As there are many disciplines within windsurfing, the model and model variation of watershades that you ultimately choose should be based on an assessment of the genre of windsurfing that you specialise in, the water conditions that you normally ride in, the strength of the wind, and the prevailing weather conditions. The first three considerations relate more to frame choice and the fourth consideration is more relevant to lens choice.
LiP Sunglasses offer 3 watershades models: (1) Flo, (2) Typhoon and (3) Surge. In general, the Flo is only suited to light wind windsurfing or windfoiling in calm waters with little to no current whereas the Surge and Typhoon are recommended for windy conditions, waves and choppy water or where there is a current. Although the Flo floats, they will be difficult to retrieve when they fall off in a wipeout if there is a strong current or if there are white caps or crashing waves.
Check out the quick reference guide in the table below and read on for more specific advice for each of the windsurfing disciplines.
|Model / Functions||Typhoon||Surge||Flo|
FREERIDE & NEWBIE
If the wind is 8 knots or over or there are white caps on the water’s surface, we recommend the Surge or Typhoon as both these models were specifically designed for windsurfing in average to strong wind conditions. Spotting floating sunglasses can be difficult if there is any chop or white water, especially if you take a tumble and it takes you a minute or so to regain your orientation and reconnect with your equipment.
If you’re learning or just finding your way in windsurfing, you’ll also benefit from the double vortex anti-fogging ventilation that both the Surge and Typhoon incorporate. In the early stages of windsurfing, you tend to spend as much time ‘in’ (as opposed to ‘on’) the water, and wipeouts are frequent. Breathing heavily as you get back onto the board and get moving again is a primary cause of lens logging, particularly if the water is cold and the air above is humid. In such conditions, venting will help clear the lens fogging once you start moving.
WAVES & FREESTYLE
In anything more than a few feet of swell, and especially where you are going to encounter white-water, we strongly recommend that you choose the Surge or Typhoon as both these models are designed with a bombproof retention system which incorporates an adjustable chord leash that attaches to the temples of the sunglasses, which itself is attached to a silicone necklace.
If you like to boost and occasionally experience epic wipeouts, the Typhoon is preferable owing to the fact that it has shock absorbing rubber on the inside of the frame. When you’ve bailed mid air on your sail and board and you’re coming down for a heavy splash, it’s good to know that there is padding surrounding the Typhoon frames that will cushion the impact.
When riding waves, the leash system is guaranteed to keep you attached to your watershades, even if a wave closes out on top of you. If you’ve ever been caught inside, you’ll know that the forces unleashed can be incredibly powerful and disorientating. It will be virtually impossible to find floating sunglasses in bubbling frothy water, especially if it takes you a minute or so to regain your orientation and reconnect with your equipment.
SPEED & SLALOM
For speed and slalom, you’re going to want the secure attachment of the Typhoon or Surge, no doubt about it. The last thing you’ll want when shredding it at maximum speed between the buoys is your glasses flying off as you hit bumps and swell. You’re not going to want to stop and look around for your sunnies while the race is still running.
As with windfoiling, wipeouts at speed can be epic and intense. So you’ll definitely want to be tethered very securely to your sunglasses using the non-slip cord and silicone necklace that is included with the Typhoon and Surge.
An extra consideration for riding at speed is the closeness of the fit. Both the Surge and Typhoon frames are a ‘wrap’ shape. The Typhoon has a slightly fuller frame compared to the Surge while the Surge is more tapered at the periphery. If you’re travelling at high speeds (20-40 knots), then you’ll want to make sure that the frame closely follows the contours of your head. If you have a gap at the side of the frame between the frame and your face, this can lead to turbulence forming at the edges which may cause your eyes to weep – not what you want when you’re moving at high speeds close to others.
Foiling wipeouts can be intense and incredibly rapid, particularly if anything in the water gets in the way (like a shark, big fish or reef) and for this reason we strongly recommend that the best option is the Typhoon as this model offers the best impact protection with shock absorbing TPU rubber surrounding the frame. This is even more the case if you are racing because you’ll be moving at very high speeds. Crashes can catapult you into the water and this can also quickly put a distance between you and your sunglasses if they are not tethered to you.
If however, you like to foil in light wind flat water days, then any of our watershades will be suitable, including the Flo. Just bear in mind that wipeouts occur and if you’re wearing the Flo without a retainer leash, then it may take a little time to relocate them in the water if they fall off in the crash.
