Staying safe in the Sun

When learning to surf in the Algarve its very important too

Stay Safe Surfing In The Sun With These Simple Tips

When you are surfing it is very important to protect yourself against the sun. It is easy to forget about sun protection or think that you are not going to be able to effectively protect yourself whilst you are out on the water. It is, however, important that you do take precautions as the risk of burning or eye damage is higher than when you are on land. This is because the rays are reflected from the surface of the water and so you are exposed to higher levels of damaging ultraviolet.


Many people aren't bothered about being burnt by the sun. This is in spite of the fact that there is clear evidence that the risk of skin cancer goes up every time you burn. Thankfully, awareness has increased over the last few years and generally more care is taken than in the past.

People are less aware of the risk to the eyes. The cornea at the front of the eye is sensitive to ultraviolet damage. It can be burnt like any other part of the body. Repeated burns can cause scarring and reduced vision. Damage to the lens can cause cataracts. The retina at the back of the eye is also very sensitive to ultraviolet damage. This is the part of the eye which detects light.

sun block

It is very important to protect the eyes against ultraviolet when surfing. Specialised surfing sunglasses are available which float if dropped in the water. These also have a headband to keep them on. Wearing cheap sunglasses which do not filter UV light is worse than wearing no sunglasses at all. This is because the reduction in visible light will cause the pupils to dilate. This lets in more of the damaging ultraviolet which passes straight through. Make sure that you wear sunglasses which are certified to reduce ultraviolet.

picture of sun protection

Wearing a wet suit will protect you against the sun but clearly only the areas which it is covering. Don't forget about your hands and feet, face and eyes. Make sure you wear a high factor waterproof suncream on all of your exposed skin and reapply frequently when you are in the water.

Dr Toby Bateson, MD of ZenPlugs Ltd

Thank you to Toby for writing another great article!Happy