Ultimate Review of The Best Surf Sunglasses in 2021

Best Surf Sunglasses

My younger brother was recently diagnosed with Photokeratitis, or “sunburned eye,” and now has to wear sunglasses to read and work on his computer.

The doctor alluded that the damage was done due to surfing and a burst retina.

Of course, this came off as a shocker to me, considering we’ve surfed together for many years and have never thought of this before.

It was a reminiscence of our early age and how our mom used to teach us the importance of wearing sunnies to protect our eyes. My mom used to say our eyes were important, and we only had a single pair and all that.

But truth be told, wearing surfing glasses isn’t one of the things to look forward to.

See, many of us are constantly torn between the anxiety of our eyes getting damaged from exposure to the UV rays and the convenience of surfing without sunglasses.

I mean, don’t you just hate when your surf shades fog up or even water-splash you leaving you partly blind? Or when they get ripped off when the wave sweeps you, and you’ve to find them?

Like most of us, I used to wear surf sunglasses but never had good experiences due to foggy and blurred lenses. This is not to mention the uncomfortable hard plastic lenses.

But I was obviously not using the best watersport sunglasses out there, and I just gave up on them.

I must admit, though, my brother’s scare and the worry of UV rays slowly slaughtering my eyes has led me to the market once again.

I know fearing for my eyesight after two decades of surfing may sound like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but it’s a critical decision.

And this time around, I’m wiser, and picking the best surf sunglasses should not be a challenge.

In the text below, I share with you some of the top surf sunglasses to consider;

Table of Contents

Quick Comparison Table!

Lip Typhoon

4.8

4.8/5
LIP Surge

4.6

4.6/5
SeaSpecs

4.5

4.5/5
Ocean Tierra Del Fuego

4.3

4.3/5
Costa Del Mar Sunglasses

4.0

4/5

The Best Sunglasses for Surfing For The Money

Best Surf Sunglasses for the money

#1 Lip Typhoon - EDITOR'S CHOICE

4.7/5
4.2/5
4.8/5

I try as much as possible to stay away from expensive purchases, particularly when it comes to surfing shades.

The problem, though, is the cheaper shades are unreliable and so uncomfortable that I end up not wearing them at all.

I hate it when my sunglasses trap water, get scratches and fly over my head, and so do most of you.

After lots of research, I decided to bite the bullet and go for a premium purchase, the Lip Typhoon.

So far, I can’t regret my decision as this gadget ticks all the boxes on my wish list.

It comes with all the benefits you would expect from a premium purchase and will help you maneuver the hardships of surfing with ease.

Features and Benefits

Design- Real Surfer Sunglasses

The first thing I noticed with these glasses is they come with a real “surfer” look; large lenses, broad lenses with a discreet logo.

I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I’m pretty sure the Typhoon, with their cool design, is what every dude in Maui would wear.

Not too extreme, but simply cool. They’re solid, too, and will handle the toughest surf conditions.

Zeiss lenses- Better View

Wide lenses are simply more than a fashion statement, and I learned that with the Typhoon.

See, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a sunglass cut your field of view while surfing.

But not with the Typhoon!

These glasses offer an amazingly clear vision and wide peripheral range. For the first time, I was able to identify and judge the waves, chops, and rocks as clearly as I would’ve without sunglasses.

While they lack polarization, the quality Zeiss lenses eliminate reflection or depth issues, crucial for spotting coral, rock, or tropical fish below the water.

I feel if you’re using the Typhoons in Hawaii, it would be easier for you to spot a humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

Comfortable

If you surf a lot, you know sunglasses can “pinch” your nose or make you feel like your head is in a vice.

Not an issue with the Typhoon.

The shades sit pretty fit on my face, and I’m a big fan of the broadened top, considering my nose is a bit wider at the top.

Typhoon’s design is also not a problem for those with smaller faces since it has a cord you can tighten to keep them from sliding down.

I also find them quite flexible and lightweight, so they feel as if they’re not there. This way, I can now double my surfing sessions without getting fatigued as I would on other sunglasses.

