Best Sunscreen for Water Sports

Water sports like surfing, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and more are indeed fun. However, it exposes your skin to more direct and indirect sunlight that contains ultraviolet or UV radiation which is the source of sunburn, skin aging, and even skin cancer. Therefore, if you’re into watersports, you need to have a sturdy sunscreen that provides great sun protection while resisting both the water around you and the sweat from the intense water sport you are completing.

If you will be hitting the beach soon to try a new water sport but you don’t want to suffer from sunburns, you’re in the right place. Today we are going to help you find the best sunscreen for water sports.

Things to Consider When Buying a Sunscreen for Water Sports

Before we give you a list of the best sunscreen you can use for water sports, we are first going to give you some of the things you should consider or look into when buying a sunscreen. These will help you find the best one for water sports use.

Broad Spectrum Protection

Water sports usually involve a lot of your body exposed to intense sunlight. This is the reason why broad spectrum protection is very important. To make sure that you are getting an awesome level of protection, you need to make sure that the packaging of your sunscreen is labeled with “broad spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection.

Sun Protection Factor

Sun Protection Factor or SPF is not well-understood by a lot of people. So, how much SPF is the best for water sports? SPF indicates the amount of time a sunscreen protects us. To be able to get this time, you need to multiply the SPF by the amount of time it takes you to burn without protection. Therefore, if you take 10 minutes to burn without sunscreen when you use an SPF 15 sunscreen, it should take 150 minutes or 15 times as long.

For water sports, it is ideal to choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or more. However, this still won’t provide the prolonged protection that is needed that’s why regular reapplication is still required together with wearing sun-protective clothing.


There are rigorous exercise and lots of water involved in water sports, meaning, you need to find a sunscreen that stays where it needs to be so that your broad-spectrum protection will be able to do its job effectively. Choosing water-resistant sunscreen is the best for this job. But keep in mind that there’s no such thing as “waterproof” or “sweat-proof” sunscreen. They can only be either 40 or 80 minutes water-resistant.

For water sports, it’s better to stick with 80-minute water-resistant sunscreens. You can also look for sunscreens that are labeled with sport, water, or ocean because these usually have higher water resistance and are tested under the relevant conditions.

Choose Lotion Over Spray

It is better or let’s say safer to choose sunscreens that are in lotion form than spray. It’s because breathing in sunscreen chemicals is a more direct method of exposure that can lead to lung injury. Also, spray sunscreens are believed to have inadequate protection because its convenient method of application makes it challenging to create a consistent and enough layer of sunscreen to fully protect you.

The Best Sunscreens for Water Sports

Where to Buy
Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream
Goddess Garden Organics Sport Sunscreen Lotion
Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen
Burn Out Physical Sunscreen
Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Lotion
All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion
Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
Tropic Sport Mineral Sunscreen
Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion


Now that you know the things to look into when buying a sunscreen, we are going to give you a list of the best sunscreens for water sports that you may like.

1. Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream

This sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection. It is one of the simplest formulas you can find on the market and it only has four other ingredients which are sunflower vitamin E, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, and beeswax. This makes it 100% natural and 98% organic which is great for people with sensitive skin.

This sunscreen form Badger also has the highest marketable water resistance at 80 minutes, making it more suitable for providing protection to water sportspeople. It also has a high concentration of zinc oxide that provides awesome and balanced UV protection. Some people do not like its thick formula because it leaves a white cast on most skin tones, but that is not a very big deal, especially because it offers lasting protection to the skin.

2. Goddess Garden Organics Sport Sunscreen Lotion

This is another natural sunscreen that offers physical, broad spectrum. Its concentration of active ingredients is lower compared to other sunscreens, but it can still provide effective and balanced UV protection.

This sunscreen is designed for athletic use and it also has the highest water-resistance level at 80 minutes. It means that this sunscreen will not run or streak because of water or sweat. It may also leave a white cast on the skin but it will surely protect you from sunburn.

3. Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

This is another broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides physical protection. It has a high-SPF formulation that offers market-leading, balanced UV protection to its users. This sunscreen is dermatologically recommended and used by professional athletes. It is made using natural ingredients like oils from cranberry seeds, jojoba, olives, and sunflowers.

This sunscreen will not feel oily on the skin. It also has the maximum 80-minute water resistance, meaning, the lotion will stay in your skin regardless of how much water and sweat you encounter.

4. Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen

This is also an all-natural, physical sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection. It has the highest concentration of active ingredients as well, which means that the sun protection of this sunscreen is impressive and well-balanced. It is made of natural ingredients and it is also hypoallergenic that is great for people with sensitive skin.

This sunscreen is also biodegradable and reef-safe. It means that you can use it in the ocean without fear of harm to the ecosystem. It also has 80-minute water resistance for longer sun protection. This is a great sunscreen for people who loves water sports and who are environmentally conscious as well.

5. Burn Out Physical Sunscreen

This sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection and it can survive the swell and surf of the ocean. It has a smooth texture that makes it easy to apply and it feels nicer on the skin compared to other physical sunscreens. It is also a natural sunscreen that is great for those with sensitive skin.

This sunscreen is designed originally for use by ocean athletes. It has the highest 80-minute water resistance level. If you tend to do water sports for longer times, then this is probably the best sunscreen for you. The only downside of this sunscreen is it takes time to rub in. But once it’s applied, you will certainly enjoy water sports without worrying about getting sunburned.

6. Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Lotion

This sunscreen lotion has a broad spectrum SPF 70 that will give you superior sun protection for your active lifestyle. It is inspired by athletes and it is also sweat-resistant. It can keep your skin cool while sun protection stays on. It has a Micromesh technology that makes a breathable barrier which allows sweat to pass through and evaporate. It is a lightweight sunscreen and it is also non-greasy. It is 80-minute water-resistant and feels comfortable on the skin.

7. All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion

This sunscreen lotion has broad-spectrum protection SPF 30 and it is 80-minute water-resistant. It has a lightweight formula that is non-greasy. It is made from organic green tea, rose hips, and buriti oil which can also repair damaged skin. This sunscreen is gluten-free and biodegradable coral reef friendly, making it a great choice for water sports.

8. Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

This sunscreen offers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection SPF 70 and it is 80-minutes water-resistant. It is hypoallergenic and made with reef-friendly, vegan ingredients to protect against UVA rays. It can also moisturize the skin because it is Vitamin E enriched.

The creation of this sunscreen follows the recommendations and guidelines set by the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) and the American Cancer Society. Just apply it at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun to allow maximum absorption and protection. It is also a great sunscreen for people who have dry skins.

9. Tropic Sport Mineral Sunscreen

This sunscreen passes both the U.S. FDA 80-minute and Australia 240-minute water resistance tests. It is a natural sunscreen that will protect you from both harmful UVA and UVB rays, keeping your skin healthy. This sunscreen is reef friendly and safe. It is made without harsh active chemical ingredients. It is a great sunscreen for those who enjoy surfing, snorkeling, and other water sports.

10. Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion

This is a high-performance sunscreen that stands up to the most intense outdoor activities including water sports. It has a lightweight and breathable texture that allows strong protection without feeling heavy and sticky on the skin. It stays on in seven conditions such as sun, pool, water, ocean, water, wind, sweat, sand, and extreme heat.

This sunscreen lotion also provides a creamy and moisturizing effect. It is a perfect choice for water sport enthusiasts and active sun lovers who do not want to be slowed down when having fun outside or in the water.

These are some of the best sunscreens for water sports that we can recommend. All of these sunscreens will definitely help you protect your skin from getting sunburned while enjoying your favorite water sports. You can also check out our post on Tips for Protecting Your Skin While Snorkeling, Bodyboarding, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding for more advice about sun protection.