It’s 75 years since Wham-O became one of our favorite pastimes but the Frisbee, Hacky Sack, Slip N Slide, and Hula Hoop are still going strong! Founded in 1948, Wham-O’s portfolio of fun activity products are more relevant than ever as we look for reasons to break away from our ever-increasing collection of devices and seek more physically challenging pursuits.
M&F talked to the company’s president, Todd Richard’s to reflect on how Wham-O maintains its place in popular culture.
“Wham-O items connect to any and all age groups as fun, outdoor activities,” says Richards, who admits that staff summer outings regularly revolve around “Frisbee Fridays.”
Did you know that the humble Frisbee could help you burn upwards of 200 calories per hour? And, if you’re super competitive and play “Ultimate” Frisbee in which, traditionally, teams of seven are pitted against each other, you could scorch around 573 calories in the same timeframe.
But best of all, playing with Wham-O products never feels like prescribed exercise. Richards’ personal favorite products include the Morey Boogie Board. “It is the essence of California beach life!” he says. Boogie or bodyboarding is also great for your cardiovascular health and will help increase muscle strength too. “For some great cardio and core work, try our stand-up paddleboards,” adds Richards. But who is thinking about making gains when riding a wave? Therein lies the beauty of making exercise part of your lifestyle!
Ditch the Digital and Head Outdoors for Family Fun
Fortunately, Wham-O activities are not being lost to the digital age. Despite the distractions of Netflix, Twitch, and countless other streaming services, Richards shares that ultimate frisbee, Frisbee golf, boogie boarding, and surfing are highly popular activities among the teenage market. These physically demanding sports are firmly embedded in popular culture and continue to be passed down from generation to generation. “Wham-O items are great for family gatherings and outings,” he says. “Like a party in the backyard or park, or a day at the beach or a lake.”
Playing active games with friends and family is great fun of course, but being physical brings other benefits too. You may not realize the productive hours spent working your heart and muscles while engaging in exciting challenges, and this is helpful because you’ll soon complete the recommended weekly target of 150 minutes per week of exercise without realizing it, leading to better health outcomes such as a reduced chance of heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
Looking for a new way to get the heart pumping? “Our Hula-Hoop will get you sweating!” says Richards. The first Hula-Hoops were launched in 1958 and the world has been shaking it until me make it ever since, burning around 200 calories for a 30-minute session in the process.
As the president of Wham-O, Richards literally has the keys to the toy store and is also a massive fan of the Super Ball, the bouncing rubber ball released by Wham-O in 1964. Reportedly, McGeorge Bundy, who was a U.S. National Security Advisor to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, once had 60 Super Ball’s shipped to the White House to entertain the staff. And, our addiction to the Super Ball still has momentum to this day. “The bouncing energy keeps you playing with it and you just can’t stop,” enthuses Richards.
Wham-O’s mission includes a commitment to “bringing people together and fostering a sense of community Arthur “Spud” Melin through play.” Indeed, what began as a small company founded by Richard Knerr and in 1948 is now a household brand, and in honor of its 75th anniversary, Wham-O has released special editions of those classic products to sit alongside newer challenges. So, no matter your age, whether you are heading to hotter climates or ready for some snow, perhaps you should reconnect with fun fitness and check out Wham-O online.