No-Lose Performance

I’ve been surfing for more than a decade but still get wiped out once in a while.

The problem with getting thrown off the board is you’re likely to lose your accessories, including your sunglasses.

Fortunately, with the Typhoon, it should be one less thing to worry about.

The glasses stick to your head and face, thanks to their wrapping shape. I rarely feel them moving around, even when slapped on the water after a surfing trick or when taking a beating.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Their greatest retention feature is a removable safety leash, which is easy to clip to the glasses’ extremities.

But what stands out for me is the provision of attaching a rubber/silicone necklace to your leash.

Personally, I rarely use the second setup because I feel the leash around the helmet is more than enough to hold the sunglasses in place.

Performance

Typhoon’s Performance is best described as fantastic.

First, I love how the water beads of the hydrophobic lens when sprayed.

The lenses don’t crust up from the salt when riding or even after getting out of the water, so I can just keep them without any discomfort.

They also rarely fog up much, so I don’t have to pause to take them off to wipe them when riding.

Drawbacks

The only “beef” I’ve with these shades is you need to take great care of them. Keeping them spotless is essential, and you need to be cautious not to scratch them.

In fact, I recommend you avoid touching their lenses altogether.

Pros

Cons

#2 LIP Surge - Value Purchase

4.6/5
4.3/5
4.6/5

If you’re not ready to dig deep into your pockets for surfing sunglasses, consider the SeaSpecs.

It’s a decent and super-inexpensive alternative to the pricier Lip models.

For the price, however, expect some compromises, especially on the optical performance.

It’s not that bad either, but if you’re a stickler of perfection, the SeaSpecs might not be the best purchase for you.

But the good thing is many surfers have positive feedback about the shades, and I even know a few surfers who have used these shades for several years.

Features and Benefits

Design-Impact Protection

There’s plenty to love with the SeaSpec’s design, but one standout feature is the durability.

See, I’ve a problem with budget purchases because most of them don’t last for long and break to the slightest contact with waves.

But not the SeaSpec!

They provide decent impact protection and prevent your eyes from getting hit by a flying object or falling on the water.

Of course, they’re not ideal for tough mud jumping or going obstacle courses, but you can’t get anything sturdier and durable like this for surfing sunglasses.

The only beef I had with the design is the lack of style. I’m a guy who likes designer sunglasses, so this was disappointing. Not a dealbreaker, though, since they’re still functional and serve the purpose.

No-Lose Performance

Getting wiped out when ducking diving happens too often with surfers. And when it does, surfers are more likely to lose their sunglasses.

Luckily, SeaSpecs had thought of this when designing their sunglasses.

First, the specs generally stay on your head and will rarely fall off, including when crashing or getting rolled over by the waves.

Of course, even the strongest leashes will at times break. Not a problem either with the SeaSpecs.

Even if you lose them, the shades float in saltwater. You simply have to wait for the white water to clear, and you’ll find the shades bobbing up and down right next to you-sweet.

For easier/faster retrieval, choose a pair with yellow side and brown lenses.

Comfort

Wearing the SeaSpecs doesn’t feel like a chore.

I was impressed at how comfortable and secure the glasses are when you’ve them on.

When securely properly, you can’t get them to come off even when duck diving and won’t press on your head. It’s like they’re not even there.

Optical Performance

SeaSpec’s optical performance isn’t its greatest suit as the lens is of average quality and doesn’t offer a good vision.

It’s not a surprise, especially considering the price point.

The salt crusts build up quickly after getting sprayed in the water.

For me, the biggest drawback is how they kept misting up to an extent I couldn’t see anything.

I presume that where I live is cold and the air temp is war, they steam up pretty quickly.

Fortunately, with a few old-fashioned tricks, such as using shampoo, I overcame this challenge.

Overall, the SeaSpecs offer good value for money at a reasonable price. But don’t just expect the clear and broad vision or water/salt repellency from the Lip sunglasses.

