pyramid Shade uses simple telescoping poles, which can extend almost 6 times their retracted length without the need to push any pins or locks. Australian certified, UPF blocking fabric is used providing shelter from 3 (and a bit) out of 4 sides. This significantly reduces diffracted rays. Sand pockets so you don’t need to bother with pegs and ropes - and stylish patterns!
So join us in the sunshade revolution – providing a sunshade you will want to take everywhere with you!
Product launch on Kickstarter: August 2018.
- Ou-Yang, Hao & Shyr, Thomas. (2017). Sun protection by umbrellas and walls. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci.. 16. 10.1039/C7PP00214A.