Ocean-Safe Sun Protection Products

The life of a surfer calls for some hefty sun protection. As surf instructors, we’re in the water and the sun all day long and it’s the best job EVER! We want to be surfing even when we’re 80, however, and we can’t do that if our skin is damaged!! As we protect ourselves from the sun, we also want to make sure that we aren’t harming any of the ecosystems around us. Many sunscreens have chemicals that hurt marine life and the ocean as a whole.

It’s the best-case scenario to find sun-protection products that work for us and the ocean. Check out some of our favorites:

Ocean-Safe Sunscreen

Suncreen can be an Ocean-Safe Sun Protection ProductSunscreen always rubs off eventually and often it happens much faster than we realize! As the sunscreen wears off, it’s left behind in the water and can wreak havoc on the plants and animals that live there. Many name-brand or typical sunscreens are made with chemicals that cause defects in young sea urchins, fish, mussels and dolphins. It also is responsible for the bleaching and death of many coral reefs across the globe. (Find out more facts on sunscreen’s effects here.)

Coral Reef damaged by harmful chemicals in sunscreenIf these chemicals can do that much damage to marine life, why are we putting them on our skin?! That can’t be good for us!

Next time you shop for sunscreen, choose a brand that says “reef safe” or that has a very short list of active ingredients in them that you can pronounce. The active ingredients are the ones that can be especially damaging, so be sure to pay attention to those. The simpler the better! (More on which ingredients to avoid here.)

Tropic Sport is one of our favorite brands because it is completely chemical free and made with minerals. The ingredients are natural and don’t enter your bloodstream (some chemicals in sunscreen do! 😵). Tropic Sport’s sunscreen products are reef-safe and last 4 hours in the water! The bottles are made of aluminum and can be recycled after use. For these reasons, many pro surfers think that Tropic Sport is the best sunscreen for surfing!

Amavara Sunscreen is another great brand to use because it’s a local, San Diego-based company and it is 100% reef safe. It is extremely water-resistant, contains zinc oxide as its only active ingredient and is packaged in bottles made of recycled plastic!

We have just one word for these sunscreen brands: EPIC!

Surf Hats

Surf hats are ocean-safe sun protection!Another way to avoid harmful chemicals is to simply wear less sunscreen. Our faces are very sensitive to UV rays so surf hats are a great option! 

On a mellow day, a trucker hat will work just fine. Just make sure you hold onto it whenever your head goes underwater or you wipeout! If you’re surfing on a little bit of a bigger day or are duck diving, try a hat with straps. A lot of the surf companies make baseball-cap-style as well as bucket-style hats with chin straps. They’re super durable and typically stay on really well!

Rash Guards

Surfer wears rashguard as ocean-safe sun-protectionWhen the warmer months roll around, we all get so excited to strip off the wetsuits! However, we often forget that wetsuits are a helpful layer of ocean-safe sun protection. Rash guards are the next best thing because you feel like you’re trunkin’ it and can enjoy the warm water without getting a scorched back. Many of these are UV Protective and come in lots of styles, colors and designs. As an added benefit, you don’t have to worry about getting wax stuck on your arms or stomach while surfing! 

And a special bonus for the ladies out there: surf leggings! Yep, you heard that right! Surf leggings. Choose a fun pattern and protect that back-end while looking sleek and stylish 😉 


So, grab your ocean-safe sun protection…

…and join us in the water! We will show you the ropes and make sure you have an absolutely awesome time catching waves. Book a lesson at one of our 19 beaches in Southern California or soak up a session of surf therapy next time you’re at the beach. Yew! 🙌🏼