Stronger, lighter, better. The Sweet mantra can be traced back to a school paper from 1988, made by one of the founders and design manager, Ståle N. Møller. A pioneering and visionary industrial designer on a relentless mission to let action sport enthusiasts benefit from the properties of high tech materials and manufacturing methods. Ståle´s mission was fueled by ideas and inspiration drawn from California's unique board cultures. This fusion meant that
Stronger, lighter, better. The Sweet mantra can be traced back to a school paper from 1988, made by one of the founders and design manager, Ståle N. Møller. A pioneering and visionary industrial designer on a relentless mission to let action sport enthusiasts benefit from the properties of high tech materials and manufacturing methods. Ståle´s mission was fueled by ideas and inspiration drawn from California's unique board cultures. This fusion meant that outstanding functionality and performance in itself was not enough. The distinctive design and attitude should be reflected in the product, by its essential role in the creation of each concept.
Some years down the road, and the scribbles on a paper have become the core of a unique brand identity, and in the process the mantra has evolved into a purified sentence: We create superior protection inspiring people to push their boundaries.
Sweet Protection histroy building the first skate ramp in TrysilSkateboarding was prohibited in Norway until 1989, as the only country in the world. Judged to dangerous by the government, the fuse was lit. When the skate movie “Thrasin'” came to the Norwegian mountain town Trysil in 1986, four wheels on a board got a kick-start. The boys didn’t´ care about the authorities, they wanted to skate. Growing up in a small town in the deep forests of eastern Norway, these kids were clueless of how the banned sport of skateboarding was developing in other parts of Norway. Pre-Internet and before cellphones, the crew got more cultural input from California than Oslo through a priest frequently travelling to the nearby Swedish border. Transworld Skateboarding and Thrasher Magazine were smuggled in to Trysil with cultural vibes from the west coast of USA. In surf style, the local shredders were supplied with handmade boards made of fine Norwegian wood out of the garage of Ståle´s parents. A typical “cause and effect” for creative and energetic minds. Ståle´s first brand was born, and the name, Bushmade Skateboards, was characterized by the precautions surrounding their illegal skating scene. Together they had built a 7 meter high vert ramp hidden in the woods, and this was where it all went down until the prohibition law was repealed and a better ramp was built in the center of town.
With the crew skating, kayaking, snowboarding and skiing, Ståle was always busy improving and creating clothing and equipment for the boys, even making his own snowboard. And with abilities and interests like this, obviously the world needed to be explored. In the mid 90’s, they made the clothes and backpacks they wanted and needed for the expeditions themselves. Off course, built to stand the harsh conditions on the biggest mountains.
In 1997, freestyle kayaking was gaining ground. Sweet Protection history Ståle Møller making a new kayakThe existing kayaks were crap, and Ståle made a kayak revolution by developing a Kevlar wonder for his friend and top kayaker; Erik Martinsen. This was the first spark of the Sweet brand emerging, with a plan of starting a kayak company called “SNM (Ståle Norman Møller) Playboats”. It kind of vanished in the haze, with Ståle still in design school. Instead he made another head turner, a carbon fiber helmet Erik could use in the freestyle kayaking world championships. The kayak equipment of those days was kind of ‘soviet agricultural chic', and Ståle's innovative approach and fresh design was breathtaking. Everybody wanted it, and soon the garage production from the early “Bushmade Skateboards” days was keeping family and neighbors awake at night again.
In 1999 Gøran, a member of the crew, came up with the idea of establishing a new company: “Sweet North”. Growing into action sport enthusiasts, the knowledge of the elements was fundamental for successful and safe days playing in the rivers. The aim was to integrate their uncompromising demand for quality and functionality into innovative products. Bringing these values and insights into the winter scene made sense, because their awareness of, and attention to, equipment and it´s performance was relentless. Half of the name was dropped, and Sweet was born.
Sweet Protection history whitewater kayaking
2000 - 2005
The company was founded in 2000, and one of the first moves was to approach another uncompromising Norwegian; snowboard legend Terje Håkonsen. He saw the potential in the helmet prototype that was presented, and joined the team. With Terje onboard, Sweet made the move from the local garage to the international scene. The close collaboration with Terje, in the development of products, made Sweet realize the importance of team riders´ input. Today no Sweet products leave Trysil without the influence of the team.
In 2003 Sweet made their first ISPO appearance, and immediately won the Brand New Award for best newcomer. The products presented had close ties to the initial, homemade gear the boys used exploring mountains in their youth. The importance of functionality and quality in the mountains has from the start been a core value of the company, and a cornerstone in the design principles. A seamless flow of feel and function, distinctive in design and style.
Products introduced in the period:
The Rooster and Strutter helmets 2001
The Trooper helmet and technical clothing 2005
Norwegian Design Council’s Award for Design Excellence. Both Rooster and Strutter helmets – 2001
ISPO “Brand New Award” – 2003
Playboating Magazine, ”Best piece of software of the decade” – 2004
Men’s Journal USA, ”Best gear of the year” – 2004
Norwegian Design Council’s Award for Design Excellence. Both Trooper helmet and Crusader apparel – 2005
Norwegian Design Council’s Honours Award, Trooper helmet – 2005
Norwegian Design Council’s Honours Award, Crusader Outerwear – 2005