Believe it or not, it’s not only our skin that gets damaged from extended exposure to the sun – but also our eyes, too! Thanks to sunglasses, we are able to shields our eyes not just from the harmful UV rays but from other impurities like dust and dirt.
The same goes with kiteboarding sunglasses. These pairs keep our eyes protected from the sun and the ocean’s impurities. The difference lies in how they are worn – sunglasses need to be tucked behind ears, and kiteboarding sunglasses need to be strapped and snug.
Kiteboarding sunglasses are supposed to feel like they’re almost not there. It’s for this reason that they are designed to be strapped on. Read about these and other factors that make the best kiteboarding sunglasses in this article.
- What are kiteboarding sunglasses
- Who should wear kiteboarding sunglasses
- Buying Guide
- Common Drawbacks of Cheap Kiteboarding Sunglasses
Table of Contents
What Are Kiteboarding Sunglasses?
Kiteboarding sunglasses are waterproof eyewear designed for watersports. These spectacles stop your eyelids from getting burned by protecting your eyes from the sun.
Exposing your eyes to wind and sun for extended periods may cause a medical condition called “pterygium” where tissue may start to grow over the eye and need to be surgically removed.
Top 5 Best Kiteboarding Sunglasses Reviewed
Kiteboarding sunglasses are designed to keep your eyes protected from the harmful sun rays and powerful winds. But, they should not hinder you from having fun in the water.
One of the most common reasons riders prefer not wearing sunglasses is due to sunglasses fogging up or getting water splashed. These cause the rider to be partially blind. Not with the 5 of the best kiteboarding sunglasses we reviewed. Find out which best suits you and what to bring on your next kiteboarding trip.
- SeaSpecs Classic Jet Specs – Top Pick
- Asia Pacific Kiteboarding Sunglasses – Best for Men
- Ocean Polarized Sunglasses Chameleon – Best High End
- Maelstorm Marlin Titanium Watersport Sunglasses – Best In Design
- SPEX Amphibian Eyewear – Best All-Around Sunglasses
1. SeaSpecs Classic Jet Specs – Top Pick
The SeaSpecs Classic Jet Specs offers watersport enthusiasts a specific sunglass that protects them from the wind and the sun’s damaging UV rays. You are guaranteed quality with impact-resistant polarized lenses that block harmful glare and offer a 100% UVA/UVB shield against the sun.
These polarized specs come in various colors, including black, yellow, blue, and white. Its frame and lenses are made of plastic. This means they are not too easy to break even if you get wiped out. The lenses with a width of 65mm are lightweight and can float to keep you from losing them if they fall.
One of the reasons a lot of kiteboarders love this sunglass is how its frame is well ventilated. This ventilation allows for maximum clarity when it comes to water activities like kiteboarding. In addition, its straps are highly adjustable so that you can tighten or loosen them according to your comfort.
Both men and women can wear these sunglasses that are made explicitly for extreme water sports. Aside from the different colors you can choose from, you can also pick how polarized the lenses are: grey for bright and sunny conditions, brown for cloudy and early morning sun, and clear for low light.
|It comes in different colors and polarization||The strap can’t be removed|
|100% VA and UVB protection|
2. Asia Pacific Kiteboarding Sunglasses – Best for Men
One of the things you will love about the Asia Pacific Kiteboarding Sunglasses is how lightweight they are that it is almost as if you are not wearing anything on your head. In addition, they are made from high-quality plastics, making them float on water if you get wiped out, reducing your chance of losing them.
The brand new design features an adjustable strap that fits your head perfectly. These straps keep the sunglasses snug on your face and keep them from falling off even when you crash or fall. Although they are classified as kiteboarding sunglasses, they can serve pretty decent on other watersports, too.
These kiteboarding sunglasses keep your eye protected against salt, wind, sand, and water that can damage your eyes. While it fits snug, its rubber pads will keep your face and the area around your eyes safe from chaffing.
The black lenses of these sunglasses help keep your eyes shaded from the harsh sunlight. It offers UV400, which guarantees 100% protection for your eyes. You are sure your eyes won’t get damaged when you are out in the water.
|UV400 100% protection||Not polarized and has no anti-fog|
|Black lenses provide dark protection|
|Reasonably priced compared to similar options|
3. Ocean Polarized Sunglasses Chameleon – Best High End
The Chameleon from Ocean Sunglasses is packed with a lot of features that any wearer will surely love. There is nothing not to love about this kiteboarding sunglass, from its high-quality lenses to stylish and practical designs.
