Best Sunscreen for Surfing In 2023

Whether you’re traveling around the world to surf, or staying home to hit your favorite breaks, having the right waterproof sunscreen is essential so you don’t burn to a crisp on the water. We’re taking a look at the best sunscreen for surfing to protect your skin.

If you live near the ocean, chances are you have been tempted to surf over the years. Surfing is an incredibly fun activity that gives you a good workout to boot. But when you are out catching waves, it is critical to have appropriate sunscreen applied at all times. Sunburns are all too common with surfers and can lead to health complications later in life.

best sunscreen for surfing

With so many choices on the market, you may be wondering what the best sunscreen for surfing is and how to choose between them. We will look at some great products to try on your next surfing adventure, and how to choose between them all.

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Our Top Picks For The Best Sunscreen for Surfing

When it comes to choosing a surfing sunscreen, you need a quality product that you can rely on before and after you hit the waves. These seven are the best options on the market for surfers.

Kokua Sun Care SPF 50

Kokua Sun Care brings a lot of value to the party. It is SPF 50 and boasts broad-spectrum protection. It is water-resistant for 80 minutes and is perfectly safe to use near reefs.

The ingredients are grown in Hawaii, and the product has solid reviews from its fans. It also has a light coconut vanilla scent for those who enjoy smelling reeeeeally good.

All up, this is a great sunscreen for surfers, and it’s one we’ve used frequently at the beach. It is more expensive than some alternatives, but surfers will find themselves paying for a quality product that does what it says on the bottle.

All Good Sport Face & Body Sunscreen Lotion

This face and body sunscreen lotion from All Good is one of the best choices on the market and is sure to keep any surfer’s skin safe – as well as keep you protected during any other outdoor sport.It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Like many of the best sunblock products, this one uses zinc.

All Good makes this sunscreen entirely with minerals, for an all-natural ingredient list, including rosehip and organic green tea.

Not only does this lotion protect you from the sun, but it also helps moisturize your skin. Combined factors like sunscreen use and exposure to salt water and sun can quickly dry out the skin. But this product will keep your skin feeling nice and smooth. In addition, this non-greasy formula can help repair damaged skin. 

The sunscreen is oxybenzone-free and eco-friendly, so will not harm the reefs. If you purchase this product, remember it is only SPF 30. While that is perfectly acceptable, it will not be as strong as other products and might require you to miss some sweet waves for more frequent reapplication.

Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen

If you are concerned about the possibly cancer-causing ingredient benzene in your sunscreen, consider this benzene-free and all-natural mineral sunscreen from Thinksport.

It ‘s designed for athletic sports, and it’s also vegan and reef-friendly, so you don’t have much to worry about any potential environmental damage or harming any sea or land animals.

On the protection front, it is SPF 50, which should satisfy most surfer’s needs. It offers broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.

And like any good sunscreen for surfing, it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, giving you time to go and reapply the lotion after getting soaked.

SurfDurt Original Sunblock

Another all-natural product on this list, SurfDurt Original Sunblock is the perfect choice for surfers. Surfdurt keeps surfers in mind when creating their products, and this sunscreen is no exception. It has no chemicals and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Aside from that, it is safe to use near reefs, and none of the ingredients will cause any harm to aquatic life.

This sunblock has a protection rating of SPF 30, making it at the lower end of protection. However, it is certified as broad-spectrum protection. 

Surfdurt produces all its sunscreen in California with sustainably-sourced ingredients. It has an amazing chocolate and coconut scent, which sounds weird, but is seriously good! Surfdurt recommends this product for all skin types, including oily, dry, and normal skin.

Badger SPF 35 Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen Cream

If you want a fragrance-free sunscreen, Badger’s sport sunscreen might be a good choice, especially if you have sensitive skin.

This hypoallergenic product is climate-pledge friendly and organic, so you can buy confidently with that in mind. It has only five ingredients, with organic sunflower oil, clear zinc oxide, organic jojoba oil, sunflower vitamin E, and organic beeswax making up the cream. In addition, Badger’s products do not contain oxybenzone and are biodegradable.

