Why Do Surfers Wear Hats?

If visiting the beach on those pleasant summer days is one of your favorite activities, you may have noticed surfers constantly wearing hats on the beach and while they are surfing. Do surfers have to wear hats while they are surfing, and why do they wear hats?

Surfers wear hats while surfing to protect their eyes and face from the sun’s rays, which can cause cancer. They also wear hats to help protect their eyes from glares on the water. Surfers wear hats to cover their hair from the sun and protect themselves from low air and water temperatures.

Four Reasons Why Surfers Wear Hats

There are four perfectly good reasons for surfers wearing hats while paddling out for a session on the waves.

While you may think they want to rock the stylish beach look, they have some other reasons for wearing hats, and you might be surprised to hear them:

Surfers Wear Hats To Protect Their Faces From The Sun

The first and most important reason for wearing hats while surfing is for skin protection. Throughout their lives, regular and professional surfers are constantly exposed to direct sunlight for several consecutive hours.

In most cases, surfers would be out in the water between 12 and 2 pm, which is the hottest, and most dangerous time to be in direct contact with the sun’s rays.

As a result, surfers have an increased risk of developing severe and less severe skin problems, and in the worst-case scenario, they could even develop skin cancer.

Skin cancer is neither a myth nor something that happens to others. Skin cancer is genuine, and it affects thousands of surfers and non-surfers every year.

Extreme cases of sunburn lead to an immense amount of pain and have the potential to develop into melanoma.

If surfers wear a high-quality wetsuit while covering their heads with a good surfing hat, they effectively do their part in protecting their faces from the strong and harmful ultraviolet rays.

Surfers Wear Hats To Protect Their Eyes From The Glare

If surfers come into overexposure to the sun’s ultra-violet light, it could cause them severe eye discomfort in the short term, and it will only worsen over time.

Pterygium, also known as a surfer’s eye, is a serious condition that is caused by exposure to irritants such as wind, sand, and ultraviolet light.

This will result in a fleshy, pink-colored growth on the white parts of the eyeball, and it impacts a surfer’s vision, both in and out of the water.

This is why surfers wear hats, to protect their eyes—using a hat while surfing will mitigate the harsh direct impact of the sunlight on a surfer’s eyes and help them to navigate the waves better when surfing in the direction of the sun.

Additionally, wearing sunglasses would be the best method of prevention for surfer’s eye. Still, sunglasses are not practical to swim or surf in.

However, it is advised to use a surfer hat, and some studies have found that hats with wide brims will effectively reduce the ultra-violet light that reaches their eyes by up to 50%!

Surfers Wear Hats To Protect Their Hair

The third reason why surfers wear hats is for hair protection. Unprotected exposure to the sun can dry out a surfer’s hair up to the point where it will damage the cuticle.

The cuticle is the outside cover of each hair strand, and if it gets damaged, hair will be prone to split ends and even breaking entirely.

On top of split ends and dry and brittle strands, lack of protection can also cause hair to discolor, get thinner, and look frizzy and unnurtured.

Protection Against Low Air And Water Temperatures

Last but not least, an educated surfer will use a hat to protect themselves from low air and water temperature.

A surfing hat provides surfers with an easy yet effective layer of protection against the cold environment close to the ocean, and it could even reduce the loss of body heat by 10%.

Also, if surfers cover their head with a high-quality surfer cap, they minimize their chances of getting brain freeze, which is also known as cold-stimulus headache.

Surfers will also wear hats to reduce the possibility of surfer’s ear, which could develop into ear infections.

What To Look For In The Perfect Surf Hat

A hat made for surfing has very unique and important requirements due to the beating it will take from the waves and salt water. If you started surfing recently as a hobby or know some surfers, this information would be good to know!

Choose Suitable Materials

Since a hat used for surfing will continuously get wet, you want to use a hat made of quick-dry material and not get damaged by the constant exposure to saltwater. The hat also needs to be constructed of lightweight material so that even when it’s wet, it won’t become uncomfortable.

Go For A Hat With A Chinstrap

The ideal surfing hat would be one that doesn’t fall or get blown off while in the water, so the obvious solution would be to choose one with a chinstrap.

Keeping a hat secure while surfing is the most challenging thing, as its design needs to be perfect to endure the many movements and forces from the waves.

However, be aware of hats with chinstraps made of rope, as a big swell could potentially snatch it away, and the hat will be lost forever! The very best and high-quality surf hat designs will manage to stay in place even after the harshed wipeout.

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Consider The Style

Since the primary reason for wearing surfing hats is to offer surfers protection from the sun, it only makes sense to choose a design that will provide only the best.

A hat with a brim all the way around it will protect a surfer’s face and neck from the sun.

Wide-brimmed hats and surfer caps will also offer some sun protection, but they may be less secure or flexible after a while.


Now that you know precisely why surfers wear hats, you might change your mind when you see a surfer with a hat in the waves. Surfing hats could be very comfortable and do not impact the activity negatively in any way.

If you know a surfer who is out in the sun for several hours without a hat, you might want to share some information with them!