This kiteboarding sunglass features double impact polycarbonate polarized lenses fused with many lamination layers into one rigid lens with excellent optical qualities. The sunglasses’ hard coating, tinting, polarized, and UV absorbing lens not only resists impacts but protects you from glare and UV rays.
The designers made sure not only the eyes get protected but the face too. This kiteboarding sunglass comes with a comfortable anti-impact nose pad. Moreover, it has hydrophilic rubber grips every inch from the nose pads to the temples to guarantee secure fit even when wet.
Made of Grimalid TR90 lightweight material, the Chameleon is well known for its flexibility and floatation. The air chambers along the temples improve the kiteboarding sunglasses’ floating capabilities even in the worst situations.
|It can be used with straps or sunglasses arms||More expensive than most kiteboarding sunglasses|
|Has anti-fog system|
|Shock and impact absorbent|
4. Maelstorm Marlin Titanium Watersport Sunglasses – Best In Design
One of what most buyers will look for in a kiteboarding sunglass is how aesthetically designed it is. And, the Maelstorm Marlin Titanium Watersport Sunglasses doesn’t disappoint as it comes well-designed and with practical features, too.
The Marlin Titanium comes with a full jacket frame specifically designed for high impact and extreme watersports, including kitesurfing and paragliding. Its polarized lenses come with a highly flexible frame.
A plus point for any kiteboarding sunglasses, the Marlin Titanium’s frame and arms can handle extreme forces during a kiteboarding ride – it doesn’t matter if the winds are rough or the waters are wild; these sunglasses can keep up with it.
Having said that, you won’t worry about the sunglasses coming off of your head. Its comfortable but adjustable straps that act as an integrated head band ensure that it holds its position and stays locked in.
|Polarized anti-glare lens with UV400 protection||Not completely protective to fogginess|
|Integrated headband for keeping it in place|
|Rubber pieces and pads for a comfortable fit|
5. SPEX Amphibian Eyewear – Best All-Around Sunglasses
One of the popular kiteboarding sunglasses, the SPEX Amphibian Eyewear, combines aesthetics and functionality perfectly well. Its name “Amphibian” signifies how it can be used for both water sports and ground ones.
The Amphibian Eyewear is strong and lightweight, which is why it is pretty popular among sports enthusiasts. It offers UVA and UVB protection so you can focus on executing your jumps and tricks flawlessly.
SPEX combined the best features of sunglasses and goggles into one unique product. Its polarized lenses housed in a flexible and robust frame called FLOATRON guarantee your eyes are protected even on extended exposure to the sun. Not to mention, these lenses are made with anti-fog technology, too.
Moreover, the FLOATRON technology conforms to the shape of any face. Not only that, but it makes the kiteboarding sunglass lightweight and highly floatable. There’s almost nothing these kiteboarding sunglasses can’t do.
|Multipurpose usage on both land and water games||Highly overpriced for some people who are looking for sunglasses for one sport|
|Floatable, lightweight structure|
Who Should Wear Kiteboarding Sunglasses?
Despite science and logic, humans sometimes behave against what is instinctively beneficial, like eating healthy and having a clean lifestyle. In the kiteboarding world, it is equivalent to wearing kiteboarding sunglasses when riding.
Anyone kiteboarding must use kiteboarding sunglasses. They are not fashion accessories. They are your protection against things from the ocean that can potentially harm your eyes and more. They help reduce the chances of cataracts, macular degeneration, sunburn on the cornea, and snow blindness, too.
Buying Guide: How to Choose The Best Kiteboarding Sunglasses
Shopping for kiteboarding sunglasses can be a time-consuming task if you don’t have the correct information. It may take you a lot of research, reviews, and collection of reliable information before finally getting the most sound decision.
We listed down the most basic features you need to consider in finding the best kiteboarding glasses to make yourshopping swift and easy.
The main reason you are getting kiteboarding sunglasses is to keep your eyes protected while kiteboarding. It is generally understood that continuous UV exposure damages the eyes and incites early cataracts and serious retinal issues like macular degeneration.
Kiteboarding is an even worse exposure to your eyes because of the sun’s glare from the water, especially when looking up at the kite during the most UV-intense hours in the summer. Or you are riding towards the sun when it’s setting.
The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) does not impose a minimum level of UV protection. That’s why you must look for sunglass labels that purposely mention blocking at least 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Avoid sunglasses with no specified UV filtering as they’ll open up your pupil and let your eyes take in even more rays.