Pros

Cons

#3 SeaSpecs - Budget Option

4.2/5
4.6/5
4/5

If you’re not ready to dig deep into your pockets for surfing sunglasses, consider the SeaSpecs.

It’s a decent and super-inexpensive alternative to the pricier Lip models.

For the price, however, expect some compromises, especially on the optical performance.

It’s not that bad either, but if you’re a stickler of perfection, the SeaSpecs might not be the best purchase for you.

But the good thing is many surfers have positive feedback about the shades, and I even know a few surfers who have used these shades for several years.

Features and Benefits

Design-Impact Protection

There’s plenty to love with the SeaSpec’s design, but one standout feature is the durability.

See, I’ve a problem with budget purchases because most of them don’t last for long and break to the slightest contact with waves.

But not the SeaSpec!

They provide decent impact protection and prevent your eyes from getting hit by a flying object or falling on the water.

Of course, they’re not ideal for tough mud jumping or going obstacle courses, but you can’t get anything sturdier and durable like this for surfing sunglasses.

The only beef I had with the design is the lack of style. I’m a guy who likes designer sunglasses, so this was disappointing. Not a dealbreaker, though, since they’re still functional and serve the purpose.

No-Lose Performance

Getting wiped out when ducking diving happens too often with surfers. And when it does, surfers are more likely to lose their sunglasses.

Luckily, SeaSpecs had thought of this when designing their sunglasses.

First, the specs generally stay on your head and will rarely fall off, including when crashing or getting rolled over by the waves.

Of course, even the strongest leashes will at times break. Not a problem either with the SeaSpecs.

Even if you lose them, the shades float in saltwater. You simply have to wait for the white water to clear, and you’ll find the shades bobbing up and down right next to you-sweet.

For easier/faster retrieval, choose a pair with yellow side and brown lenses.

Comfort

Wearing the SeaSpecs doesn’t feel like a chore.

I was impressed at how comfortable and secure the glasses are when you’ve them on.

When securely properly, you can’t get them to come off even when duck diving and won’t press on your head. It’s like they’re not even there.

Optical Performance

SeaSpec’s optical performance isn’t its greatest suit as the lens is of average quality and doesn’t offer a good vision.

It’s not a surprise, especially considering the price point.

The salt crusts build up quickly after getting sprayed in the water.

For me, the biggest drawback is how they kept misting up to an extent I couldn’t see anything.

I presume that where I live is cold and the air temp is war, they steam up pretty quickly.

Fortunately, with a few old-fashioned tricks, such as using shampoo, I overcame this challenge.

Overall, the SeaSpecs offer good value for money at a reasonable price. But don’t just expect the clear and broad vision or water/salt repellency from the Lip sunglasses.

Pros

Cons

#4 Ocean Tierra Del Fuego - Ideal for Land and Watersports

4.4/5
4.5/5
4.5/5

Fourth, on our list of the best surf sunglasses may intrigue users who need a shade they can use for both lands and water.

While its versatility means it takes several compromises as the ideal surfing sunglasses, I love it because it doesn’t limit me where I can use it.

But is it the right sunglasses for your surfing needs?

Features and Benefits

Design-Versatile

Few sunglasses have such broad usability, such as the Del Fuego.

Its usefulness goes beyond water, extending on land.

I find it perfect for surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, and land sports such as tennis, cycling, and racketball.

It’s a great pick for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t like to get tied to a single sport or have the resources to buy quality sunglasses for every sport.

Comfort

Comfort is essential for any sunglass for surfing, and this option doesn’t skimp on this.

Del Fuego’s frame is exceptionally comfortable, thanks to the interior padding that fits the shape of your face.

It remains in position at all times while preventing the water in your eyes.

However, I found out that people with smaller faces may want to try them because the lenses, with a 75-inch lens width, are fairly large and may give users smaller faces a bit of bug-eyed look.

Fortunately, it’s not too hard to find a Del Fuego’s design that doesn’t fit you. You can exchange the pin for an adjustable rubber so you can enjoy your surfing without worrying about anything else.

