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December 14, 2021 8 min read

Best Paddle Boarding Sunglasses

Women wearing a polarized sunglasses SUPing on a gili board

Sunglasses are extremely important if you’re heading out SUPing because they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. 

When out on the water, your eyes are subject to direct sun exposure and UV that is reflected off the surface of the water.  

With many options on the market, it’s hard to decide which are the best sunglasses for stand up paddle boarding. Lucky for you, we’ve broken down the top 9 options that will not only keep your eyes protected, but also keep you looking your best. 

On our list today, we have both standard and floating sunglasses. We highly recommend a sunglass strap if you purchase non-floating glasses to prevent them from falling off and sinking to the bottom of the water, never to be seen again. 

SUP Sunglass Buying Guide

Woman wearing a polarized sunglasses holding two gili iSUP

Before we get into our top 9 sunglasses for SUPing in 2022, let’s go over some deciding factors that’ll help you choose which glasses are right for you. 

Materials

Sunglass frames can be made from materials like plastic and different metals. Plastic frames are lighter and generally less expensive. 

If you’re spending a day out on the water, a plastic frame will be more comfortable on your face and won’t sink as fast, if at all, as metal frames would. 

Lens

Lenses are the most important part of sunglasses as these are what actually protect your eyes from UV rays.

Sunglass lenses come in different colors and aren’t just made for style like you may think. There is a difference in the color of the sunglass lenses and in how they protect your eyes. 

Polarized lenses give you the best protection against UV. They’re the most popular choice for water sports use as they cut out glare that is reflected from the water. 

Polarized lenses can be partnered with the varying colors to give you the best protection possible. 

Yellow and orange-hue lenses help keep your eyes protected in darker conditions. For example, if you plan to paddle down rivers or lakes that have shaded cover, yellow lenses would be a great option for you.

Blue-blocker lenses block out glare and blue light that bounce off the surface of the water.

Mirrored lenses reflect the light off the lens, preventing it from harming your eyes. 

Size, Shape, and Style

A couple wearing a polarized sunglasses SUPing a GILI manta board

The size, shape and style of your sunglasses should be considered when buying a new pair for a few different reasons.

The size of the sunglasses will ensure that your eyes are properly protected. You need to find a pair with lenses that align with your eyes and with a bridge wide enough for your nose. 

The shape depends on which frames suit your specific face shape. Some shapes may suit you, whereas others won’t, and that’s fine. You just need to know what your shape (and style) is. 

  • Heart faces- frames with wider bottoms
  • Diamond faces - frames with a round lens
  • Round faces - frames that are square
  • Oval faces - suit most frame shapes

The style of your glasses is a personal preference, but it is important to purchase a pair that you feel comfortable and confident wearing. Sunglasses can be expensive, and buying a pair that you don’t particularly like or feel confident in can be a waste of money. 

The sunglasses you buy for your SUPing adventures can also be worn day to day, so it’s best to find a pair that are versatile and will suit all occasions.

Price

Price is also a personal preference, and there are sunglasses to suit all budgets. It doesn’t matter if you spend $20 or $200, just make sure the lenses are 100% UVA approved. 

Durability

As you’ll be using your sunglasses for a water sport, durability is a big factor in deciding which pair is right for you. 

Polycarbonate, nylon, and blended nylon frames are durable and lightweight, making them a good option for water sports activities. 

GILI’s Top 3 Picks

Best Overall
Oakley Men split shots sunglasses
Oakley Split Shot

The Plutonite lens material offers UV protection that filters 100% of UVA rays, UVB rays up to 400 nm, and some harmful blue light. 

Key Features:

  • Frame: Nylon infused plastic
  • Lens: HD Polarized
  • Frame Size: 15 cms
Check Latest Price
Best Budget
Pro red jetski vented sunglasses

Pro-Red Jetski Vented Sunglasses

Strong shatter- resistant polycarbonate lenses provide 100% UV protection.

Key Features:

  • Frame: Polycarbonate
  • Lens: Polycarbonate
  • Frame Size: 14.2 cms
Check Latest Price
Best Quality
Dragon tidal x polarized sunglasses
Tidal X Dragon

Their category 3 lenses have a high level of sun glare protection, while the frame is made from high quality durable material.

Key Features:

  • Frame: Plastic 
  • Lens: Category 3 Lenses, Mirrored Lens, Polarized
  • Frame Size: 15.3 cms
Check Latest Price

Best Sunglasses for SUPing

Let’s take a look at the best sunglasses for stand-up paddle boarding. 

Oakley Split Shots Sunglasses

The Oakley Split Shot sunglasses made it onto our best overall pick for a few different reasons. 

The frames come in 12 different colors, and all have different types of lenses. Oakley also has a customizable feature where you can build your own Split Shots to best suit your needs and style preferences. 

Oakley Men split shots sunglasses

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Nylon infused plastic
  • Lens: Customizable lenses 
  • Frame Size: 13.2 cms

What we love:

  • They’re completely customizable, so you can choose your color preference and lens type
  • They can be worn day-to-day
  • They have impact protection
  • They have a non-slip nose pad to stop them from falling down
  • Comes with a strap to prevent you from losing them

What we don't love:

  • The frame size is small and not suited for larger heads

check latest price

Pro-Red Jetski Vented Sunglasses

If you have trouble keeping sunglasses on your face, the Pro-Red Jetski Vented sunglasses could be a great option for you! 

The added sunglass strap protection means you don’t need to worry about your glasses falling off, even in the event of a fall in. Polycarbonate lenses provide 100% UV protection with a REVO lens coating that cuts out glare from the water. 

