Rudy Project Celebrates 2017 Elite Triathletes of the Year: Heather Jackson and Ben Kanute

Rudy Project North America, exclusive distributors of Italian-made sunglasses, helmets, and endurance sports gear, are celebrating Heather Jackson and Ben Kanute, both of whom were named USA Triathlon’s Elite Non-Drafting Triathlete of the Year.  Jackson, who claimed IRONMAN 70.3 victories at Peru, Chattanooga, Calgary, and Steelhead in 2017, rounded out her season with an inspiring 4th place finish at the IRONMAN® World Championships in Kona, and was the top American woman to cross the line. This is her second consecutive year being named one of USA Triathlon’s Elite Triathletes of the Year.

Ben Kanute, who just joined the Rudy Project family this year, raced on the draft-legal ITU circuit as well as non-drafting events in 2017. Last year was his breakout year on the non-drafting side, when he took first at Escape from Alcatraz and blew away the competition at IRONMAN® 70.3 World Championships when he took second. Kanute’s explosive, competitive racing style came into clear focus with his come-from-behind win at the 2017 Island House Invitational against New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone in an epic sprint finish.

“It’s this kind of no-holds-barred, sheer endurance racing style that make Heather and Ben such stars in the sport,” said Chris Lupo, Director of Sports Marketing for Rudy Project North America. “Heather’s historic podium at Kona in 2016 proved unequivocally that she’s a legend in the sport. To have them both on the Rudy Project team is a dream come true.”

2018 marks Heather Jackson’s third season racing with Rudy Project in both eyewear and helmets. Last year in Kona, where Rudy Project remains the #1 Most Worn Helmet, Jackson’s custom painted Wing57 aero helmet looked distinctive flying down the Queen K. This year she’ll continue racing in the Wing57 after groundbreaking wind tunnel testing, and she’s rocking the brand new Sintryx sunglass for maximum coverage during the bike and run.

Ben Kanute’s helmet of choice is the Boost 01 road aero helmet with integrated visor, a helmet that tested better than all competitors tested in the wind tunnel during a ProCycling Magazine wind tunnel test. During the run, Ben prefers the Tralyx XL for expanded coverage with photochromic ImpactX-2 lenses, and when he’s on the podium or on his way to the pool, Ben’s frame of choice is the casual Spinhawk in Carbonium with Multilaser Red lenses.

“I’m excited to be part of the Rudy Project team,” said Kanute. “Their products, helmets and sunglasses, are phenomenal, and the quality is far above anything else that’s out there. I’m thrilled to be a part of a team that includes champions like Heather Jackson and Cam Dye, and to be wearing the #1 Helmet at Kona.”

When she was told she had been named Triathlete of the Year for the second year running, Heather Jackson said “I’m honored! Thank you so much to the team at USA Triathlon, and I’m going to rock it this season!”

“Rudy has been a dominant force innovating in the sport of triathlon and all of us at Rudy Project are so excited and humbled that Ben and Heather have chosen to wear Rudy helmets and eyewear.  With their leadership along with the commitment of thousands of age groupers, we are excited to go for our 8th consecutive year of the ‘most worn helmet at Kona’ in 2018,” said Paul Craig, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America. “With the debut of two new aero helmets later in the year, we are looking forward to a fantastic 2018 and 2019.”

As the Official Helmet and Eyewear of USA Triathlon, Rudy Project is looking forward to a fantastic season on both the draft-legal and non-drafting side of triathlon. Look for more from Rudy Project on social media and follow us all the way to Kona!

Photos courtesy of and Wattie Ink.