Tips for Protecting Your Eyes While Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Have you ever experienced going out on a paddle boarding trip, but your eyes hurt so much afterward? The most probable reason for this is that you were not protecting your eyes right. Wearing eyewear during water sports is also important, just as you need to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays using sunscreen.

Why Do We Need Eye Protection While Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

A pair of sports sunglasses on a standup paddleboard

So, why should we be interested in eye protection when planning to go stand up paddle boarding? Below are a few reasons to take the proper precautions:

1. Reduce the chances of eye irritation, strain, damage, ad dryness

If you’re taking part in standup paddle boarding on a saltwater body, the salty spray can also result in eye irritation and dryness. Wearing sports eyewear with UV protection reduces the likelihood of developing headaches due to eyestrain; it also helps prevent dry eyes and sunburn on the eyes. 

2. The water reflects and intensifies the sun’s glare 

Do you know that when you’re on the water, UV rays are intensified by reflection? This is why surfers, paddle boarders, and other water surface sports hobbyists are at a relatively higher risk for cataracts and other eye conditions. With this in mind, we should also be looking at tips for protecting your eyes while body boarding

The same goes for anyone who participates in snow-related activities such as skiing or snowboarding–the glare of the sun bouncing off the white surfaces can bounce more directly into the eyes and cause damage. 

3. Preventing surfer’s eye

Standup paddle boarders and surfers are at high risk of pterygium, which is also known as surfer’s eye. It’s a condition where a standup paddle boarder experiences itchiness, inflammation, irritation, and redness of the eyes. For some patients, the vision problems they experience might even require the individual to undergo surgery. 

Surfers who spend a lot of time in the water will start to feel irritation in one or both eyes. While lubricating eye drops will help soothe inflammation, they’re not always enough to deal with the issue in the long term. With the proper eye protection and precautions, standup paddle boarders won’t have to worry about undergoing eye surgery, extra eye care, and other problems. 

Steps to Take for Eye Protection While Stand Up Paddle boarding

a woman wearing a sun visor while standup paddle boarding

After we’ve ascertained the various reasons for protecting our eyes while stand up paddle boarding, it’s now time to look at the specific steps to take. Most of the following precautions are essential ones, but see which ones suit you the most:

Wear a hat

It’s recommended for paddle boarders to wear wide-brimmed hats, surf hats, or surf caps to protect the face, eyes, ears, and for some, also the neck. A hat can keep your skin and eyes safe from UV rays. Make sure that the hat isn’t too flimsy or too loosely woven or the sun’s rays will filter in.  

Wear sunglasses

To prevent risks for eye damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun, you have to wear sunglasses with UV protection. Since you are paddle boarding, regular sunglasses with UV protection can work pretty well. Headbands and leashes might be enough to secure the sunglasses and make sure they don’t slip off. 

Use anti-fog ventilation with both sunglasses and goggles

Your sunglasses will get wet when you’re standup paddle boarding, so anti-fog technology is a must for the eyewear you choose. Nothing is worse than losing sight of what you are doing because your glasses are getting all steamy. If you want a more secure substitute for sunglasses, then you can opt for goggles designed for surface water sports, such as surfing, paddle boarding, body boarding, and kite surfing. Your swim goggles can also work if they have polarized, anti-fog lenses.

If you wear vision-correcting contact lenses, wearing goggles is a better choice. This way, you don’t have to worry about saltwater getting sprayed into your eyes. Plus, a pair of goggles that also work as shades can help prevent your eyes from getting burned by the sun, which can be twice as harsh for contact lens wearers.

If you have vision problems, check out prescription sunglasses for standup paddle boarding. You may also want to look up some tips for standup paddle boarding while wearing prescription glasses

Prescription sunglasses

Protecting your eyes from UV rays while correcting vision can be tricky. Thankfully, there are many prescription eyeglasses nowadays that can be coated with a UV protection coating. This way, the pair can turn into shades (while still correcting vision) while you’re out in the sun. An option like this is also a great one for those who need a guide to rock climbing with prescription glasses

Sunglasses designed for water sports

These are also called surf sunglasses at times, though they’re perfect for paddle boarding as well. Here are just a few reasons why a pair of these is superior to regular sunglasses:

  • Each pair will have a hydrophobic coating so that water will just slide off the lenses. 
  • Have 100 percent UVB and UVA protection
  • Optional head strap for keeping the pair on the head even when the paddle boarder is in water
  • The ability to float
  • Anti-fog ventilation, which is necessary at below 66 degrees Fahrenheit

If you’re wearing a pair of sunglasses, it’s a good option to wear a hat as well. This will provide more layers of protection to your sensitive eyes. Plus, the glasses keep your eyes safe while the hat makes sure that you don’t get a glasses-shaped tan.


Standup paddle boarding is a lot of fun, but it does come with its share of risks. However, we do need to take the proper precautions before going to the beach, camping, and other activities as well. Make a habit of following the tips above, and you can be confident of having a great paddle boarding experience without worrying about any eye-related issues.