Adjustable

Flexibility for the Del Fuego goes beyond fit.

I’m a big fan of the removable arms and head straps, which allow the sunglass to double like a sports goggle or sport sunglass.

They can transform into regular sunglasses for everyday use. After a session, you simply need to clip out the elastic strap and clip in the arms and viola; the Oceans transform into a normal pair of sunglasses.

On the other hand, the removable foam padding helps with impact protection and increases the ventilation to prevent fogging.

Optical Performance

The optics are quite decent, especially for the price.

Not anywhere close to the Lip sunglasses, but they’ve several technical performances, including polarized lenses, which I find useful for eliminating glare and adding contrast and color.

With the mask on, the lenses also get a bit of fog, which you need to rinse out regularly.

Overall, the Ocean’s is a fantastic purchase, and in addition to the polarized lenses, this model includes a floating frame that ensures the sunglasses stay afloat in case they fall into the sea.

Pros

Cons

#5 Costa Del Mar Sunglasses - Best for Surf Fishing

4.3/5
4.5/5
4.3/5

If you need Sunglass for surf fishing, it’s hard to beat the Costa Del Mars.

These glasses are popular for clarity, protection, and great coverage.

They also come at a reasonable price, which makes them a suitable option for many surfers.

Features and Benefits

Material

Few surfers consider the sunglass material, but it’s critical for the durability, longevity, and shade’s overall performance.

Fortunately, with this shade, you’ve two options to choose from: glass or plastic.

We recommend glass for surf fishing because of its clarity and scratch-resistance.

On the other hand, plastic lenses offer more durability and are affordable too. They’re perfect for surfers who need to wear sunglasses for higher-impact activities.

Once you’ve chosen the lens material, you need to consider the lens color.

Normally, this is determined by the time of day you practice fishing and how much light you’re exposed to,’

We recommend the Green Mirror or Copper lens for inshore surf fishing as they offer detailed clarity and depth.

As for the frame, surfers will benefit from TR-90 nylon, which is flexible and durable.

The material can withstand the varying temperatures, and most importantly, it’ll take on the hits even when you’re wiped out.

Again, the frame is available in a variety of colors, so you’ve plenty of options to choose from.

Optical Performance

Costa’s claim to fame is a result of its infamous 580 lens technology.

The lenses are coined after the 580 wavelengths of harmful blue light they’re designed to filter.

I’m a big fan of these lenses as they help with reducing glare from the sun and reflection for the water, so I can easily identify the waves and chops while surfing.

They also provide more clarity and depth, so it’s easy to spot the corals and even subtly like the fish accurately.

Even better, the lenses offer some level of customization, allowing you to adjust the lens material and color depending on the levels of light, activity, or simply aesthetics.

Pros

Cons

Best Sunglasses for Surf Buying Guide

Best Surf Sunglasses buying guide

Not all sunglasses designed and sold can withstand the rigors of the waves.

Only those tailored for surfing should be considered as appropriate eyewear to combat the effects of pterygium, pinguecula, cataracts, and muscular degeneration.

Here are the essential factors to consider when selecting the best sunglasses for surfing.

But first, let’s look at the different lenses for surfing sunglasses.

Types of Lenses for Surf Sunglasses

Surf sunglasses differ from traditional shades, mainly because of the quality of the lenses.

The best lenses offer UV protection while offering clear and unobstructed views.

Here are the popular types of lenses for surf sunglasses.

Polarized Lens

The polarized lenses are useful at reducing the glare from both sand and water, which is quite useful for surfers in the ocean.

They also offer a broader range of vision and will help you see even across choppy water.

Smoke Lens

The smoke lens can help in reducing the overall brightness, making them ideal for outdoor water sports.

They also provide maximum clarity on sunny days.

Amber Lens

The amber lenses work better to provide vision and increased contrast, which helps surfers differentiate the blue skies’ darker waters.

They also help to keep your vision sharp even on partly cloudy days, which is useful during unpredictable weather in the ocean.

