5 BEST SURFING SUNSCREEN OPTIONS FOR 2022

best-surfing-sunscreen

WHY TRUST OUR REVIEWS?

Surf Indonesia has tested these products in and out of the surf in different conditions around the world. The best products are handpicked, and the features are discussed (even argued) and analyzed from our experience. Then the best-of-the-best are selected with reviews written by actual surfers. We aren’t paid to talk about certain brands, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases if you purchase a product through one of our links.

TOP
PICK🔥
CERTIFIED 
ORGANIC
MADE BY
A SURFER
MORE
PROTECTION
TRAVEL ESSENTIAL

WAXHEAD

Tinted Surf Sunscreen

RAW ELEMENTS

Certified Natural Sunscreen

SURFDIRT

Original Sunblock

MANDA

Organic Sun Paste

SUN ZAPPER

Skin Tone Zinc Stick

THE GUTS
BEST ZINC SUNSCREEN

Waxhead ticks all of the boxes. Truly non-toxic (4 edible ingredients), reef safe, plastic-free, and water resistant. It’s the best zinc oxide sunscreen for the face. Perfect for the ocean.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC

Organic eco-friendly sunscreen that’s a great option to protect yourself and the environment! This one does last considerably longer than 80mins in the water.

MADE BY A SURFER

11 active ingredients, all of them food grade. Designed and developed by a female surfer for surfing. A small business and a great product.

MORE PROTECTION

A thick food-grade paste with 50+SPF protection that can be applied as light or thick as you like. Also has Thanaka for natural sun protection and other skin benefits.

TRAVEL ESSENTIAL

Compact and easy to apply. Specifically designed for the face, and provides great protection on the nose and lips. Designed for convenience and 4-hour protection in the water.

THE GOOD

SPF: 30+
Reef friendly: Yes
Non-nano zinc oxide: Yes 25%
Water resistant: 80 mins
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: Yes

 

SPF: 30+
Reef friendly: Yes
Non-nano zinc oxide: Yes 23%
Water-resistant: 80 mins
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: Yes

SPF: 30+
Reef friendly: Yes
Non-nano zinc oxide: Yes 23%
Water-resistant: 80 mins
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: Yes

SPF: 50+
Reef friendly: Yes
Non-nano zinc oxide: Yes 20%
Water-resistant: Yes, but duration not provided
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: Yes

SPF: 50+
Reef friendly: No
Non-nano zinc oxide: No, standard zinc
Water-resistant: 4 hours
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: No

THE BAD

Only 30+ SPF.
When it’s cold (the ingredients harden in the cold) it is more difficult to apply. 

Only 30+ SPF.
Difficult to wash out of clothes.

Only 30+ SPF.
Classic opaque white zinc sunscreen. However, it is available with a tint also. Needs reapplying for long sessions in the surf.

Thick paste, can be good for protection, but if you’re looking for something more discreet this sunscreen may not be for you.

Not a natural product.
Doesn’t use non-nano zinc oxide.
Not reef friendly.

WAXHEAD

Tinted Surf Sunscreen

THE GUTS
BEST ZINC SUNSCREEN 🔥

Waxhead ticks all of the boxes. Truly non-toxic (4 edible ingredients), reef safe, plastic-free, and water resistant. It’s the best zinc oxide sunscreen for the face. Perfect for the ocean.

THE GOOD

Solid outseam construction with 4-way stretch fabric gives you the best of both worlds. Secure side pocket with elastic band for securing a key. Extremely well-cut boardshort for a comfortable well-positioned fit. Great range or colors and unique patterns to choose from.

THE BAD

Some of the single-color options can show wet patches. If you prefer not to wear underwear go for a pair with a pattern.

RAW ELEMENTS

Certified Natural Sunscreen

THE GUTS
Certified Organic

Organic eco-friendly sunscreen that’s a great option to protect yourself and the environment! This one does last considerably longer than 80mins in the water.

THE GOOD

SPF: 30+
Reef friendly: Yes
Non-nano zinc oxide: Yes 23%
Water-resistant: 80mins
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: Yes

THE BAD

Only 30+ SPF.
Difficult to wash out of clothes.

SURFDIRT

Original Sunblock

THE GUTS
Made by a Surfer

11 active ingredients, all of them food grade. Designed and developed by a female surfer for surfing. A small business and a great product.

THE GOOD

SPF: 30+
Reef friendly: Yes
Non-nano zinc oxide: Yes 23%
Water-resistant: 80 mins
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: Yes

THE BAD

Only 30+ SPF.
Classic opaque white zinc sunscreen. However, it is available with a tint also. Needs reapplying for long sessions in the surf.

MANDA

Organic Sun Paste

THE GUTS
More Protection

A thick food-grade paste with 50+SPF protection that can be applied as light or thick as you like. Also has Thanaka for natural sun protection and other skin benefits.

