A surfer wearing a surf hat
Min Read Time

The Best Surf Hats

As surfers, we are inevitably exposed to the sun all day every day. A surf hat comes in handy for such conditions. Here, we list our favourite surf hats.

A surfer's relationship with the sun is like a stormy marriage that had to turn into a long-distance one, dragged on and on, and became more and more toxic along the way. Sure, it's a billion miles away from earth, but it still knows how to hurt us. Our means of confronting it on why it keeps hurting us is quite limited, and we don't know how to get out of it.

Yet, there are some measures we can take to alleviate the toxicity a little bit, and a good surf hat is one of these measures. If you're an experienced surfer, you might have gotten used to it and developed an attitude of indifference (like one of the married parties generally do, which adds to the toxicity), but it's generally not that easy for those who are only beginning to suffer exposure to the blazing hot sun to such an extent. They definitely need some sort of sun protection.

Luckily, there are many high-quality surf hats on the market. Unfortunately, picking the best surf hat for you is not a straightforward process. Yes, it needs to offer a certain level of sun protection, but also it needs to be comfortable and it needs to stay on your head when you're hit by the wind and waves. Otherwise, you'll need to get a new one after every surf session, and tell you what, these surfing hats are not really cheap.

But, don't worry! We prepared a list of the best surf hats for you, so you can easily pick one, and enjoy the beach and the waves well protected.

The 6 Best Surf Hats for Ultimate Sun Protection

Kaiola Surf Hat

Kaoila as a company is the result of a surfer's quest for the perfect surfing hat. Barbara, the founder of the company, is a surfer who traveled around the world—from Costa Rica to Ericeira, Portugal—to find the perfect hat for surfing: one that's made of high-quality material, that's not going to come off on the first wipeout, and one that's going to provide the ultimate protection for her facial skin.

As you can guess, she couldn't find one that fit her criteria, and she decided to design the perfect technical surf hat herself. And she did!

Kaiola surf hats feature great UV protection, anti-glare properties so your vision is never impeded, breathable source material that makes them as comfortable as possible, the capacity to dry as quickly as possible, and an adjustable chin strap. Moreover, they're quite stylish, too!

We implied that surf hats have a tendency to fall off. It means that, unless they're recovered (which is rarely the case), they become part of the ocean. Therefore, it's indeed important to wear sustainable and plastic-free material when there's this danger of harming the ocean. So, with Kaiola, you can rest assured since they're aware of the surfer's responsibility towards the ocean and they emphasize ethical and sustainable production.

Check Out Kaiola Surf Hats

Patagonia Surf Brim Hat

Patagonia is already a well-established brand when it comes to outdoor sports and activities. Their fishing and camping gear are surely top-notch, and you expect them to produce great water-resistant items, no matter the profession or hobby.

Well, in that case, let us tell you that their surf brim hat doesn't disappoint, either. Similar to their fishing gear, it dries swiftly. It's lightweight, so you won't even feel its presence while doing cutbacks, duck dives, and whatnot. Moreover, its full brim doesn't only provide protection for the face but also for the neck. It has an elastic rear buckle which secures it in place no matter the size of your head as well.

The only problem with this particular surf hat can be its availability. We understand that surfers sometimes find it difficult to order as they're easily sold out. But here's for the hopeful.

Check Out Patagonia Surf Brim Hat

Dakine Surf Cap

Dakine is another one of those brands that produce lots of apparel and accessories for outdoor sports, but you might not know that the basis of their foundation is right at the heart of surfing. Yes, the company was started in the late 1970s under the harsh conditions of Hawaiian surf that caused lots of leashes to be broken. As a result, the founder Rob Kaplan decided to make a leash that could withstand anything, and that was their first step into the world of commerce.

Having learned that, if you expect ultimate endurance from a Dakine product, you're pretty much set. Despite more than 40 years in the business and a much more varied product range nowadays, they still produce high-quality gear.

The surf cap is no exception. Dakine surf cap stays in its place because it has a sturdy and adjustable mesh chin strap. It provides protection for your eyes, face, and ears (thanks to its vented ear covers). It's breathable and dries quickly, too. Moreover, being born into the world right from the heart of a long-established surfing culture, Dakine knows about the importance of respecting the environment.