The FDA may not be too strict in regulating the level of UV protection, but they impose a minimum criterion for impact resistance on sunglasses to make sure it doesn’t crack or shatter upon impact.
Make sure, particularly for kiteboarding, that your sunglasses are efficient in taking a sufficient amount of beating – similar to skiing or motorcycling. Getting hit in the face with your kiteboard is possible, especially if the wind whips it back at you.
This beating is why your kiteboarding sunglass needs to have some shock absorption on the inside. Polycarbonate frames are ideal as they are ten times more resistant than plastic or glass sunglasses. Plus, they are more lightweight, flexible, and float better in the water.
Splash and Fog Protection
The most annoying thing, even for regular eyeglasses, is when the lenses get fogged. Pick a kiteboarding sunglass that offers good airflow to keep it from fogging up. You can use anti-fog sprays, but won’t it be more convenient if the sunglass already comes with an anti-fog system?
Also, your kiteboarding sunglass lenses should be hydrophobic with coatings on both sides of the lenses. This feature repels water on the lenses and mitigates salt residues that form on them when dipped in saltwater.
Lastly, you wouldn’t want water trapped under your eyes when riding, so be sure to pick a kiteboarding sunglass that has drain holes for water to evacuate.
Another crucial factor you have to consider in getting the best kiteboarding sunglass is to pick one that holds it tight around your head in the event of various impacts or wave washouts.
Straps may look stylish and secure, but in reality, there are only a few kiteboarding sunglasses whose straps really work effectively. Most kiteboarding sunglasses straps always end up coming off your head, even with straps of buckled helmets.
To make sure they keep still or at least hold on while you kiteboard, invest in backup leashes like a croakie retainer tethered with your wetsuit zip puller, harness handle, or a Velcro necklace.
Buoyancy and Visibility
Since we’ve hinted how kiteboarding sunglasses can normally fall off during a ride, it is also a good point to consider their floating ability. Sunglasses that float have higher chances of retrieval compared to those that sink.
In addition, you may also want to consider flashy colors. Even if these kiteboarding glasses can float, it can be hard to spot them once they get ripped away from you. Loud colors are easier to recognize on and under the waters.
Vision Range and Clearness
Kiteboarding requires you to have a broad vision range in all four directions. While ski-type goggles can offer this type of range, they don’t always look very cool. Plus, the rims can be so bulky that it hampers clarity and peripheral vision.
Also, the back lenses should be treated with a non-glare solution that results in better contrast. This treatment also eliminates frustrating and annoying ghost image impressions and improves comfort significantly.
This factor brings in the most significant debate in kiteboarding eyeglasses – to have polarized lenses or not. Polarized lenses eliminate the amount of reflecting light that enters your eyes. They reduce glare and make images appear sharper and more precise. In short, it increases visual clarity and comfort.
However, it is not always the case for other kiteboarders. For others, polarized lenses kept them from accurately reading the water’s surface. Some have also claimed that polarized sunglasses made them lose depth perception wherein the water looked flat; therefore, it was harder to evaluate chop and waves.
Common Drawbacks of Cheap Kiteboarding Sunglasses
Be very careful in picking the right kiteboarding sunglasses. The wrong ones fail to provide the purposes it should serve, and they also hamper the fun in kiteboarding. Expect these pitfalls if you picked the wrong kiteboarding sunglass:
- Lenses quickly getting scratched from the dry salt and sand that has to be replaced, sometimes once or twice during the season
- They fill up with water each time you fall or get hit by a wave
- Most lenses get fogged all over
- Low-quality film coating with salt spots hindering your vision
- The frame may quickly break or rust at the pins
- The straps aren’t strong enough to keep them on during a wipeout.
Kiteboarding sunglasses aren’t always on the priority list of kiteboarding accessories when clearly they should be. Sure, they may be annoying and, at most times, unfashionable. But, the benefits they provide in the long run will make you thank them later.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Are there prescription kiteboarding sunglasses?
A: For kiteboarders who don’t have 20/20 vision, prescription sunglasses are advised. Contact lenses are a big no-no for kiteboarding or other watersports. They can get lost, and worst, they can be harmful to your eyes. SeaSpecs has a line of kiteboarding sunglasses that can be fixed with prescribed lenses for a reasonable price. Be sure to check with the ophthalmologist to get your correct prescription.
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G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.