A couple of professional snowboarders, Bryan Fox and Austin Smith, have started a “Drink Water” campaign to combat what they see as a troublesome trend: the heavy marketing of energy drinks like Red Bull and Rockstar at sporting events in general and snowboarding competitions in particular. As part of their campaign for water in favor of energy drinks, Fox and Smith sell stickers, jackets, T-shirts and sweatshirts with the Drink Water logo design.

Fox and Smith’s opposition is based on the drinks’ ingredients, which include sugar, caffeine, guarana (a plant that contains caffeine), taurine and ginseng, along with the size of doses found in servings. Unlike sodas, energy drinks are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“[T]here’s many physiological effects large quantities of caffeine can have. Increasing blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate,” says Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine who has studied the effects of energy drinks for a decade. “In some, it can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, and hyperactivity and anxiety in young people.”

Other snowboarders have started wearing the Drink Water sweatshirts at competitions and in videos. But the feedback isn’t all positive. According to Smith, a television crew member at a New Zealand snowboarding event was asked to remove his Drink Water sweatshirt. But negative incidents have been minimal so far.

Fox and Smith are donating 10 percent of their profits to Water.org, a nonprofit that provides clean water and sanitation in Africa, southern Asia and Central America.

“We’re saying, ‘Do whatever you want,” according to Smith, “but you can drink water and be just as cool.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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