Practicing Sun Safe Surfing is vital in the fight against skin cancer. It's easy to remember the Sun Safe Surfing steps!
Before the surf: Protect yourself from the sun
Sun-protective rash guards with Ultraviolet Protective Factor (UPF) and wetsuits that block the harmful rays of the sun are the best defense as they do not lose effectiveness in the water. These garments may not cover all exposed skin (face, ears, neck, hands, etc.) so sunscreen is needed as well.
Sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer as well as painful sunburns and premature aging of the skin. It is important to always use sun protection as harmful ultraviolet light is present year round, not just in the summer, and penetrates clouds, even on rainy days.Sunscreen is best applied to all exposed skin 15-30 minutes prior to sun and water exposure. Most people under-apply sunscreen so be sure to use a generous amount!
Sunscreen should have the following ratings for the best protection:
- SPF 30 or higher
- Broad-spectrum coverage against UV-B and UV-A rays
- Water resistant for 80 minutes
Don’t forget your lips! Lip balms with SPF 30+ or zinc products are good idea.
For added protection and comfort, sun-protective surf hats also can be used in the water. Some companies even make sun-protective rash guards with built-in hoods with visors!
Jordan Slutsky, MD, practicing Sun Safe Surfing in the tropical waves of Indonesia with his hooded UPF 50+ sun-protective rash guard.
After the surf
Seek shade. Umbrellas, trees, etc. work well to find some relief from the sun, especially the strongest mid-day rays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Reapply sunscreen because it has probably worn off in the water.
Put on a hat (broad-brimmed ones are better than baseball caps), sunglasses and sun-protective clothing (UPF). Leave on your sun-protective rash guard or wetsuit if you are planning to have another session!
Be sure to fuel up on healthy snacks and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!
Sun Safe Surfing Events and Friends
Sun Safe Surfing and the Colette Coyne Foundation (CCMAC) had a great skin cancer screening with CCMAC on Aug. 10, 2013 on the Jones Beach boardwalk in New York with over 220 people screened.
Sun Safe Surfing is proud to sponsor surf camps Skudin Surf by providing UPF rash guards for their campers.
Learn more about staying safe in the sun.