5 Best Surf Hats: Surfing Hats to Stop Sun

sunward bound surf hat

As someone who recently discovered the incredible benefits of wearing surf hats while catching those perfect waves, I can’t help but emphasise its game-changing difference. That’s why I wanted to review the best surf hats for you.

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just dipping your toes into the world of riding the waves, the right surf hat is your ally in the battle against the blazing sun.

Picture this: you’re out on the beach, the sun is rising over the ocean, and as you paddle out, that hat not only shields your skin from the harsh UV rays but also banishes the blinding glare.

It may feel a bit strange at first, but the freedom it offers to fully enjoy your surf sessions, especially during those bright morning hours, is worth it.

So, let’s dive into some fantastic surf cap designs that will keep you protected and enhance your surfing experience all summer.

Importance of Wearing a Hat While Surfing

Wearing a hat while surfing isn’t just about making a fashion statement; it’s an essential accessory that can make or break your surfing session. The sun’s rays can be incredibly harsh when reflected off the water’s surface, posing risks of sunburns and long-term skin damage.

A good surf hat provides reliable UV protection with its wide brim or specialised fabrics blocking harmful rays. Moreover, it also acts as a barrier against annoying glare, allowing you to keep an eye on those incoming sets without squinting.

But protection aside, wearing a suitable hat while catching waves also offers practical advantages. For example, paddling or duck-diving through incoming waves helps keep your hair out of your face.

This keeps your vision clear and ensures you don’t miss any crucial swells approaching you. Additionally, when weather conditions turn less favourable with solid winds blowing spray into your face or cold temperatures chilling your head, wearing a well-fitted surf cap or bucket hat can provide added comfort and insulation.

Whether you’re an avid surfer chasing those barrels day in and day out or someone who hits the beach occasionally for some fun in the waves, investing in a quality surfing hat should be a no-brainer. It protects your skin and eyes from the elements and enhances your overall surfing experience by keeping you comfortable and focused on riding the perfect wave.

Types of Surfing Hats

  1. Bucket Hat: Bucket hats are a classic choice for surfers. They offer excellent sun protection for your face, neck, and ears. Their wide brims create a shield against harmful UV rays, and they’re often made from quick-drying materials to keep you comfortable in the water.
  2. Surfing Cap: Surf caps are sleek, snug-fitting hats designed to stay securely on your head, even in the most intense waves. They’re typically made from neoprene, which provides insulation and warmth in cooler waters. Surf caps are perfect for those seeking a balance between sun protection and functionality.
  3. Rash Guard with Hood: I didn’t even know these existed until researching for this article, and what a fantastic idea! This versatile option combines sun protection for your upper body with coverage for your head and neck. It’s ideal for surfers who want to minimise the number of items they wear in the water.
  4. Legionnaire Hat: Legionnaire hats come with an extended flap at the back to cover your neck, making them an excellent choice for added sun protection. They’re typically made from lightweight, quick-drying materials, ensuring comfort during your surf sessions.
  5. Snapback Hat: If style is as important to you as functionality, consider a snapback hat with a surf-inspired design. While it may provide less sun coverage than other options, it can be a great choice for before or after your surf session when you want to maintain your beach look.

When choosing the right surf hat, consider the climate, water temperature, and your comfort. Whatever your preference, wearing a suitable surf hat is an essential part of staying safe and enjoying your time in the water.

Best Surf Hats

Best Surf Bucket Hat: Billabong Surf Bucket Hat

surfing hat

Billabong Surf Hats are inexpensive and designed to be suitable for swimming. The trendy yet practical bucket hat is perfect for wearing full-spectrum head protection from all directions. Made with an integrated polyester elastane blend, this headband fits snugly and won t get lost.

The hat is made of military-neutral colours, and the standard, brimmed bucket hat is sized for everyone. It’s padded for stability against the waves and has elasticated Neoprene chin straps. the Billabong Surf Bucket hat. Hats can easily be purchased at an affordable cost. Buckets and many surf hats will become very popular this year.

