Our eyes may be protected from UV rays with UV blocking lenses, but the degree to which they are protected will also be determined by the shape of the frame.
An 8-base curve or ‘wrap’ fit affords better UV protection because this shape minimises the ‘leakage’ of UV and visible light from the top, sides and bottom of the sunglasses. The larger the gap between the frame and face, the more likely UV will penetrate into the eyes and certainly the skin around the eyes
Not only does a curved shape afford better protection against UV, it also enhances our peripheral vision and prevents airborne particles, insects and sea-spray from bombarding our eyes.
The materials used in the construction of the frame are also important in terms of impact protection. For any kind of impact watersports like kiteboarding or wakeboarding, you’ll need to ensure that the frame is strong, lightweight and flexible, so that when you have that inevitable wipeout, your frame isn’t twisted or broken – and your face and eyes are protected.
The design of the frame can assist in responding to the development of lens fogging by encouraging airflow and ventilation behind the lenses.
Finally, what use is watersports eyewear if you lose them to the ocean floor during a tumble. Stay connected to your watershades with our market leading retention systems.
High quality lenses are only half the story when it comes to UV protection. As UV rays are ubiquitous and indiscriminate, they will reflect off clouds and all types of shiny surfaces like water, sand and snow. If there is a gap between your face and the lenses, the UV is more likely to find its way into your eyes. A good wrap fit frame minimises this ‘UV leakage’, and keeps your eyes as protected as possible.
Wraparound (or ‘8-base’) sunglasses not only minimise UV leakage, they also stop wind, spray, insects and other airborne particles from getting behind the lenses and into your eyes. A good way to test if the fit is suitable is to put on the sunglasses, and see if you can slide your index finder behind the lenses and touch your eye from the top, side and bottom without touching the frame? If you can, then UV rays, water and wind will likely find its way in too.
Sunglasses that closely contour the face offer optimal protection against UV rays penetrating the eyes. A close wrap fit also keeps sea-spray and other airborne particles at bay, allowing you to keep your focus and awareness of your surroundings.
For watersports, it is recommended to wear sunglasses that are larger than the average pair of sunglasses. This not only protects the eyes and skin around the eyes, but it also provides a wide field of view.
Field of View
Having clear vision throughout the field of view is essential to navigating safely. If you are seeing your sunglasses frame in your peripheral vision, then you are needlessly restricting the quality and quantity of information that your eyes can process.
Peripheral vision is designed to pick up on movement outside of your 60° focus range and is an inbuilt safety mechanism. When moving at speed, the ability to pick up objects moving in the periphery will help you foresee events before they unfold – giving you sufficient time to adjust your speed and/or direction.
The Typhoon, Surge and FLO models all offer a wide field of view, thereby keeping you optimally aware of your near and distant surroundings.
Whether you are riding waves, boosting air, or just carving at your local spot, you’re going to suffer a wipeout from time to time so you need your frames to be capable of withstanding impacts and protecting you from injury.
All of our sunglasses frames are constructed from Grilamid TR-90 material, which is a thermoplastic nylon that is incredibly light, durable, flexible and heat-resistant. There is no better frame material for impact sports. With inbuilt ‘shape memory’ this ‘plastic titanium’ absorbs and spreads the load of impacts before bouncing back to its original shape.
Further impact protection may be offered in the form of rubber padding on the inner surface of the frame. The rubber acts like a fender to dampen any impact force in combination with the flexible TR-90 frame material. In the case of the Typhoon model, this overmolded rubber fully surrounds the frame. This provides added impact protection in addition to a soft and comfortable interface. The Surge has overmolded rubber on the bridge area and on the temple tips.
Avoid that sinking feeling
One of the key considerations for wearing watersports sunglasses is how to prevent losing them to the ocean during one of those inevitable heavy wipeouts.
We put a lot of thought into designing a rock solid system which is guaranteed to work in all conditions. The Typhoon and Surge models come equipped with our failsafe leash and silicone necklace, a two stage system which ensures that you stay connected and protected at all times.
We also recognised that there are often occasions when a bombproof leash system is not needed and where a floating frame would suffice. Our FLOT8 frame technology is used in the FLO model which is geared to light wind recreational watersports like SUP, foiling, wakeboarding and sailing.