I was at the beach with my family last summer and it was a beautiful, sunny day. I didn’t realize how bright it was until I changed into my wetsuit and headed out to go surfing.
As I stopped beside my wife and daughter who were playing in the sand, my wife looked at the sun’s reflection off the waves and said, “Why don’t you wear a hat?”
I can’t remember my answer from that day, but I wanted to share my thoughts and provide some more detail below.
Wearing a hat while surfing will help protect your face and your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. The biggest challenge is keeping a surf hat from falling off your head. The turbulent water created by breaking waves will remove anything from your body that isn’t secured tightly, including hats.
I realize that not every surfer is a fan of wearing a hat in the water, but there are a number of benefits to be considered. Read on for the 7 Important Things you Need to Know about Surfing Hats.
1. Surfing Hats Help Shield Your Face from the Sun
A recent study from Bond University in Queensland, Australia, found that skin cancer rates for surfers were 3 times higher than the general public. The largest percentage of skin cancer cases reported in the study, was skin cancer on the face. Read the article here on PubMed.
I’ve had cancer and it sucked. It wasn’t skin cancer from sun exposure but it still sucked. If you are someone that is sensitive to the sun or have a history of skin cancer, wearing a hat while surfing is a great option to protect your head and face from the sun, which are the two areas most vulnerable to skin cancer.
2. Surf Hats Will Help Protect your Eyes From the Glare
An over exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet light can cause eye discomfort in the short term and more serious conditions over the long term.
Surfer’s eye, or Pterygium, is a condition caused by exposure to irritants like sand, wind and an overexposure to ultra violet light. It results in a pink, fleshy growth on the white part of the eyeball that can begin to impact your vision.
Obviously, wearing sun glasses is the best prevention method for surfer’s eye but they are not always practical to surf in, but wearing a hat is recommended as well. Some studies have found that wide brimmed hats can reduce the ultra-violet light reaching our eyes by up to 50 per cent.
For greater eye protection, try a surfing hat.
3. How to Make Sure a Surfing Hat Doesn’t Fall Off
The biggest problem with wearing a hat while surfing is that it won’t stay on your head. There are many different strategies to keep a hat on your head while surfing, including:
- Tightening an adjustable hat so it is extra tight on your head and won’t come off in the surf
- Tying a string from your rashguard/wetsuit/vest to your hat so it stays attached to you when it come off
- Wearing a surfing specific hat with a chin strap, like the Surf Munkey hats in the following Video:
4. Surf Hats Come in Many Different Styles
From Do it yourself (DIY) to buying off the shelf, there is a wide range of surf hats for you to consider. Pretty much every major surfing company has a number of different styles of surfing hats, including, technical hats, trucker hats, bucket hats, floppy hats, indo style hats, straw hats and hats for kids.
Many of the hats come with a built in chin strap to keep the hat connected to your head. Other hats provide a wide, round brim for extra sun protection, hidden pockets and some styles even float.
The ultimate hat style, which combines all of the features in one would be the indo hat. Made from synthetic, quick dry material, the indo hat includes a wide, round brim for maximum sun protection, fold away chinstrap and a neck protector flap for those long days on the water.
5. Make a Do-It Yourself (DYI) Surf Hat by adding a Strap
With some creativity and a little handy work, you can make a solid, secure surfing hat with things you already own. If you own a hat, string and scissors, you can make a surf hat that you won’t lose in the ocean. As well, you can go on YouTube and find inspiration from all the Do it yourself Videos.
On my last surfing trip to Mexico, I tied a shoe lace from my trucker hat to my rash guard. I didn’t spend much time putting it together but it prevented me from losing my hat when it came off my head. I quickly found out that tying a string from my hat to my rash guard every session wasn’t the most efficient process.
Watch the video below for a better option.
6. Surf Hats Are Stylish! Don’t listen to the Naysayers
In all honesty, when I told a surfing friend that I was going to write an article about surfing hats, they said “Number 1, don’t wear a surfing hat!” Obviously, it was meant to be a funny joke, but there is truth to the fact that people care about what they look like and surfing hats get a bad rap for their cool factor, or lack thereof.
If you are reading this article, it’s likely for one of three reasons:
- You are thinking about wearing a surfing hat
- You have worn a hat while surfing at some point
- You are thinking about getting a hat for your child
Just a reminder: Don’t worry about what you look like! I have seen plenty of really talented surfers wearing surfing hats. I have even seen someone absolutely ripping the waves apart in a Speedo, a helmet and nothing else. There isn’t a required surfing uniform – so anything goes!
7. Pack a Surf Hat When Going to the Beach
It is important to check the weather before going surfing so that you can decide on what to bring to the beach. Most surfers will adjust their packing based on the forecast.
In smaller waves, with lulls between wave sets, it is easier to keep a hat on your head while surfing. As the conditions become more intense, including wind and bigger waves, it becomes more difficult to paddle, duck dive and surf with a hat on your head.
Always pack a hat and you can be prepared for whatever conditions await at the beach.
What is the Cost of a Surfing Hat?
The cost of a surfing specific hat ranges from $20-$50 depending on what style or brand ends up working for you. At the end of the day, it’s a small price to pay for extra protection from the sun.
I have listed a few of the different options with costs in the table below.