• 10 Best Rash Guards for Surfers in 2022 (Speedo, O'Neill, and More) 1
  • 10 Best Rash Guards for Surfers in 2022 (Speedo, O'Neill, and More) 2
  • 10 Best Rash Guards for Surfers in 2022 (Speedo, O'Neill, and More) 3
  • 10 Best Rash Guards for Surfers in 2022 (Speedo, O'Neill, and More) 4
  • 10 Best Rash Guards for Surfers in 2022 (Speedo, O'Neill, and More) 5

10 Best Rash Guards for Surfers in 2022 (Speedo, O'Neill, and More)

Surfing is one of the most exhilarating sports out there. Whether you aim to surf like a professional or you just try your luck at the waves every other summer, it's essential to have the right gear. Second only to the surfboard itself, a rash guard is a must-have to keep you protected from sunburns and scrapes. Additionally, surfboard wax can collect a lot of sand, which can rub against your body as you surf, leaving you with painful rashes!

We did the research and put together a list of the top 10 best rash guards for surfers. Our number one pick is the Men's Short Sleeve UPF 50+ Swim Shirt from Kanu Surf. The short sleeves keep sensitive areas covered without sacrificing ease of movement, and the loose fit is comfortable both in and out of the water. Keep scrolling for the rest of the list. And check out our buying guide for tips on how to choose the right rash guard for you.

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mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-17-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Rash Guard for Surfers - Buying Guide

Are you surfing in Hawaii or Alaska? Do you sweat easily or get sunburned? These are the kind of questions you should ask yourself before you set out to go shopping for a rash guard. Let’s go through some of the key points together.

Choose a Style for Warmth and Comfort

With a variety of different coverage and protection options, it can be hard to know what to look for. Here’s some information that will help you to shop smart.

Short Sleeves to Beat the Heat

Short Sleeves to Beat the Heat
Short sleeve rash guards strike a good balance between protection and comfort. They keep sensitive areas covered, like your neck, back, and armpits, while helping you stay cool on hot days. Tighter rash guards can be worn under a wetsuit for extra insulation, while looser rash guards are best worn alone in warmer waters.

Long Sleeves for Better UV Protection or in Cooler Waters

Long Sleeves for Better UV Protection or in Cooler Waters

Long sleeves will cover more of your body, providing more protection against the sun. If you want to wear a long sleeve rash guard in warmer climates, look for a light color to prevent overheating.


Optimal for protection against cooler temperatures, long sleeve rash guards will help keep you insulated and warm. However, note that when the water is too cold, you're probably better off wearing a wetsuit!

A Tank Avoids a Farmer's Tan

A Tank Avoids a Farmer's Tan

Tank rash guards are perfect for hot and sunny days when overheating is a growing concern. Going sleeveless, of course, means lots of flexibility and a greater range of movement while you’re riding the waves.

Compared to a full-body rash guard or a long sleeve rash guard, a tank will minimize any restriction, but leave you with less protection. If you have sensitive armpits like a lot of surfers, you’ll need more coverage than this.

Shorts Protect Against Chafing

Shorts Protect Against Chafing
If you're concerned about your bottom half, try rash guard shorts. They can be worn alone or underneath wetsuits and board shorts as an extra precaution against chafing. Look for a tight fit to avoid extra material moving around as you surf.

A Full Body Rash Guard for Complete Protection

A Full Body Rash Guard for Complete Protection

A full-body rash guard offers essentially the same coverage and protection as a wetsuit but isn't as thick or insulating. They can be worn alone or underneath a wetsuit for additional warmth if you're surfing in cold temperatures. While this style can feel restricting, it will protect your entire body from rashes and sun rays.

One-Piece Rash Guards for Mobility

One-Piece Rash Guards for Mobility

In contrast to a full-body rash guard, there are also one-piece rash guards that don’t cover the legs. They essentially look like one-piece bathing suits and are typically worn in warmer climates, either alone or under wetsuits to prevent chafing and to keep you protected from the sun.

They come in long-, short-, and no-sleeve varieties. They’re similar to rash guard shirts, although you never have to worry about them bunching up. However, they can be difficult to get in and out of, so we recommend looking for one with a zipper.

Pick a Material that Suits Your Needs

Different rash guard materials have a lot of different things to offer. Here we'll explore their pros and cons.

Nylon-Spandex for Stretch

Nylon-Spandex for Stretch

A nylon-spandex blend is a popular option for rash guards. It's soft and stretchy, so it's a good choice if you like a tight fit. It's also quick-drying and breathable.

Polyester for Sweat-Wicking

Polyester for Sweat-Wicking

Polyester is known for its moisture-wicking properties. Not only does it dry quickly, but it will move sweat from the interior of the rashguard to the exterior, helping you stay comfortable. Though not as flexible and stretchy as nylon-spandex, it's breathable and perfect for really hot days.

Look for Sun Protection

Look for Sun Protection
Spending a lot of time in the sun can be damaging to your skin. Luckily, most rash guards have built-in sun protection. Look for a rash guard with a rating of at least UPF 50, which will block out 98 percent of UV rays and protect from both UVA and UVB.

In addition, you probably know all too well how painful neck sunburns can be. Some rash guards have collars that will help protect your neck. Others have a hood that can help cover your ears and face.