Mirrored Lens

The mirrored lenses excel at lowering the brightness during sunny days.

Factors to Consider when Selecting Sunglasses for Surf

Material

The shades material, both the frame and lens, determine the overall functionality and durability.

For the frame, standard options include metal and plastic.

Metal frames have the best durability and strength and are useful in extreme sports. Unfortunately, they’re bulky and heavy, coming out as uncomfortable after using them for an extended session.

On the other hand, plastic frames are lightweight but much easier to crack.

There’re also options for frames that incorporate silicone material for added bendability and flexibility.

UV Protection

Eye protection is one major reason for wearing sunglasses when surfing.

It’s common knowledge that continuous exposure to UV rays damages your eyes and provokes early cataracts.

When surfing, the exposure is even more prominent due to the water’s glare and riding during the most UV-intense hours.

So, it’s always a good idea to consider the level of UV protection when choosing a surf sunglasses for your needs.

In the US, the FDA doesn’t impose any minimum UV protection level, so it’s always a good idea to look for options that specifically mention the ability to block at least 98% of UVA and UVB rays.

Fit

Fit shouldn’t be hard to define on surf sunglasses. After all, your purchase should be comfortable at all times, right?

When it comes to fit, choose a sunglass that aligns to the contours of your face and retains its shape every time you use them on the surf.

In addition to proper placement for best vision, consider sunglasses designed to promote proper comfort for all-day wear.

Avoid ill-fitting glasses as they’re uncomfortable, which can be counterproductive, especially when planning to enjoy the waves for long sessions.

Anti-Impact & Anti-Fog

Impact and fog resistance are the other two essential features you should never overlook when choosing the correct sunglasses for surfing in.

The ideal sunglasses should withstand the amount of pounding you take when riding a wave.

They shouldn’t only repel water but mitigate salt residue that forms on them when dipped in saltwater.

I also like my sunglasses with drain holes in the frame to help water evacuate-nothing is worse than having water trapped under your eyes when riding.

You also need to consider sunglasses that don’t mist or fog up when in use. They are invaluable as surfers can’t afford to lose visibility and focus when they’re out.

Good airflow helps in reducing fog on the lenses. Alternatively, you can spray anti-fog spray on both sides of your lenses before going out.

360-Degree Visibility

Another essential factor to consider when going for surf sunglasses is the visibility element.

We recommend going for sunglasses with 360-degree visibility as they reduce vision difficulties to offering you a wide field of view.’

Additionally, these glasses with a wide field of view reduce glare and make surfing in the sun 100% easier and enjoyable.

360-degree visibility also makes sunglasses compatible with different faces and head shapes.

Ultra-Secure Attachment

This is obviously a necessary feature.

Even the most skilled surfers get swept by the tide and waves, so you want to have sunglasses that will hold tight around your head.

But finding straps that work is rare, even in premium models. So, you should have some kind of backup leash tethered to your wetsuit, so you don’t lose the glasses even after a wipeout.

Buoyancy and Visibility

If you don’t have a leash, you want your sunglasses to float on the water so you can grab them and put them on if you lose them.

But even if the glasses float, they can be challenging to find after getting ripped away. If you can, choose a sunglass with flashy colors to help with the search.

Visual Appeal

The overall appearance and aesthetics play a huge role when purchasing surfer’s sunglasses.

Consider attractive options that are comfortable to wear in private or public surfing facilities.

If you care more about looks, you can even match your sunglasses to your surfing suit.

Wrap Up: Our Choice

Best Surf Sunglasses wrap up

Our winner in the best surf sunglasses review is the Lip Typhoon.

It wasn’t hard picking this option as our top choice because it ticks all the boxes for the best surf shades.

Lip Typhoon is a performance-oriented sunglass that is hard to beat save for the price.

It’s reliable and doesn’t break as easily as the cheap options do.

The sunglass also has a host of features, such as UV protection and top-tier lenses that enhance the overall optical performance when surfing.

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