My Favourite

El Dingo

best surf hats

Introducing the El Dingo Mango Tango Wide Brim Surf Bucket Hat with UPF 50+ sun protection – the perfect choice for surfers seeking optimal sun coverage and a vibrant look. This wide-brimmed bucket hat is designed to shield your ears, one of the most sun-exposed areas, while providing excellent sun protection.

The reinforced front brim stays firm even when wet, ensuring your vision remains unobstructed, allowing for better visibility in the waves and protection from sun glare. With soft neoprene straps, an adjustable back strap, and a removable paracord strap, this hat offers both comfort and versatility.

Gone are when surfing hats only come in primary colours like beige or black. Nowadays, you’ll find an exciting array of options to suit any taste or mood.

From vibrant hues that pop against ocean waves to subtle earth tones that blend seamlessly with nature, there is a colour palette for every surfer’s preference.

If patterns are more up your alley, fear not! Surfing hats come in various eye-catching designs, ranging from tropical prints featuring palm trees and hibiscus flowers to bold geometric patterns that add an edgy touch.

Additionally, some brands collaborate with artists who create unique artwork for their best surf hats ever – allowing you to wear something unique. When choosing colours and patterns for your surf bucket and best overall surf hat ever, consider your personal style and the environment you’ll be surfing in.

Opt for brighter shades to stand out on gray and overcast days, or choose earthy tones that complement the breathtaking landscapes of your favourite surf spots.

With endless possibilities, you can find a surfing hat that protects you from the sun, complements your individuality, and enhances your overall look while catching those epic waves.

Sunward Bound

surf hat, sunflower

I am personally using this hat and love it!

Here is a review from their website:

I used this hat at Cloud Break in Fiji 2-3+ ft (traditional) a well-respected surf lineup; it held its shape well, did not flop and stayed on my head! Its the only hat I can duck dive with. I’ve had this hat for 2 years now and had no issues; no seams coming loose, still in shape, fashionable as hell. I recommended it for everyday wear. The brims are wide enough to keep the sun out of my face and small enough not to have any obstruction of view. I use this sun hat mostly as a water videographer/photographer, and the colours help me be seen more in the line up! And who wouldn’t want a sunflower hat!?

Patagonia Surf Brim Hat

Patagonia surf hat

All of us are impressed by Patagonia’s products. Its gear is excellent yet affordable and has become the world’s leading surf athletes and a source of inspiration for several eco-surfing brands formed in the past years.

FCS Wet Bucket Surf Hat

FCS has produced Surf Hat since the 1970s. They have the best surf hats ever that are simple without problems. Lots of size options and a few nice bright colours.

Best Utility Surf Hat: Dakine Indo Bucket Hat

Whether surfing or surfing, you should look for the Dakine Indo Bucket Hat. It’s suited as a bucket hat for scuba activities and designed for water and onshore use. It features waterproof fabric & comes with a chin strap and straps that secure your hat during the surf session.

The bucket hat is a quick-drying polyester tatslan fabric and is UV protected with UV protection at UV50+. It also has an adjustable chin strap, which can securely attach the hat during duck diving.

Best Surf Cap: Kaiola Surf Hat

Designed for surfers, it has an athletic look. Kaiola Surf Hats feature an adjustable chin strap and straps, a solid lens for paddle vision, internal headbands, and a lighter, easy-to-use textile material. This hat provides UPF 85 sun shield and floats to prevent your head from falling during a wipe-out.

The hat comes in 2 sizes, accommodating the larger sizes and several colour combinations. Designed for water, it has easy-to-dry fabric. Its high ratings make it very popular among surfers around the world. While i love the style of these hats, they are a bit on the pricey side.

Do you need help perfecting your duck dive or turtle roll technique? I Have the perfect article for you here.

Rip Curl Wetty Surf Cap

rip curl wetty surfin ghat

Wetty Surf Caps are reliable, comfortable and stylish all-round product. This includes an optional detachable neck protector neck flap or neck flap that could irritate and is much less painful than skin cancer surgeries. It’s nice to have floating brims. The clip is nice but unsuitable for head-high and larger waves.

Dakine Surf Cap

I really like these trucker-style caps. Breathing mesh on the chin strap neck protection ears offers even more protection.

