Why Do Surfers Have Long Hair? (Quick Facts)

The surfer look is one that most people will recognize: long blond curly hair and tanned skin.

It is common to associate people with long hair, particularly men, with surfing, but the truth is that most surfers do not have long hair at all.

The idea of surfers having long hair stems from a stereotype of beach bums that do not fit into a society that no longer exists.

That being said, the surfing world is full of long-haired wave-loving enthusiasts.

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4 Reasons Why Surfers Have Long Hair

It would be wrong to assume we could know why each person in the surfing world has long hair. However, there are a few points that may sum up these reasons.

1. Enjoy the Look

Likely the biggest, or one of the biggest reasons surfers have long hair is because they like the look.

People treat their hair as part of their image, and this is no different with surfers.

As some people may prefer the look of a mullet, others prefer the look of long wavy beach hair.

2. Fits the Cliche

Long hair fits the surfing cliche. 

For this reason, many surfers choose to grow their hair long to fit into the image of a surfer that pops into most of our minds.

There is no practical reason for this, but in some cases can make surfers feel part of the surfing community.

3. Prefer Long Hair

Sometimes in life, the simplest answer is the best answer, and in this case, that is true. Most people who choose to grow their hair out do so not for practicality but simply because they prefer short hair to long hair.

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Long hair is more of a preference in the surfing world and not an advantage.

4. Represents Freedom

For a long time, long hair has been seen as a sign of rebellion against societal norms.

In the surfing world, long hair represented a sense of freedom to those who did not fit into the structure of the current society.

Although long hair, specifically on males, has become more accepted in the present, it can still represent a sense of personal control and freedom to those that grow it out.

How to Comfortably Surf With Long Hair?  

Even though long hair is associated with surfing, it is ironically more of a nuisance than an advantage while in the water.

It is for good reason that most pro surfers keep their hair short.

Can Long Hair Cause Obstruction When Surfing?

When not prepared or dealt with properly before a surf, long hair can constantly get in the way.

From it falling in your face every time a wave passes you by to accidentally trapping your hair between your hands and your surfboard as you try to pop up, long hair can be a constant obstruction to surfers.

How Do You Prevent Becoming Swamp Thing After a Wipeout?

Unless you have properly secured your hair before your surf, there is a good chance that after wiping out, you will emerge from the water looking like a hair-filled monster that best belongs in a horror movie.

To avoid this, of course, the best option is to tie up your hair.

That being said, many surfers prefer to keep their hair down while surfing.

In this case, the best option is just before bringing your head back above the water, tilt your neck back and look slightly towards the sky.

Doing this will make sure your hair stays out of your eyes.

This is a perfect method for duck diving with long loose hair.

What do you do with long hair when surfing?

When surfing with long hair, you can either tie it up or let it flow freely.

One of the best methods of dealing with your hair while surfing is to braid it and tie it at the end with a small hair tie to prevent it from falling apart.

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This will ensure that your hair stays in a single lock which will stop it from getting in the way.

This, of course, does not work for everyone, especially those with dreadlocks or bushy hair.

In these cases, simply tying your hair in a tight knot or ponytail will have to suffice.

Long-Haired Surfers, Do You Shampoo Your Hair?

As with everything in the world, each person has their own preference and methods for life.

This remains true when asking long-haired surfers if they shampoo their hair.

In short, some do, and others do not.

Although it is important to clean your hair after spending time in the ocean, not everyone uses shampoo, and for a good reason.

Does Being in Saltwater Frequently Damage Your Hair?

Salt is hygroscopic, meaning that because of its positive ion charge, it can draw in water from the atmosphere. 

In other words, salt attracts water.

When spending a lot of time in the ocean, the salt from the sea draws out the moisture from your hair and scalp, leaving it dry.

Over time, this leads to dry, damaged, and frizzy hair.

It is partly because of the lack of moisture that surfers tend to have stiff, straw-looking hair, more commonly known as “surfer’s hair.”

Does Washing/ Conditioning Your Hair Every Day Damage Your Hair?

The shampoo is made to clean our hair, but in the process, it strips our hair of its natural oils.

This is sometimes helpful when you suffer from oily hair, but shampooing your hair every day as a surfer will add to the stress as the saltwater does the same job.

It is not a good idea to use shampoo every day, and more so if you spend a lot of time in the ocean.

On the other hand, conditioner is made to keep moisture in our hair and is a useful product for both before and after surfing.

The conditioner will help counteract the dryness that your hair experiences after a surf.

How to Get Surfer Hair?

If you love that surfer look and strive to have the same bleach bond, curly, straw-like surfers hair, you may be in for a disappointment.

Although just about everyone can grow their hair long, it is impossible to turn dark straight hair into bleach-blond curly surfers hair naturally.

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That being said, the combination of sunshine and saltwater will lighten your hair and make it wavier.

What Is Surfer Hair?

Surfer’s hair is simply the look that most of us imagine when someone speaks about a surfer.

Surfer’s hair is usually bleached blonde from the sun, and due to the saltwater, tends to be curly and straw-like.

Of course, your hair does not need to be blonde or curly for it to be a surfer’s hair, but this look is the most commonly recognized in the surfing world.

How Do You Get Long Surfer Hair?

If you were hoping to search online for a wonderful product that will change your hair from dark and straight into a surfers look, the truth is that there is no such thing.

Although there are salt sprays and other similar products on the market, none of them will completely do what they say they will.

These products may slightly lighten your hair and tighten up already existing curls, but they will never meet up to the harsh conditions of spending time in the sun and ocean.

Surfer’s hair comes from harsh conditions and a sense of neglect. Remember, a surfer’s hair is not healthy.

Long exposure to saltwater and sunshine is the fastest way to give you that surfers look, but remember, the sun will not make black hair blonde, nor will it make straight hair curly.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Surfer’s Hair?

The time it takes to grow long surfers hair will be different for each person, but in short, the longer you spend in the ocean and sun, the faster your hair will get that surfer look.

A combination between saltwater and sunlight causes a surfer’s hair to look the way it does, so do activities that combine the two are the fastest way forward.

That being said, overusing conditioner or other moisturizers and keeping your hair salt-free at all times will slow down this process but leave you with healthier hair.

As for growing your hair long, a healthy diet, a good sleeping routine, and the minerals from the ocean will encourage your hair to grow faster.


Most surfers that have long hair do so because it fits the image of a surfer.

Although this image is no longer accurate, as most surfers maintain short hair, there is still an obvious stereotype.

If this is a look you are interested in, do not expect bleach blonde curly hair overnight.

The lighter and curlier your hair naturally is, the faster it will begin to look like a surfer’s hair.

Constant time in the sun and ocean will further speed along this process. It is, after all, known as a surfer’s hair.

Surfer long hair
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