Your skin is the largest and most visible organ of the human body. It’s our first line of defense against the outside world and the last part of the body you want to neglect. And as surfers who spend hours each day in the glaring sun on the endless pursuit of “one more wave”, skin protection should never be taken lightly.
Bottom line, if you are a passionate surfer, you have a higher risk of developing unfavorable skin conditions with substantial time spent under the Sun. So before getting too excited and sprinting into the water at the first sign of swell, take some of these necessary precautions beforehand to prevent the Sun from causing it’s sneaky damage.
Apply sunscreen every day, even if it’s cloudy. Because Costa Rica located so close to the equator, this sun’s strength is no joke. At only 10°N. Latitude, Costa Rica receives direct solar energy year-round. Even though you may not be able to feel the heat on an overcast day, the UV rays are still penetrating through the clouds and reaching your skin.
Apply 30 min before entering the sun. There are 2 types of sunscreen: Mineral and Chemical. Mineral Sunscreens use Zinc or Titanium dioxide and work by sitting on the outer layer of the skin reflecting the damaging UV Rays. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by sinking into the skin and providing protection on a deeper level. Generally, most sunscreen companies include both Mineral and Chemical components in their blend. So don’t just slop it on right before paddling out or else you will be losing half the benefits.
Don’t Forget your ears or the top of your hands. Because of their exposed location and the super sensitive skin, your ears are prone to the direct damage of the UV rays. And believe it or not, using a little bit of sunscreen on the top of your hands will prevent them from looking aged as the years pass.
Use a quality pair of UV protected Sunglasses. Besides being a cool fashion accessory, good pair of shades will safeguard the overall health of your eyes and the surrounding tissue. Look for a polarized pair with complete UVA and UVB protection for the best protection. Sun exposed eyes have been correlated to higher instances of Cataracts and the dreaded Surfer’s Eye (yes, a real thing). Plus, a life-time of squinting can cause those lazy wrinkles around your eyes that I hear nobody wants.
Get a Surf Hat! Preferably one with a few inches of brim all the way around. I’m not telling you to surf with a sombrero, but a little extra shade around your cabeza will alleviate immediate face and neck damage. Also, you will be the first surfer to see that bomb-set building on a sunny horizon. (Hats are especially helpful during the squinty sunset hours)
Surf with a shirt or rashguard. Seems like a better idea than having your buddy smear it all over your hard-to-reach places, yeah?
And if you needed just one more reason, Sunscreen helps you surf better! By thoroughly protecting your skin, you body doesn’t have to work overtime fighting off UV rays. This means that the body can solely focus on maximizing the surfing potential of your muscles and brain. Even small levels of sun exposure will affect your body’s key stress hormones, like Adrenal Cortizol, and negatively affect your overall performance. If you’re getting sunburned, you’re probably also surfing sluggish and not as sharp as you could be.
And here at Witch’s Rock, we’ve got you covered, literally! We carry a selection of high quality rashguards and sunscreen products including : Headhunter (face and body), Aloe Gator (face), No BS (Locally made, face), No-Ad (Body),and finally, for the times when you can’t pull yourself away from the waves to reapply, Recovery Aloe Vera.