Pro red jetski vented sunglasses

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Polycarbonate
  • Lens: Polycarbonate
  • Frame Size: 14.2 cms

What we love:

  • The fitted sunglass strap prevents them from falling off
  • The lenses are shatter resistant and durable
  • Air vents allow air flow and prevent the lenses fogging up
  • They’re adjustable to fit most face shapes

What we don't love:

  • The lenses are not polarized
  • They only come in a red frame, which isn’t up to everyone's taste

check latest price

Smith Optics Chief

The Smith Optics Chief sunglasses have a larger frame that gives optimal protection against UV rays. They come in various colors and lens types, meaning there is something for everyone to choose from. 

Smith optics chief sunglasses

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Composite
  • Lens: Photochromatic and Polarized
  • Frame Size: 14.3 cms

What we love:

  • You can choose from different frame colors and lens types
  • They’re stylish and can be used for day-to-day activities 
  • They have an anti-reflective coating

What we don't love:

  • They’re on the higher end of the price range

check latest price

Fantail Sunglasses by Costa Del Mar

Another pair of customizable sunglasses are the Fantail sunglasses. They have 5 colored frames to choose from, as well as different polarized glass and polycarbonate lenses.

Their lenses are scratch resistant and give you clarity as well as being lightweight.

Costa Del Mar Sunglasses fantail tortoise lens

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: TR-90 Nylon
  • Lens: Polarized Polycarbonate
  • Frame Size: 13.7 cms

What we love:

  • They’re customizable and have something for all tastes
  • They’re stylish and can be worn day-to-day
  • They’re comfortable and lightweight

What we don't love:

  • The frame is a small size and not suited for larger heads

check latest price

SeaSpecs Stealth Extreme Sports Floating Sunglasses

If you’re on the search for a pair of sunglasses that are affordable, provide a good level of eye protection that float, then the SeaSpecs Stealth Extreme Floating sunglasses tick all of those boxes. 

SeaSpecs are a great option for SUP surfing or whitewater paddling because of the strap that keeps them in place. If they do happen to come off, they will simply stay on the surface of the water until you retrieve them. 

Seaspecs stealth floating sunglasses

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Injection-molded Nylon
  • Lens: Polarized 
  • Frame Size: Adjustable

What we love:

  • They’re a low price point
  • The sunglass strap allows you to adjust them to your head shape and prevents them from falling off
  • They float on water
  • They have air vents to allow airflow

What we don't love:

  • The style of these sunglasses isn’t for everyone

check latest price

Electric Tech One

The Electric Tech One sunglasses come in different colors that range in price. With these frames, you have the option of choosing polarized or non-polarized lenses. 

They also have a re-engineered wrap-around design that provides glare reduction to keep your eyes as protected as possible. 

Electric Tech One Black polarized eyewear with lifetime warranty

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Grilamid Impact-Resistant Frames
  • Lens: Polarized and blue light blocking
  • Frame Size: 14.2 cms

What we love:

  • They have a lifetime warranty 
  • 100% UV protection and 98% blue light protection
  • They have customizable scratch resistant polarized lenses
  • Its angular features provide glare reduction

What we don't love:

  • The frame size is small and not suited for larger heads 

check latest price

Tidal X Dragon

Our top pick of the best quality sunglasses went to the Tidal X Dragon. The category 3 polarized sunglasses provide a high level of sun glare and UV protection to help keep your eyes safe while out on the water. 

The Tidal X sunglasses can also be worn for numerous water sports activities thanks to their floatable H2O frame. 

Dragon tidal x polarized sunglasses

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Injection molded nylon
  • Lens: Polycarbonate
  • Frame Size: 15.3 cms

What we love:

  • They float on water
  • The lenses have a high level of UV protection 
  • The lenses repel dirt and other unwanted substances
  • They’re available in different colors 
  • They come with a detachable strap

What we don't love:

  • They’re on the higher end of the price range

check latest price

Smith Transfer Chroma Pop Polarized Sunglasses

An affordable option that comes in 4 different colors is the Smith Transfer Polarized Sunglasses. They feature hydrophilic megol nose pads for a secure fit and anti reflective lens coatings.

Smith transfer polarized anti reflective sunglasses

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Composite 
  • Lens: Photochromatic and polarized
  • Frame Size: 14.3 cms

What we love:

  • They’re affordable
  • They have a choice of different colored polarized lenses
  • They have auto lock hinges

What we don't love:

  •  They’re a medium coverage

check latest price

Maui Jim Peahi

The Maui Jim Peahi polarized sunglasses are totally customizable, and you can choose from 6 frame colors and 7 different lens types. The frames are durable and wrap around your head to give protection to your eyes from all angles. 

Blue hawaii polarized lens by Maui Jim Peahi

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Frame: Grilamid
  • Lens: Customizable
  • Frame Size: 15 cms

What we love:

  • Available in prescription sunglass lenses for optimal vision
  • They wrap around your head for ultimate eye protection
  • They come in different colors and lens types
  • They are suited for large heads

What we don't love:

  • They’re on the higher end of the price range

check latest price

FAQ’S

🏆 Can you wear glasses stand up paddle boarding?

Yes! Polarized sunglasses should always be worn while paddling. You can buy glasses specifically designed for water sports that have floating capabilities or straps to keep them in place. 


👍 How do I keep my sunglasses on when stand up paddle boarding?

Sunglass straps can be purchased alongside your sunglasses to help keep them on while paddling. 

Wearing glasses that fit your face perfectly also helps to keep them in place. 


🏝️ Why should you wear sunglasses when stand up paddle boarding?

While out on the water, your eyes are not only exposed to direct UV rays but also to rays that bounce off the water's surface. 

UV exposure can cause serious damage to your eyes, so it’s important to have a pair of sunglasses that protect them sufficiently.

Megan Bryant
Megan Bryant

Based in Bali, her favorite SUP spot is the GILI Islands themselves. Travel is another passion of hers - she dreams to see the entire world one day.


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