6 Key Points
UV & SPRAY PROTECTION
UV rays and sea-spray are sneaky little critters. If there’s a way to get behind your lenses and into your eyes, they’ll find it.
Unless you’re wearing a full wrap frame, the gap between your face and the edge of the sunglasses frame is asking for trouble. The only way to minimise the potential for lasting damage to your eyes is to choose an ‘8-base curve radius’ frame.
GLARE & POLARISATION
When sunlight is reflected off a surface like water, the glare can be distracting and make life uncomfortable. It can be particularly bad when the sun is at a low angle, and the blinding glare can be hazardous, particularly in a fast-moving environment when you need your wits about you.
The good news is that polarised lenses cut out this blinding glare, increasing comfort and contrast and reducing eye fatigue.
Both the frame and lenses of your watersport sunglasses should have good impact resistance. This will protect you against eye injury and of course, save you a bundle on frequent replacement of broken sunnies!
The frame should be robust, capable of withstanding impacts and shatterproof and the lenses constructed of a high impact-resistant material like polycarbonate, nylon or NXT™(Trivex™). We strongly urge you not to buy sunglasses with mineral lenses.
‘VLT’ (Visible Light Transmission) or ‘TV’ rates determine what percentage of visible light passes through the lenses and into the eyes. This is different to UV light which we’ll cover later.
Category 3 lenses are generally the most suitable for watersports – particularly here in Australia which boasts an enviable sunny climate. If you’re in a cloudy region, it might be more appropriate to consider a category 2 lens. Category 3 lenses allow between 8-18% of visible light through to the eyes.
Lens coatings are important assets when you’re out on the water.
Your lenses should have at least a hydrophobic coating so that water droplets do not accumulate on the lens surface. Better still, they should have an oleophobic coating too.
A hydrophobic coating repels water whereas an oleophobic coating repels oils, sweat, dirt and dust. Having both of these coatings on your lenses significantly elevate your visual awareness and your enjoyment of your water-based activity.
What happens to your sunnies when you wipe out? Your mates will probably have a good laugh at your misfortune, but will your sunglasses survive? Sunnies going AWOL happens all too frequently and it happens fast!
There are two ways to prevent this from happening:
- Wear sunglasses that float
- Have a reliable retention system on your sunglasses
Sunglasses for Windsurfing – 3 Models To Choose From
We have three types of specialised sunglasses that are great for windsurfing – the FLO, Typhoon and Surge ranges.
Let’s talk about the FLO first. These sunglasses are lightweight, strapless and unsinkable and are incredibly versatile. Whether you’re on the ocean off Perth, on your board in Botany Bay, at the beach in Bondi, in the car, or at a bar after a windsurfing session… they’re the perfect ‘plug and play’ companion.
The FLO has built-in flotation technology so there’s no leash to contend with, leaving you to focus on your game with confidence. This model comes with all the essential coatings needed for watersports and offers a heap of lens options for different environments.
The FLO is suited to the more leisurely windsurfing disciplines in calmer waters with light winds. That means if you do have a wipeout, they’ll be easy to retrieve and you’ll be back up in a flash.
If you are into more action-packed windsurfing, you’re spoilt for choice in Australia. There are plenty of spots which are perfect for slalom racing, big wave-riding or just having fun where the wind is stronger than eight knots and the water is a bit choppy. If this is your space, we recommend our Surge and Typhoon models.
These two models come with a fail-safe leash system so you’ll never lose them – even in the most epic of wipeouts!
Wave Riding & Freestyle Windsurfing Sunglasses
We get the need for speed. We love the crisp, fast beat of the board nipping the top of the waves as it flies over the water and the exhilarating release of every wave, jump and turn. The LiP Sunglasses team loves the sport just as much as you do which is why we designed our specialised windsurfing sunglasses.
We also know that if you’re playing in anything more than a few feet of swell – especially if there’s white water – your sunglasses are at risk of falling off and getting lost. You need a foolproof system of tethering them to your head which is why you’ll love the bombproof retention system of our Surge and Typhoon models. Their adjustable cord leash attaches to the temples of the sunglasses, which is attached to a silicone necklace – so you and your sunnies will be united forever!
The Typhoon is actually your best option for windsurfing sunglasses especially if you like to boost and occasionally experience epic wipeouts. It has shock-absorbing rubber on the inside of the frame, so when you’re coming down for a heavy splash, it’s good to know there’s quality padding which will cushion the impact.
Speed & Slalom Windsurfing Sunglasses
There’s no shortage of tops spots for speed and slalom windsurfing in Australia, but one thing’s for sure. If this is your sport, you’re going to want the secure attachment of the Typhoon or Surge windsurfing sunglasses. When you’re shredding it at maximum speed, flying over bumps and swell, there’s no time to backtrack if your sunglasses fly off. You’ll lose the race and you’ll lose your sunnies.
When boarding at speed, you want your sunglasses to be tethered securely. That’s why you should choose Typhoon and Surge range of Lip Sunglasses which have a non-slip cord and silicone necklace built into the design.
An extra consideration for riding at speed is the closeness of the fit.
Both the Surge and Typhoon frames are a ‘wrap’ shape. The Typhoon has a marginally fuller frame while the Surge is slightly more tapered at the periphery. If you’re travelling at high speeds of between 20-40 knots, aerodynamics come into play and you’ll definitely want the frame of your windsurfing sunglasses to follow the contours of your head closely. Any gap at the side can lead to turbulence which may cause your eyes to weep, which is not a good thing when you’re moving at high speeds close to others.
Freeride Windsurfing Sunglasses
The Surge and Typhoon models were specially designed as windsurfing sunglasses in strong wind conditions (over eight knots) or when the sea is choppy and there are foamy white caps everywhere.
It’s really tricky to spot floating sunnies in white water, especially if you take a tumble. And when you’re grappling with your board and trying to get your sail back upright in blustery conditions, it’s really not easy to find and retrieve lost equipment. That’s where the leash system of our Lip Sunglasses Surge and Typhoon range comes into its own. They’ll stay with you, regardless of the conditions and the tumble.
And if you’re a windsurfing newbie, you’ll really like the Surge and Typhoon windsurfing sunglasses because of their double vortex anti-fogging ventilation. If you’re spending more time in the water rather than on it, lens fogging can be a challenge. Heavy breathing is a primary cause of lens fogging, so when you’re sucking heaps of air trying to master the art of windsurfing, you need specialised windsurfing sunglasses that won’t let you down.
And if you’re windsurfing in places where the water is a bit chilly but the air is humid – foggy lenses can also be an issue if you don’t have the right windsurfing eyewear. But when the venting system of the Typhoon and Surge sunnies gets to work, you can get back to doing what you love quickly.
Foil Windsurfing Sunglasses
With its plethora of world-famous spots like Superbank, Byron Bay and Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Australia has always been on any avid windsurfer’s bucket list – and with foiling now rapidly gaining popularity – there’s an even more colourful sea of sails all along Aussie’s stunning coastline.
But foiling wipeouts can be intense and a crash can catapult you into the water. If you were moving at high speed, this will quickly put some distance between you and your sunglasses if they are not tethered to you.
For this reason, we strongly recommend the Typhoon model if you’re considering foiling sunglasses. They offer the best impact protection with shock-absorbing TPU rubber surrounding the frame.
If you’re foiling on calmer waters with lighter breezes, then any of our watershades are a good option. You can even choose the FLO model which float on the water if they fall off while you’re foiling. But remember, unlike the Typhoon and Surge range from LiP Sunglasses, they don’t have a retainer leash, so it may take a little time retrieving them.