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Are Rash Vests Necessary?

If you're new to the surfing world, you've probably been told about rash vests. They are a popular piece of surfing gear. They protect skin from the harsh UV rays while on the board and prevent chafing. Some people swear by them, others choose to go without. Rash guards are completely optional which brings up a good question – are rash guards necessary?

Rash gaurds can be described as a type of athletic shirt. They are designed to protect your skin from sunburns and rashes and can be made from spandex, nylon, or polyester to make them light and suitable for surfing. They combine to give full coverage and allow the skin to breathe beneath.

Is it really necessary to use a rashguard while surfing? Short answer: No. It is strongly recommended that you protect yourself against sunburns and rashes.


To provide grip while surfing, wax is applied to boards. The wax is good for keeping your feet from sliding off the board, but it can also cause skin irritations by being too harsh and abrasive. When you are paddling on your chest, your skin slides around and digs into the deck of the board and the wax. Over time this causes your skin to get raw and causes an irritating rash. 

Your skin may also begin to chafe after hours spent in the water. A rash guard will protect your skin from these irritants and can save you lots of discomfort and pain in the long term.

Sun exposure

People choose to wear sun protection. While you may feel protected in the water, the fact is that the sun is blazing down on you for hours on end. You can get sunburnt and serious skin damage over time. Protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun by using a rash vest that has some SPF. Because you don't need to apply sunscreen as often, they make surfing easier for longer periods of time.