Sunday Afternoons sun protective hats could be exactly what you’ve been searching for to guard against the sun’s damaging UV rays. Time flies when you’re out on the water, so it’s important to stay protected when you’re out paddling. Sunday Afternoons sent us a hat they call the Offshore Water Hat thinking it might be the ultimate stand up paddle hat. Well, we put it to the test and here’s our review!
First, let’s look at the basic features. You’ve got visor, chin strap, rear sizing strap, side air vents, and neck a neck flap all made of lightweight water resistant material.
The material that the hat is made of is fantastic. The water rolls right off and the hat stays light and well shaped even when wet.
The visor extends far enough to keep the sun off your nose and extends all the way around to the ears to keep the sun off them as well. What does this mean? It delivers the shade where you need it.
Sunday Afternoons has a feature they call the Flip-Lock visor that allows you to flip the visor up and down at varying angles. This feature was pretty cool to play with but we didn’t really find too much of a practical application for it. We just kept the visor down, as most of what you are doing on a stand up paddleboard is happening below your shoulders anyway. Now, if you were in a kayak or prone paddle surfboard, the Flip-Lock visor could be useful for increasing your field of vision when you’re down close to the water.
In back of the hat, there is a flap that drapes over your neck to keep the sun off. At first, we thought a brim all the way around would be better, but when we took it out on the water for a down-wind run, we were enlightened. A traditional sun hat, with a brim all the way around, blows down over your eyes when the wind comes from behind. The Offshore Water Hat solves this by replacing the rear brim with a flap to cover your neck. Even when the wind is blowing hard from behind, the hat stays in place.
On either side of the hat, there are air vents, perfect for keeping your head cool and letting the water run out should you happen to go for an unexpected swim.
Just above the neck flap in back is a strap for adjusting the size of the hat. This adjustable strap is extremely well designed and holds the hat size even after taking a swim. There is a broad range of sizes. Whether you loosen it all the way for a big boy or tighten it up for a 4 year old, the hat keeps its shape and fits well. That said, the hat easily fits adults and children.
The chin strap is made of neoprene. It’s comfortable and non-chafing. We would foresee no problems in terms of comfort if you were to wear the hat for extended periods of time.
On our feet the hat did great. How did it perform in the water? We took the hat for several dives off our stand up paddleboards from various angles. The hat never came off loose in the water but did slide over the back of the head leaving the chin strap around the neck and the hat behind. Given the elastic nature of the neoprene, is was not overly uncomfortable or choking; however, we wouldn’t recommend putting anything around your neck in any wave of consequence.
For style, this hat is the stand up paddler adventurer’s dream. We could easily see this being a regular piece of equipment for downwind paddling, lake paddling, and flat water exploration. In small surf, might be able to get away with wearing the hat if you know the guys, but we wouldn’t recommend paddling into a notable lineup sporting it.
What’s our overall impression? In terms of utility, for the flat water paddler, the hat has got it all. There was definitely a lot of thought put into the design. It’s comfortable, unobtrusive, and keeps the sun off. For the surfer, unless you’re catching a wave or two along your costal run, it’s probably better to leave it in the car. Definitely a well built piece of equipment. For adventure and downwind paddling, we give it two thumbs up
Check out the Sunday Afternoons Offshore Water Hat at www.sundayafternoons.com