THE GOOD

SPF: 50+
Reef friendly: Yes
Non-nano zinc oxide: Yes 20%
Water-resistant: Yes, but duration not provided
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: Yes

THE BAD

Thick paste, can be good for protection, but if you’re looking for something more discreet this sunscreen may not be for you.

SUN ZAPPER

Skin Tone Zinc Stick

THE GUTS
Travel Essential

Compact and easy to apply. Specifically designed for the face, and provides great protection on the nose and lips. Designed for convenience and 4-hour protection in the water.

THE GOOD

SPF: 50+
Reef friendly: No
Non-nano zinc oxide: No, standard zinc
Water-resistant: 4 hours
Fragrance-free: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Plastic-free: No

THE BAD

Not a natural product. Doesn’t use non-nano zinc oxide. Not reef friendly.

HOW WE TEST PRODUCTS

We recommend these products based on many different surfers’ perspectives and real experiences using the products. Those expert perspectives are discussed and evaluated in depth to cut through the many products available online. Based on hours of intensive research and the consideration of many factors, we bring you only the best-of-the-best for consideration. Our recommended go-to’s.

8

Surfers consulted

10

Factors considered

20

Hours evaluation

surf-sunscreen

OUR GO-TO’S

TOP PICK 🔥

WAXHEAD

Tinted Surf Sunscreen

THE GUTS OF IT…

Waxhead ticks all of the boxes. Truly non-toxic (4 edible ingredients), reef safe, plastic-free, and water resistant. It’s the best zinc oxide sunscreen for the face.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC

RAW ELEMENTS

Certified Natural Sunscreen

THE GUTS OF IT…

Organic eco-friendly sunscreen. Great option to protect yourself and the environment! Does last considerably longer than 80mins in the water.

MADE BY A SURFER

SURFDIRT

Original Sunblock

THE GUTS OF IT…

11 active ingredients, all of them food grade. Designed and developed by a female surfer for surfing. A small business and a great product.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SURF SUNSCREEN

How do you prevent sunburn when surfing?

Sunscreen and/or zinc with all-natural ingredients is the easiest choice.

Covering up with a long sleeve wetsuit or rash vest and a sun-protective surf hat is the next best option.

You can also surf first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening when the sun is less intense. Early morning (dawny) sessions most often provide the best conditions for surfing, depending on where in the world you’re surfing.

One of Kelly Slater’s natural hacks for preventing/reducing sunburn is eating healthy foods, which are high in vitamin D, and provide long-term protection against sunburn and skin cancer.

What sunscreen do surfers use?

Basically, sunblocks containing zinc and other ingredients that offer a hard, water-resistant, UV-protective experience while you are in the water. Water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 50 is optimal because it provides a very high level of sun protection, however, a 30+ SPF can work great as well if you aren’t prone to burning easily in the sun.

Another thing to look out for is a Non-Nano Zinc Composition (the holy grail for surfing sun protection) of 20% plus with a water-resistant time of 80 minutes or more. 

What is the best sunscreen for surfing?

When it comes to the best surfing sunscreen, the things that are top of our list are SPF, water-resistant, reef-safe, and ingredients. Taking these four main factors into consideration and more we have provided our top sunscreen picks in this article.

What do surfers put on their nose?

Non-nano zinc oxide.

Why do surfers wear zinc?

Zinc provides great water resistance and UV protection when you’re spending hours in the ocean surfing.

What is the difference between non-nano zinc oxide and zinc oxide?

Non-Nano means that the zinc is larger than 100nm and therefore won’t penetrate your skin. It is considered the safest UV filter option for human health and has also been shown to be the safest option for marine life and coral reefs since Zinc Oxide in its Non-Nano form has been shown to not cause harm to marine wildlife.

How to remove zinc sunscreen?

Because zinc oxide forms a protective barrier to your skin, it is not easy to get rid of with just water and face wash.

Oil cleansing is ideal for stripping the zinc sun cream off of your face. You can use coconut oil for sunscreen removal, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil will also do the trick. 

To make things easier, use a non-abrasive sponge when oil cleansing to remove zinc from your skin.

How much sunscreen SPF do I need for surfing?

SPF is a sun protection factor, which is how much protection against sunlight compared to if you had bare skin. SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, levels tell how good a sunscreen is at blocking harmful UV light.

Generally, SPF 50+ sunscreen is water-resistant for 4 hours and offers maximum protection against wide-spectrum UV rays.

However, a good sunscreen for surfers of at least SPF 30 will help to protect you from UV light and sunburn for surfing sessions of 80 minutes or less in the ocean.

How much sunscreen should I use?

How often should sunscreen be applied?

When was sunscreen invented?

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