Keep your skin safe on the water this summer by staying covered up. Photo: Erik Aeder

Summer SUP Sun Safety

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer over their lifetime, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In more bad news, those of us that spend a lot of time outside and the water are even more at risk.

The good news is that skin cancer is preventable. With a little careful planning your time on your board this summer can be safe, fun and simple. The following are our tips and tricks for protecting yourself from the sun’s rays while paddling.

Cover up. The simplest way to keep the sun’s harmful rays off your skin is to keep yourself covered. Wide-brimmed hats (we like Shelta), long sleeved shirts (the Bluesmiths Kanaha is one of our favorites) and even more generous coverings (such as offerings from TuTublue) are all made with paddlers in mind. While you’ll still need some sunscreen in your quiver throwing on a hat and a long-sleeved SPF shirt certainly cover a lot of real estate.

UPF clothing, such as these offerings from TuTuBlue, are specifically designed for use on the water. Photo: Shane Brolly

Slather up. When it comes to sunscreen, you want to go with something that’s broad spectrum. That means it protects from both UVB and UVA rays. Even the best sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly and if you’re in and out of the water or sweating—if you’re a paddler that means we’re talking to you—you should be reapplying every 80 minutes or at the minimum, every two hours. We like sunscreens that are reef-safe and broad spectrum such as All Good, Beyond Coastal, or Raw Elements.

Watch the clock. The sun is strongest in the middle of the day. The simple solution is to avoid spending extended periods of time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m on the water. Luckily that’s not the prime time of day for paddling anyway. The wind is usually lighter and the temperatures are cooler at the bookends of the day anyway.

Random tips:

Don’t forget the bottom of your chin. The reflection off the water can burn you in unusual places.

Make sure to wipe your hands after applying sunscreen so you don’t slip on your paddle. We use sand and salt water in the ocean or a towel and freshwater everywhere else.

Wear sunglasses that are marked 100 percent UV protection and consider a style that wraps fully around your eyes. Croakies are your friend.

Don’t forget your lips. Many brands make lip sticks you can keep in your pocket and protect that sensitive skin.

Stay safe out there this summer!

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