When you take a lesson at Odysseys Surf School in Kuta, we always recommend you to wear sunscreen or sunblock. People often forget that Bali is very close to the equator and the sun is more bright and stronger. Besides that, the water reflects the sun what makes it stronger. Even when it’s not sunny in Bali, you still should wear sunblock. When you are surfing your skin will be exposed to the sun for a long time. We know it can be annoying because some sunscreens will drip into your eyes or on your board, which makes it slippery, but please wear sunscreen or sunblock! Skin cancer is the number ONE death among surfers!
To pick the right sunscreen we made a list with factors you should consider before you purchase the product.
The first one is the SPF (Sun Protection Factor). The SPF will help you protect against the ultraviolet (UV)B. The factor, for example 15, will multiply the time you burn by 15. If you normally burn in 20 minutes a sunscreen with factor 15 will protect you for 300 minutes. For the most people factor 15 is good, but if you have a really white skin or a bad history with skin cancer in your family, factor 30 or higher will be better. This doesn’t mean you’re fully protected against the sun. Factor 15 blocks 93% of the UV rays and factor 30 blocks 97%. This is only a small improvement.
The second one is the ingredient in the sunscreen or sunblock. Because the SPF only blocks the UVB, the UVA needs to be blocked as well. UVA doesn’t burn your skin but can also occur skin cancer. The ingredients that will block the UVA are Ecamsule, Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. The differences between these are that Ecamsule and Avobenzone are more expensive. When you buy a bottle of sunscreen or sunblock from any brand with stabilized Avobenzone in it, it will cost you around $30. Sunscreens and sunblock’s with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide in it do the same job but are a lot cheaper. The one you buy is up to you.
The third one is waterproof or sweat proof. During surfing you will be in the water so it important that your sunscreen or sunblock is waterproof. Even when it’s waterproof, you need to adjust new sunscreen or sunblock to your skin every two hours. The water will make the sunblock work shorter so this is very important.
The fourth factor is the brand you want. When you buy a sunscreen from a brand that you don’t like, the chance is big that you won’t use it. Buy a sunscreen from a brand you like. This can be more expensive but the most important thing is that you use the product!
Combine these 4 factors and you will find the perfect sunscreen! In case you forgot to bring your sunscreen to your lesson at Odysseys, no worries, we sell Zinc Face Sunblock SPF 30 and Banana Boat Ultra Protection SPF 50 to keep you protected against the hot Balinese sun!