It may be looking like a trucker hat, especially when compared to the two above, but we're ready to forgive that look due to its functionality.

Check Out Dakine Surf Cap

Rip Curl Wetty Surf Cap

Some surf caps will make you look like you're about to spend a month walking on hot desert sand without water in sight. You’ll surely be amazed that these are in fact meant for water sports, but unfortunately, that is the case. Rip Curl's Wetty Surf Cap is one of those.

It has a very long neck flap and chunky black chin straps. Actually, it's black overall, so you'll shine on the ocean all in the wrong ways. But what of it? It offers enough sun protection. It's an adjustable hat, so its possibility of falling off is quite low, and at least, its neck flap is removable.

If you're only a beginner who's afraid to get sunburned after long sessions in which you're trying to learn the basics, it might help you a great deal. However, if you're an advanced surfer who wants to duck dive into breaking waves, it might not suit your surf style.

Similar to the Patagonia brim hat, sometimes there are availability issues with Rip Curl as well. But if your heart is set on what this hat features, you might get lucky.

Check Out Rip Curl Wetty Surf Cap

Billabong Surf Bucket Hat

Billabong is an Australian retailer company that has excelled in producing material, specifically clothing, suitable for surfing and skating. The journey of the company was a stormy one full of takeovers, collapses, and rivalries, but recently, they found some sort of rejuvenation. The brand name still echoes as reputable and recognized despite all that. Their wetsuits, rash guards, boardshorts, shirts, and backpacks are still all worth recommending, albeit for casual use.

The Billabong bucket hat also lives up to the reputation of the brand. First of all, it doesn't stand out in any way. It's all black (once again), it has an adjustable neoprene chin strap, and a reinforced brim that offers protection from the sun and glare. In other words, it's a surf hat stripped down to the bare minimum.

However, being so stripped down isn't devoid of any merits either as the less is really more sometimes. It might not be the perfect option for protecting some parts of your head like your neck, but it's not going to disturb or distract you when you're trying to pull off advanced moves. You'll be duck diving as if it's not even there, and even though you lose it somehow (preferably without polluting the ocean), it won't matter much since it's a budget-friendly surf hat.

Check Out Billabong Surf Bucket Hat

Ocean & Earth Indo Stiff Peak Surf Hat

Surfers know what surfers need, right? So, more often than not, we're opting for equipment, gear, and apparel that's specifically designed and produced by the surfers themselves. Ocean & Earth is one of those brands founded and run by surfers, and you can trust them to deliver just what you need.

And their indo surf hat might just be what you need. The front brim stays stiff when you're riding the waves, but you can also flip it up to enlarge your peripheral vision when paddling. Its padded neoprene insides will make you comfortable.

In addition to an adjustable chin strap, it features a safety loop that can be attached to your wetsuit so the possibility of losing it is minimized. It's lightweight, it dries quickly, and despite the minimal design of its brim, it does its best to protect you from blinding glare. Moreover, like the Rip Curl's cap, it entertains a removable neck flap at the back.

Check Out Ocean & Earth Indo Stiff Peak Surf Hat

Wrapping Up...

Yes, spending the whole day on the beach, riding waves, and dilly dallying at the end of the day by sharing a few drinks among friends is quite pleasant... until you realize your nose, forehead, and neck start burning and don't respond well to the friendly touches of your fellow surfers (although we don't why they're trying to touch your nose, but it's none of our business).

If you want to avoid such scenarios, it's better to take precautions by purchasing protective material like a surf hat, helmet, or visor. Especially if you're planning to go on a surf trip to a location you've never been before, packing one will help you a great deal.

To that end, we made a list of our favorite surf hats, but you don't have to stick with the options we presented. You can go and make your pick based on your preferences. Just make sure that it offers ample protection from the sun and glare, it will stay in its place even when you duck dive, and most importantly, it's made of ocean-friendly source material.

Written by
Nico Palacios
surf coaching