Avoid Chafing With a Flat Seam

Avoid Chafing With a Flat Seam

Raised seams will chafe, defeating the main purpose of wearing a rash guard in the first place. To avoid chafing, look for rash guards with flatlock seams, which means they lay flat against the material. Most manufacturers will specify this in the product details but you can also check the reviews if the information is hard to find.

Stay Fresh With Antimicrobial Treatment

Stay Fresh With Antimicrobial Treatment

One common issue with rash guards is that after just a couple of trips to the ocean, bacteria and fungi start growing in the material, leaving an unpleasant odor. If this is a concern for you, look for an antimicrobial-treated rash guard to help keep things clean.

10 Best Rash Guards for Surfers

Our list contains a variety of fits and styles for both men and women. To protect against the sun, all of the rash guards on our list have UPF 50+ protection. 

Image
1
Kanu Surf Men's Short Sleeve UPF 50+ Swim Shirt 1

Kanu Surf

2
Axesea Women’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard 1

Axesea

3
Sanabul Short Sleeve Compression Rash Guard 1

Sanabul

4
Body Glove Women's Smoothies In Motion Short Sleeve Rashguard 1

Body Glove

5
Speedo Men's UV Swim Shirt  1

Speedo

6
Sociala Women's Plus Size Rash Guard 1

Sociala

7
O'Neill Men’s Premium Skins UPF 50+ Shorts 1

O'Neill

8
CharmLeaks Women’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard 1

CharmLeaks

9
O'Neill Men’s Basic Skins Long Sleeve Rash Guard 1

O'Neill

10
Kanu Surf Women’s Keri Long-Sleeve UPF 50+ Rash Guard 1

Kanu Surf

Name

Men's Short Sleeve UPF 50+ Swim Shirt

Women’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Short Sleeve Compression Rash Guard

Women's Smoothies In Motion Short Sleeve Rashguard

Men's UV Swim Shirt

Women's Plus Size Rash Guard

Men’s Premium Skins UPF 50+ Shorts

Women’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Men’s Basic Skins Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Women’s Keri Long-Sleeve UPF 50+ Rash Guard

Features

Short Sleeves for Maximum Mobility

This Long Sleeve One-Piece Has You Covered

A No Frills Rash Guard for Any Sport

Don't Sacrifice Style for Protection

Hang Ten in a Relaxed Fit Top

A Colorblock Rash Guard in Plus Sizes

Banish Lower Body Chafing

Full Coverage in Bold Colors

Skin-Tight and Long-Sleeved

A Lightweight Rash Guard to Keep the Sun Off

Price$17.76$30.99$21.48$24.14$23.41$27.99$31.50$26.99$33.95$24.99
StyleShort sleeve shirtLong sleeve one-pieceShort sleeve shirtShort sleeve shirtLong sleeve shirtShort sleeve shirtShortsLong sleeve shirtLong sleeve shirtLong sleeve shirt
Material100% polyester82% polyester, 18% elastane; lining: 90% polyester, 10% elastaneNot provided86% nylon, 14% spandex100% polyester82% polyester, 18% spandexNylon, spandex82% polyester, 18% spandexPolyester, spandex87% polyester, 13% spandex
Available sizesS-XXL2-16XS-XXLXS-XLS-XXL1X-3XS-XXLS-XXLS-4XL; L-4XL tallXS-XL
Available colors1327719574101514
Link
1

Kanu SurfMen's Short Sleeve UPF 50+ Swim Shirt

$17.76

StyleShort sleeve shirt
Material100% polyester
Available sizesS-XXL
Available colors13
2

AxeseaWomen’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard

$30.99

StyleLong sleeve one-piece
Material82% polyester, 18% elastane; lining: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
Available sizes2-16
Available colors27
3

SanabulShort Sleeve Compression Rash Guard

$21.48

StyleShort sleeve shirt
MaterialNot provided
Available sizesXS-XXL
Available colors7
4

Body GloveWomen's Smoothies In Motion Short Sleeve Rashguard

$24.14

StyleShort sleeve shirt
Material86% nylon, 14% spandex
Available sizesXS-XL
Available colors19
5

SpeedoMen's UV Swim Shirt

$23.41

StyleLong sleeve shirt
Material100% polyester
Available sizesS-XXL
Available colors5
6

SocialaWomen's Plus Size Rash Guard

$27.99

SizeShort sleeve shirt
Material82% polyester, 18% spandex
Available sizes1X-3X
Available colors7
7

O'NeillMen’s Premium Skins UPF 50+ Shorts

$31.50

StyleShorts
MaterialNylon, spandex
Available sizesS-XXL
Available colors4
8

CharmLeaksWomen’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard

$26.99

StyleLong sleeve shirt
Material82% polyester, 18% spandex
Available sizesS-XXL
Available colors10
9

O'NeillMen’s Basic Skins Long Sleeve Rash Guard

$33.95

StyleLong sleeve shirt
MaterialPolyester, spandex
Available sizesS-4XL; L-4XL tall
Available colors15
10

Kanu SurfWomen’s Keri Long-Sleeve UPF 50+ Rash Guard

$24.99

StyleLong sleeve shirt
Material87% polyester, 13% spandex
Available sizesXS-XL
Available colors14

More Surfing Essentials

In addition to a rash guard, you might want to check out some of our other surfing essentials, like leashes to connect you and your board, wax to make sure your board has a grippy surface, and wetsuit bags to keep all of your wet things!

  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more mybest recommendations! For questions or comments, leave us feedback via a Google Form on our Contact Us page.

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