Best Rashy with Hood

Florence Marine X

The Florence Marine X Long Sleeve Hooded Rashguard is a game-changer for water enthusiasts. With its light compression fit, UPF 50+ rating for sun protection, and 4-way stretch, it’s designed to keep you comfortable in the water.

The three-panel hood provides additional sun protection during extended water sessions, while the recycled polyethylene visor ensures comfort against your head.

This rashguard is not only functional but also environmentally conscious, made from 80% recycled nylon and 20% spandex. Whether you’re a surfer, swimmer, or simply love spending time in the water, this rashguard is a must-have for added comfort and protection.

O’Neill Psycho Hooded UV Long Sleeve Rash Vest

The “Psycho Hooded UV Long Sleeve Rash Vest” by O’NEILL is a must-have for surfers seeking premium protection from the elements. Crafted with 8oz Nylon/Spandex, it offers a slim fit and a range of sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) to ensure a comfortable and snug feel.

With UV Protection U.P.F 50+ and integrated rash protection, this hooded vest shields you from the sun and provides the perfect blend of style and functionality for your surfing adventures.

If you’re interested in learning how to get more waves by dialling into the ocean tides check this article out.

Legionnaire Hat

Ocean & Earth

The G-Land Legionnaire Surf Cap is your perfect companion for staying sun-safe while enjoying the surf. Designed with a legionnaire for added neck coverage, this lightweight and comfortable cap will keep you protected so you can spend more time in the waves.

It features a 6-panel legionnaire cap style and comes in a sleek black color. With one size fits most, you can enjoy your surf sessions with confidence and protection. Don’t compromise on sun safety – grab your G-Land Legionnaire Surf Cap today.

Snapback Surfing Cap

Ocean and Earth

Introducing the Mens Kuta Mesh Trucker surf cap – your ideal companion for staying sun-safe during surf adventures. Crafted from lightweight and quick-drying materials, this technical surf cap combines the style of a traditional trucker cap with added mesh over the ears for enhanced sun protection.

This cap covers you whether you’re hitting the waves or lounging on the beach. Don’t compromise on sun safety – grab your Kuta Mesh Trucker today and enjoy your time in the sun without worries.

Factors to Consider: What hat to wear while surfing

Fit and Comfort Considerations

When finding the perfect surf hat that to wear while surfing and catching those epic waves, fit and comfort should be at the top of your priorities. A surf hat that doesn’t fit properly can easily get swept away by the strong ocean breeze, leaving you unprotected.

Look for sizing options best hats that cater specifically to your head circumference or opt for hats with adjustable features like drawstrings or chin straps. These features ensure brim hat is a snug fit that will stay put even during gnarly wipeouts.

Moreover, sweat-wicking properties are crucial for enhanced comfort while underwater. The last thing you want is a soggy hat clinging to your head, making you feel uncomfortable and distracting you from the thrill of surfing.

Choose hats made from materials such as polyester or nylon that have moisture-wicking capabilities. This will help keep your head cool and dry by absorbing and quickly evaporating sweat, allowing you to focus on riding those waves like a pro.

Sun Protection Features

hat to wear while surfing

A reliable surf hat not only shields you from the sun’s harmful rays but also protects your face and neck from burns when spending long hours in the water. When searching for the best surfing hats, please pay attention to UPF ratings, which indicate their level of ultraviolet protection factor.

Higher UPF ratings offer excellent protection against UV radiation, reducing your risk of sunburns and long-term skin damage. Brim size and coverage area are vital considerations when selecting a suitable surfing hat.

A top hat features a broader, wider brim that provides extra shade for your face and neck while blocking glare and enhancing visibility in and out of the water. Look for hats with brims that extend beyond just covering your forehead; this ensures maximum protection against direct sunlight from all angles.

Furthermore, durability and water resistance are essential to any well-made surf hat. Saltwater and sun exposure can be harsh on materials, so it’s crucial to choose high-quality surf hats made from fabrics that withstand the challenging conditions of the ocean.

Look for materials like polyester, nylon, or neoprene that have proven resistance to saltwater corrosion and fading. Additionally, reinforced stitching techniques ensure that your excellent surf hat stays intact even after enduring rough waves and wipeouts, giving you peace of mind knowing your trusty surf cap will last through countless adventures in the water.

