FOAM Visionaries: Bryan Fox and Austin Smith of Drink Water

Whether they're game-changing entrepreneurs or inventing a new way to give back, the we got the chance to chat with eight people putting the rest of us to shame. Here, the FOAM Visionaries, as interviewed by their mentors and collaborators.

Role Model // Zinzi Edmundson // 05/29/12
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Bryan Fox and Austin Smith of Drink Water
Alessandra Olanow
Bryan Fox and Austin Smith of Drink Water

Sick of accepting sponsorship cash from drink companies whose products are high in sugar and caffeine, Bryan Fox and Austin Smith started scrawling “Drink Water” on all their gear—and became accidental ambassadors for a healthy lifestyle. The boys have rallied the sports community to join in their uncomplicated
and intelligent way of hydrating themselves and partnered with Water.org, Matt Damon’s project that assists communities in creating sustainable water supply systems. Here, the two friends discuss their idea incubation, their education outside the classroom and their partnership.

Smith: Hey Bryan. excited to see me [up on the mountain] later today?

Fox: Hell yeah. You know, you kind of sound like a 12-year-old girl on the phone.

Smith: Oh yeah? [laughs] Ok, remember when we first met?

Fox: We were both working at a snowboarding camp up on Mount Hood in Oregon. We had to spend all day, every day together. and then when the camp ended, we just... didn’t stop!

Smith: And now, we’re heterosexual life mates!

Fox: Business partners, too. Drink Water is our company that reminds everyone to do just that.

Smith: As a professional snowboarder I had the opportunity to promote energy drinks but I didn’t agree with it. Bryan and I never wanted to endorse anything that we didn’t fully support. Everyone else had a beverage sponsor, so we decided ours was going to be water. We literally just wrote Drink Water on our snowboards and it took off.

Fox: Right, that was when my brother Steve came in. He thought with something this big, we shouldn’t just be trying to sell t-shirts. We should do something worthwhile. He introduced us to Water.org—a company that all three of us felt really good about giving money to. Now, we’re best friends with Matt Damon.

Smith: You’ve never met him.

Fox: No, but it’s in the calendar. [laughs]

Smith: What’s the coolest thing that snowboarding and Drink Water has afforded you to do?

Fox:Snowboarding gave me opportunity for travel and personal growth. I didn’t go to college but I’ve learned about life through traveling. Now, everyone is psyched on promoting a healthy way of living so all our conversations include Drink Water.

Read our inspiring talk with surfer and humanitarian Emi Koch now!




Originally published in June/July 2012


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