The best sunblock for surfers

Group of young women on a cliff overlooking the ocean

Greetings from sunny Portugal

Some people are hardy souls, surfing year-round in challenging conditions. The rest of us are only starting to think about returning to the water now, with the advent of summer.

If you have a surf trip planned, or are just hitting the waves at your local break, you’re going to need some good sun protection. As a pale, freckled type myself, sun care is a priority. Sunburn never looks good, and skin cancer is a very real and serious concern.

So, my absolute favourite sunblock for surfing is Ultrasun‘s Extreme SPF 50+ range.It’s free from oil, perfume, emulstifiers and preservatives, suitable for sensitive skin, and highly water-resistant. The product info states it’s water resistant for 40 mins, but I’ve been out in the water for much longer with it on, and no problems.

The packaging is air-tight, with a  pump-dispenser, making for a longer shelf-life. Once opened, your sun screen is good for 24 months rather than the usual 18.

Another plus – Ultrasun’s formula is a mixture of chemical and mineral sunscreens, so there’s less ‘ghostly white face’ than with other brands.

They’ve recently brought out two new products – a transparent spray-on factor 50 sunblock, and a hair protector. I may have to try these out!

Ultrasun have also created a handy chart which lets you check sun exposure times with different levels of protection.

Young woman in the sea with surfboard

Yes, even on grey days in Ireland you should wear sunblock

Good value and great service

Ultrasun definitely isn’t the cheapest brand out there, but I’ve tried lots of different water-resistant sun screens and this is my favourite. (Your skin has to last a lifetime, so why skimp…) Last time I stocked up, I purchased from The Suncare Shop online store who offer very good value.

More than that, they also have exceptional customer service. The day after I placed my order, they emailed to advise one part of the order was temporarily out of stock.

It would be three or four days until new stock arrived; if that would be too late, I could cancel that part of the order and the remainder would be dispatched immediately.

As it happened, I had allowed plenty of time for the order anyway, so told them I was happy to wait. But I really appreciated that they were pro-active in looking out for their customer’s needs.

I will definitely be buying from them again, and have already recommended them to friends.

And no, I haven’t received any ‘promotional considerations’ for this post!

Other options

I also buy from the Boots’ Soltan Kids range – the kids’ products are labelled ‘extra water resistant’, while the offerings for adults are merely ‘water resistant’. There’s usually lots of travel sizes available too, perfect for hand luggage or chucking in your beach bag.

(I’ve given up on sprays though, as I find them wasteful, and the pumps always clog.)

If you’re going to Bali, or have a friend who’s going, look out for Sunny Days zinc sunblock. You get to swap ‘ghostly white face’ for ‘slightly odd beige face’. As it’s only SPF 30, I’d recommend using it as a sunblock topcoat rather than a base.

Tin of Sunny Days sunblock

Whatever you use, make sure you wear it correctly. This means applying enough product, putting it on  20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapplying to clean dry skin after you’ve been in the water.

If you’ve used any other brands you’d recommend, or have any other tips, please leave a comment – share the knowledge!


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