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Why Do Surfers Wear Long Sleeves?

   March 2nd, 2022   Posted In: Articles   Tags:

Why Do Surfers Wear Long Sleeves?

Ever been to the beach and wonder why you always see surfers and serious water sports enthusiasts wearing long sleeved shirts when it’s stifling hot outside?! I mean, the average person would think that’s a little bit strange. Before I knew better, I always found myself thinking “Why do surfers wear long sleeves in the summertime? Are they crazy?!” But these long sleeved shirts you’ve seen are actually called rash guards. And rashguards are a valuable resource to have! 

Rashguards: What Are They?

Rashguards are pretty different compared to regular clothing. They’re typically made with spandex, nylon, or polyester. These materials work together to provide full coverage like normal clothing, while also providing flexibility and allowing the skin to breathe underneath. The name “rashguard” tells all.

They were originally designed for surfers, and their main purpose is to prevent (you guessed it) rashes. Any kind of friction against a rough surface, over-exposure to the heat, and sunburn will irritate your skin and cause a rash. But it’s safe to say that rashguards help prevent and alleviate some of that discomfort you would otherwise experience if you didn’t wear one.

What Do They Do?

Rashguards have a lot of great benefits! These are a few:

  • They provide UV protection. So they’re really good to have when you plan on spending any length of time outside on sunny days. 
  • They help protect against jelly fish stings. 
  • Quick drying and moisture wicking. 
  • Flexibility and durability. 
  • They’re antimicrobial. This is a nice feature because regular clothing gets a bad smell after it stays wet for a while. Rash guards don’t!
  • They provide some additional warmth. (Not as much as wetsuits do, but they do make a bit of a difference in the water!)
  • They provide coverage for those who don’t want certain body parts exposed in a swimsuit. This can help boost body image/self-esteem!

Are They Only Used for Surfing?

Although rashguards were originally designed for surfers, they now have many purposes. You can wear them for so many things such as:

  • Gardening/working outdoors
  • Swimming
  • Paddle boarding
  • Snorkeling
  • Kiteboarding
  • Just about anything else that requires you being outside for long periods of time!

Short Sleeves vs. Long Sleeves

Short sleeved rashguards do the same exact thing that long sleeved ones do. So what is the difference between the two? Why is one better than the other? Which one should you wear? Well, it all boils down to personal preference, really. The only major difference between short and long sleeves is coverage. Long sleeves obviously cover more of your arms, and therefore provide more sun and rash protection. They also provide a little more warmth than short sleeves do.


There’s a good reason surfers wear long sleeve shirts, and it’s not because they’re crazy!

Along with rashguards, surfers wear long sleeve wetsuits too. Why? The full sleeve length of a wetsuit (whether it’s a long sleeve springsuit or a fullsuit) adds even more warmth and protection from the outer elements. And who doesn’t want that when it comes to cold water temps?

For more information, you can check out some of our other blog posts or even reach out to our experienced customer service department. Surfers and water sports enthusiasts, if you have anything you’d like to add to this article, feel free to comment down below!

Crysta is a valuable member of Wetsuit Wearhouse, currently working as a customer service lead. She has a passion for writing, and considers herself a bookworm. She’s lived on the Eastern Shore in Maryland, down in southwest Florida, and now resides in a small town in Pennsylvania. She loves all things related to nature, and can always be found outside when the weather is warm. (When she isn't helping customers find the perfect wetsuit, that is.)

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