Friday 1 July 2022

Oakley eye protection tested in remote Australian waters

#expeditioncruising .

When Oakley sent me a pair of superb Clifden prescription sunglasses for trialling on my motorcycle, I was thrilled. These are lightweight, tough, super comfortable and come standard with protective rubber side guards, nose bridge and crystal clear PRIZM lenses.

While they were perfectly acceptable for use on any of my bikes, they worked best, I found, inside a full-face helmet with the rubber frame accessories removed. As I mostly use open-face helmets, I found I favoured other glasses for this purpose. But then …

In something of a surprise move, I was asked to work as an expedition guide in the Kimberley. This meant I would be spending many hours outside in the unforgiving desert sun driving Zodiac RIBs on the rivers and leading hikes and walks into the rocky outcrops ashore. 

Seeing how Oakley’s designs have already found favour with all kinds of outdoorsy folk from skiers and boardriders to mountaineers and trekkers, it follows that the Western Australian remote Northwest is the perfect test environment for my new Clifdens.

The side shields and nose bridge provide extra glare protection from the harsh sun out here, especially the reflections from the water we know can blindside the unwary. Wind and dust are both extra factors that can cause dry, stinging eyes and these cool accoutrements work a treat.

Of course, the Clifdens come in the attractive and practical Oakley zippered clamshell case along with a fabric pouch, but another thoughtful attachment is the steel lanyard that is attached to the ends of the arms with a clever snap-tight clasp that makes them virtually unlosable. 

Clifdens are customisable and come in a range of both lens and frame colours. You can even choose your own Oakley icon colour.

Silvia and I with our Oakleys aboard ship

When I met my team aboard, one member stood out with her Oakley Turbines. Silvia Furtwaengler is a German professional dog-musher living in Norway and a long way from home. We got chatting and I asked her about her choice of eye protection.

“These are the best sunglasses I’ve ever owned,” she says without blinking, “I use them in the snow, out on the water and even just working in the yard.”

Now, when I say “dog-mushing” I don’t mean walking poodles in the park. Silvia drives a team of 8-10 dogs hundreds of kilometres at sub-zero temperatures across the Arctic in races like the legendary Iditarod and Yukon Quest. This is serious stuff where you just don’t cut corners.”

“The Oakleys are just so versatile, durable and comfortable. I have to wear them for hours every day in the worst weather and your eyes deserve the best protection you can give them.”

As an accomplished author and photographer, this kind of endorsement goes much farther than my couple of weeks in the Kimberley sun and reinforces why professionals choose the best brands to protect them. How much do you value your eyes?


Model tested: Oakley Clifden with prescription Plutonite® lenses*

RRP: A$257.00 (with PRIZM lenses)
- polarised, add $80
- discuss your individual requirements with an optometrist before ordering prescription lenses.

Available online and from all OPSM stores

*Plutonite®, Oakley's patented lens material, is built to protect eyes against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun‘s thermonuclear furnace.

  • Inherent in the lens material
  • 100% protection against every wavelength of UV radiation
  • 100% protection throughout the entire lens
  • Blocks 100% of UVA, UVB & UVC rays
  • The lens material is designed and manufactured for Oakley®. It is made from a form of optical polycarbonate.

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