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Health Tips for Sun Protection During Water Sports

Some of the best summer activities are water sports, and one of the best water sports is wakeboarding.  In many ways, wakeboarding is to water skiing, as snowboarding is to downhill skiing.  In both sports, the focus is more on the tricks.  The most popular places for wakeboarding are on wide lakes and intercostal waterways.  Unfortunately, this is a prime environment for sun exposure.  Sports enthusiasts riding on the open lake have no shade from trees or other natural sun blocks.  Sun also reflects from the surface of the water causing additional exposure.  For these reasons, boaters require additional protection from the sun.  One of the best ways to get it is by installing a boating bimini top, which is basically an awning for your boat (several examples of bimini tops can be seen at WakeEssentials.com).

Why Boating Is Notorious for Sun Burns

Long-term boaters have always known that they are at additional risk for sunburn.  In fact, many call skin cancer “the sailor’s disease”.  Both the direct and the reflected sunlight carry harmful UV radiation that disrupts skin cells.  At the least, boaters will suffer discomfort after an afternoon on the lake.  At the worst, they will begin to develop skin cancer.

Sun Burn Protection

Boaters have all sorts of tricks for protecting their sensitive skin.  One of the most popular of these is sunscreen.  Commercial sunscreen has evolved greatly over the years.  By varying the SPF, the user can control precisely how much sun reaches the skin.  Modern sunscreen is also waterproof, making it a good choice for water sports.  However, many boating enthusiasts still underuse sunscreen.  Many feel it makes their skin feel uncomfortable.  Others think it makes their hands slippery, interfering with their control of the boat or their grip on the towrope.  Still others simply forget to put it on.  Even conscientious sunscreen users lose their protective coating in the wind and spray of a fast moving boat.

Other boaters depend on wide-brim hats or other clothing to block the sun.  However, many feel that it interferes with the idea of being out on the lake wearing as little clothing as possible.  Others think that they look silly in big, floppy hats.  For these reasons, many boat operators simply add a sun block to the boat itself.

Protect with a Bimini Top

Most boats have a special tower for the towrope.  This tower is essential for tricks as it moves the rope anchor position up to about 7 feet.  In this configuration, the towrope pulls the wake boarder up instead of down, allowing the skier to launch into jumps more easily.  These towers are sturdy affairs made of stainless steel or aluminum tubing, and are perfect for supporting a canvas sun block.  These sheets of canvas, known as biminis, block the sun from overhead, but do not cover the front or sides of the boat cockpit. Boat owners can choose a top that will not only look beautiful, as well as protect the owners from sunburn and skin cancer.

Advice courtesy of Big Air Wake Towers!