For protection, it has a rating of SPF 35, so it is not the most powerful option on the list. But with frequent reapplication, you should avoid sunburn. And you do not have to worry about the cream washing off, as it is water-resistant for about 80 minutes.

The sunscreen is also reef-safe, so you can wear it without worrying about damaging the ocean.

Sun Bum Signature SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm

Protecting your lips might not be the first thing that comes to mind with sunscreen, but it is critical as a surfer, and can save you a bit of sun-induced pain down the road.

Luckily, Sun Bum has you covered with a sunscreen they made to protect your lips from UV rays. It is a mineral-based sunscreen that does not rub off from a day on the beach.

This product offers solid protection with an SPF of 30. Sun Bum recommends reapplication every two hours for best results. In addition, it might be a good idea to apply lip moisturize after prolonged use. 

Thinksport SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick

If you are looking for a safe and effective sunscreen stick that won’t break the bank, try this winning sunblock from Thinksport. It is unscented and hydrates your skin throughout the day.

This stick is easy to apply quickly while you are on the go, and it is reef-friendly. Like it’s other products, Thinksport uses only minerals in this stick sunscreen – and it’s also certified as vegan.

Although it only clocks in at 30 SPF, it will still provide surfers with protection throughout the day. And it is easy to reapply throughout your day of surfing, making it a good choice even with its lower SPF.

It is water-resistant and offers broad-spectrum protection. If you want to spend more time surfing and less time applying sunscreen, give this a try.

What to Consider Before Buying Waterproof Surfing Sunscreen

With all the buzzwords floating around on every sunscreen container, you might not know what to value when it comes to choosing the best sunscreen for surfing. After all, you will have different needs compared to others who use sunscreen, so let’s look at some of the most important aspects to consider.

Protection Level

SPF indicates the level of protection sunscreen provides from UV rays. A sunscreen with a higher SPF value will block more UV rays than ones with lower values. The minimum SPF that provides a benefit is SPF 15, though we recommend using one that is at least SPF 30 or above. 

SPF 50 provides excellent protection, but it is not always available for purchase. You can get a sunscreen that reaches SPF 70, but this is often unneeded for most users.

Surfers should also note if the sunscreen has broad-spectrum protection. Broad-spectrum protection denotes that it protects the user against the whole spectrum of UV rays.

Water Resistance

While the goal of surfing is not to fall into the water, even the best surfers wipe out and get soaked. In this case, you will want a sunscreen that is water-resistant to avoid it instantly wiping off the second you get wet. 

Water resistance does not mean you never need to reapply your sunscreen though. You should continue applying it throughout the day even if it is water-resistant. 


Whether you want to swim in cenotes, go snorkeling, or simply protect the coral reef and the aquatic life that lives in it when you’re surfing, you will want to find a product marked as “reef-friendly.”

You should also ensure your sunscreen is free of chemicals like benzene that could harm marine life or hurt your skin.

Scent and Feel on Your Skin

While this comes down to preference, you will want to enjoy your sunscreen’s scent and feel. Few things are as deflating as putting on sunscreen and feeling like you stink. 

Most sunscreen products will state their scent on the listing, but you will likely have to use trial and error to determine what sunscreen is most pleasant to you. 

best sunscreen for surfing stick or cream

Lotion or Stick?

This is another matter of personal preference, but you will have to decide between lotion or stick sunscreen. Lotions are more popular, but stick sunscreen has advantages as well. With lotion, you will need to get your hands greasy which can impact your ability to grip the surfboard. Stick sunscreen is applied like deodorant and will not leave any disruptive residue. 

Final Thoughts – Best Sunscreen For Surfing

No matter where you are surfing or your skill level, having the right sunscreen is critical. With the correct sunblock on hand, you can prevent both short- and long-term pain. Any of the products on this list are perfect for surfing and offer enough protection and benefits to be part of your travel bag.

Choosing the best sunscreen for surfing comes down to preference. But once you know if you want lotion or stick and how high an SPF you want, you can purchase sunscreen and safely catch some waves.

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