CHOOSE YOUR LENSES
Once you have chosen the frame most suitable for the discipline of windsurfing that you specialise in, consider next the lenses that are ideal for the weather conditions that you expect to experience. You can follow the broad guidelines detailed below for choosing the right lenses for the right weather conditions, but it is important to remember that not everyone perceives light in the same way, so ultimately the choice boils down to comfort and your personal preferences:
TYPHOON, SURGE & FLO
The smoke (grey) polycarbonate lenses for the Surge & Typhoon offer a neutral tone, and are both category 3 polarised lenses. If you like a natural representation of colours, then this is the lens for you.
The Typhoon smoke lenses are from ZEISS and have a light transmission rate (VLT) of 10.2% whereas the Surge smoke lenses have a VLT of exactly 10%. At this VLT level, the lenses will be able to handle strong sunlight and significant glare. However, for cloudy days and sessions when the sun is well on its way down, they may not be the ideal choice.
Both are equipped with an advanced hydrophobic coating to repel water, an anti-smudge oleophobic coating and a hard coating.
TYPHOON & SURGE
The brown polycarbonate lenses for the Surge & Typhoon offer more enhanced colours, and are also both category 3 polarised lenses. As the base lens colour has a red/brown hue, this tends to lift or ‘pop’ all colours (but especially reds and greens). This in turn increases contrast.
The VLT for the ZEISS brown Typhoon lenses is 10.2% and it is 10% for the Surge, so exactly the same rates as for the smoke lenses detailed above. While the VLT rates are the same, there is a noticeable difference in the performance of the brown lenses in cloudy conditions. Owing to the increased contrast afforded by brown base lenses, it is noticeably easier to see details when the light levels drop. This is not to say that the brown lenses do not function well in bright light. In fact, they perform admirably in bright conditions. Brown lenses are versatile all round lenses for all types of conditions.
As with the smoke lenses, both are equipped with an advanced hydrophobic coating to repel water, an anti-smudge oleophobic coating and a hard coating.
SURGE & FLO
The Ice Blue polycarbonate lenses for the Surge & Flo offer yet more enhanced contrast and colour perception than the brown lenses. The base colour of these lenses is rose. Our VIVIDE lens technology controls light transmission into the eye by filtering out blue light and enhancing red and green light. If your local kiteboarding environment is awash with hues of blue (e.g the Caribbean or Indian Ocean) these category 3 polarised lenses will bring the visible light back into balance.
The VLT for the Ice Blue lenses is 8.35% which is right on the lower end of a category 3 lens. It is therefore a lens suited to very bright sunny conditions. However, as with our brown lenses, there is good performance of these lenses in cloudier conditions owing to the increased contrast afforded by the lens base colour.
As with all our watershades lenses, the VIVIDE Ice Blue come equipped with an advanced hydrophobic coating to repel water, an anti-smudge oleophobic coating and a hard coating.
TYPHOON & FLO
Similar in performance to Ice Blue lenses noted above, the violet base colour of the Pacific Blue lenses by ZEISS provide enhanced contrast and vivid colour perception. Available in both the Typhoon and Flo models, the lens material is polyamide (nylon) which offers super crisp vision with an Abbe value of 52, the highest of all of our lenses.
The Pacific Blue lenses subdue the amount of blue light entering the eye and enhance the reds and greens. The blue mirror coating also reflects blue light. These category 3 polarised lenses are perfect for bright sunny conditions in environments with deep blue ocean colours like the Pacific or Atlantic.
The VLT for the these lenses is 9.95% which is also at the lower end of a category 3 lens and so are perfectly suited to bright and sunny conditions.
The Pacific Blue lenses come equipped with Zeiss’s advanced hydrophobic coating to repel water, an anti-smudge oleophobic coating and a hard coating.
ZEISS Rose Gold polyamide (nylon) lenses have a brown base lens colour which is coupled with a rose gold mirror coating. This lens option is available only in the Typhoon.
The brown base lens colour provides good contrast. The VLT rate for these lenses is 14.2% which while still squarely within the category 3 range, is a bit higher than many of our other watershades lenses which fall in the 8-10% range. This lens is therefore well equipped for lower light conditions and cloudier days, but may not be the ideal choice for super-bright sunny conditions.
These lenses come equipped with Zeiss’s advanced hydrophobic coating to repel water, an anti-smudge oleophobic coating and a hard coating.
ZEISS multilayer red lenses are category 2 polycarbonate lenses with a VLT rate of 26%. The base colour is smoke (grey). It is a true tone lens with a progressive red multilayer coating with red/yellow hues.
Available only in the Flo model, these lenses are suited to medium / low light conditions. As they are not polarised, they are not suitable for handling significant glare. They are however suitable for cloudy days with intermittent sunshine or dawn dusk sessions when glare is not a concern.
As with all our watershades lenses, these Zeiss lenses come equipped with an advanced hydrophobic coating to repel water, an anti-smudge oleophobic coating and a hard coating.