Historical Origins of Surf Hats

Surf hats have a fascinating history rooted in the evolution of traditional headwear. In the early days of surfing, indigenous cultures like the Hawaiians used straw hats to shield themselves from the scorching sun while riding waves. These early versions were made from natural materials readily available on the islands.

Over time, as surfing gained popularity worldwide, these traditional hats became synonymous with the surfing lifestyle. As surfing spread beyond Hawaii and reached places like California and Australia in the 20th century, surfers began adapting their headwear to suit local conditions.

The iconic surf bucket hat emerged as a popular choice during this period. Its wide brim and soft construction provided ample protection from both sun and wind while allowing for easy movement and breathability.

Cultural Significance in Different Surfing Communities

Surfing communities around the world have embraced their own unique styles and cultural identities when it comes to wearing hats while riding waves.

In Hawaii, where modern surfing originated, traditional straw hats known as “pāpale” hold deep significance within indigenous culture. Surfers in Hawaii often incorporate pāpale into their attire to honour its historical roots.

In Australia, where beach culture is deeply ingrained, surf caps have become a common sight among wave riders. These caps are typically made from durable materials that withstand harsh conditions and are often adorned with vibrant logos or designs representing local surf brands or coastal towns.

Surfing communities across California also embrace various hat styles, reflecting their laid-back attitude towards life on the waves. From classic wide-brimmed straw hats to trendy snapback caps featuring surf labels’ logos, there is no shortage of surf style options for those looking to express their love for riding waves through their choice of headwear.

Surprising Benefits Beyond Sun Protection

Reducing Glare for Improved Visibility

While sun protection is undoubtedly a primary reason to wear a hat while surfing, additional unexpected benefits can greatly enhance the overall experience, one such advantage is the reduction of glare.

The reflective surface of the water can create intense brightness, making it challenging to spot oncoming waves or obstacles. A well-chosen surf hat with a brim can help minimise glare and provide better visibility, allowing surfers to react quickly and ride waves more confidently.

Acting as a Barrier against Windburn or Cold Temperatures

Surfing often occurs in environments where windburn or chilly temperatures can be an issue. A reliable hat can act as an effective barrier against these elements, protecting the face and scalp from windburn and providing some insulation against cold air or water temperatures. This added layer of protection ensures that surfers stay comfortable and focused throughout their sessions, regardless of external conditions.

So, whether you opt for a classic wide-brimmed hat or a modern performance-oriented surf cap, remember that your choice goes beyond mere fashion.

Surfing hats hold cultural significance and offer surprising benefits beyond sun protection – they provide comfort, enhance visibility, and shield you from the elements to fully enjoy your time in the water.

Maintenance Tips for Surfing Hats

Cleaning Techniques for Different Materials

I want you to know that taking care of your beloved best surf hat, is essential to ensure its longevity. The cleaning techniques vary depending on the material of your best surf hat.

Gentle hand-washing is recommended for traditional wide-brimmed hats. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent.

Submerge the hat and use a soft brush or cloth to scrub away dirt or stains gently. Rinse baseball cap thoroughly with cool water and reshape it while damp, allowing it to air dry in a shaded area.

Performance-oriented surf hats are often made from technical fabrics such as nylon or polyester, designed to withstand the rigours of water sports. To clean these surf hats off, fill a basin with cool water and add some gentle detergent formulated for synthetic fabrics.

Soak the hat for a few minutes and gently agitate it to remove any dirt or salt residue. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and allow it to air dry naturally.


sunshine coast surf spot, surf hats

Investing in a high-quality surf hat is not just about style but also about protecting yourself during those long hours spent riding waves under the scorching sun. From wide-brimmed hats that provide more sun protection and ample shade to performance-oriented caps built for durability, there are plenty of options available that cater to your specific needs. Remember, taking care of your beloved surf hat will ensure its longevity on all your surfing adventures.

Regular cleaning based on the type of material used will keep your surfer hat always looking fresh and ready for action season after season. So go ahead, find that perfect surf bucket hat or cap that suits your style and provides you with both comfort and protection from the sun while you conquer those waves!

Looking for some surf trip inspiration? Have a look at this article on some of the best surf locations in the world.

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