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gear review: crossen surf hat - a better surf hat

By ccrossen | January 17, 2013


I realize we’re in the middle of winter, and the skiing has been great in Tahoe, amazing snow, excellent stability, great snowpack, and lots of pow lasting with the very cod temps. But, it’s time for a brief piece of gear news. Along with my snow interests, I also surf as much as possible, and after hunting for a long time to find an up-to-date surf sun hat that actually works (duck dives, stays on in large waves, stashes in a boardshorts’ pocket, dries fast, floats). After a few years of tinkering around with designs I liked, redesigning and tweaking, I am ready to launch what I believe is one of the best surf hats/caps ever made. The Crossen surf hat.


The primary goal with a surf hat is to protect your head, eyes, nose, face, ears from the sun. Anything you can do to help protect against cancer is worth it in my opinion. The second, and most acutely practical reasons to wear a hat is that it helps you surf longer and strong. Wearing a hat saves your eyes and face and head from getting scorched, especially in places like C. America, Mexico, Indonesia, and other tropical spots. The sun can really take its toll, and I have found after many many years of surfing these places, that in order to surf double and triple sessions each day well, you need to wear a hat.

It is really difficult, however, and impossible with the current offerings on the market today, to find a surf hat/cap that actually works practically in all surf conditions. It’s easy to find hats that work well in small surf, mellow breaks, etc. but when you’re in the sun and it is large and there’s duck diving involved, todays hats, with their stiff brims and larger sizing, don’t cut it. They inevitably become a liability or get ripped off or make it impossible to really duck dive. This hat works in those conditions beautifully. The hat fits snugly, can be cinched tightly, has chin straps, and a semi-rigid brim that stays upright when in use, but that can bend down easily for duck diving or taking one on the head - it won’t get ripped off because the water simply flows over and around the brim and hat easily. If you do end up going over the falls over taking a pounding, the hat will not come off, it may get jostled, but it will not get ripped off your head. The brim is also short enough to provide good visibility while paddling or racing down the line.

Also, with the hats out there, you can’t really just stash them in a pocket if the rain moves in or if you simply want to take it off for a bit. Our surf hat compresses easily and stashes in a boardshorts’ pocket; it can get that compact.


Another key factor, is color. Most hats out there today are gray, tan, black. We like a hat with a little more personality, as well as the added advantage of letting people know you’re out there - help avoid the poach, the late drop, and let your friends know where to look when you crank that big cutty.
A lot of hats these days offer full ear protection, which is great, but these hats typically end up being sized way to large and it’s difficult to get a good snug fit with all the extra flap fabric. Our hat allows you to put the hat over the tops of your ears, providing a great deal of coverage where most needed.
While these hats have been developed primarily for surf in all types of waves and breaks, they’re also great for any water sport: surfing, kiting, stand-up paddling, paddleboarding, surf-skiing, canoeing, sailing, etc. The fabric dries quickly and takes a lot of abuse. These hats will last and perform for many many years.

• Sun protect your eyes and head = surf longer/better
• Surf, SUP, Kite, Kayak, Paddle
• Semi-rigid brim – NOT super-stiff
• Stays on duck-diving/large-surf/wind
• Compresses easily – stashes in pocket
• Low profile center-release buckles
• Lightweight, quick-drying, nylon
• Non-chaffing nylon webbing straps
• Chin straps hide away
• One-size
• Floats
• Hi-vis colors
• Wave-tested around the globe

Now Available Online


surf @

The Mission

We developed the Crossen Surf Hat in response to the need for a new era of well-designed technical hats that actually perform and adapt to all types of surf, small and large.

Based upon years of research surfing in the sun-blazing tropics, it’s easily apparent that wearing a hat enables much longer, better quality surf sessions. A hat, even a slimmed down one like ours, protects your eyes, head, and ears from the sun, which allows you to surf much longer and with much more energy and less dehydration than without wearing a hat.

A good surf hat should not come off while duck-diving and should be useable in very large surf as well. Almost every hat available today has a stiff, baseball cap-like brim, which makes duck-diving difficult to impossible and becomes a liability in larger waves/conditions. Other hats do not cinch tightly, and their brim and bulk do not allow you to remove your hat if you want to surf without.

If you don’t want to wear our hat, while paddling out or if clouds enter the picture, etc., it can disappear; ours easily compresses and stashes away in a boardshorts’ pocket, no problem. If you simply want a hat without the chin straps hanging down, you can tuck them away easily into the top of the hat.

Our hats are made with high-quality, quick-drying, color-fast nylon fabric, non-chaffing webbing straps, low profile center-release buckles, refined stitching, and excellent production and quality-control: our hats will withstand years and years of non-stop abuse.

We also offer our hat in hi-vis colors, to help protect from drop-ins/poaches and to make sure your friends are checking you out.

A great surf hat must perform exceptionally well on many different levels; we believe ours does and will be an asset on any wave in the world. Use it surfing, kiting, paddleboarding, kayaking – whatever your pleasure.

Chris Crossen

Topics: Gear Reviews, Introduction |


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