Anyone have experience with Billabong US? (spoiler alert, they suck)

Discussion in 'Surfing' started by nedsurf, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. nedsurf

    nedsurf Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2005 an old guy with fine hair that is also thinning (apparently there is some Scandinavian heritage on my Mom's side, hence the fine hair since birth), not to mention a partial scalping that took place a few years (another story) I have to take precautions to keep the top of my head from burning. Side story - it once was burned so badly that nothing could touch my head without causing screaming pain. I finally got home and got a big bag of ice and gently put it on top of my head. My wife denies it, but I know I heard steam coming off as it touched my head. Exquisite but temporary relief.

    But I digress. I have worn hats for years, but usually hate the damn things. I had one that I liked of unknown origin (I got it from a fellow sun burn sufferer as he headed home while we were on a Mexican surf trip) that still looked ridiculous but wasn't black (a nice shade of blue), and had a neoprene brim that folded with the waves and didn't dislodge or jerk your head around. I ended up trimming the brim to the smallest usable size, and it worked well. Never a sunburn to head or ears with ol' blue. The other solution is to spray my head with aerosol sun screen, which I hate in many ways, but it did penetrate my hair to my scalp to keep me from burning.

    Ol' Blue finally became so ripped and torn (sort of like that blankie some kids have) that I deemed it unserviceable, so I looked for a replacement. Of course I couldn't find one, but did find a nifty looking hat with small brim at Billabong. "Surf Cap" is it's name. Got a discount from somewhere so I decided I would order.

    "Surf Cap" came, and actually fit pretty well. There is never going to be a hat worn while surfing that approaches a non-kook status, but this one was relatively low on the absurd scale.

    Most (basically all these days) of my surfing takes the form of either body surfing, or mat surfing, and while "Surf Cap" would roll back on my head during a duck dive or white water tumble, the strap held it around my neck so it wasn't lost. While having a nice 2+ hour session the other day, now that Southern California finally escaped from 4 months of June Gloom, I was really glad I had "Surf Cap" firmly attached to my noggin insuring me that my head and ears were protected from Ol' Mr. Sun.

    That evening I noticed that the top of my head was tender, as in sunburned and throbbing. "Hmmm, that's strange" I thought. I wasn't in the sun without head cover all day, and "Surf Cap" certainly protected me during my water time. I was pretty confident of that until the second sunny session with "Surf Cap". Scorched again.

    Now we get to the "they suck" part of the story.

    I submitted my inquiry to Customer Service at Billabong US. I thought maybe I got a defective "Surf Cap"? Evidently not, based on their heartfelt and concise response from Megan, who is probably a very nice young lady. Below is the text of the email chain:

    From me -
    "Jul 11, 11:36 AM PDT
    RE: surf cap not UV blocking


    I purchased a Surf Cap specifically to keep the top of my head protected, but after first long session in strong sun top of my head was burned. What's the story?

    Don "

    From Megan -
    -------- Original message --------
    From: "Megan (Billabong US)" <>
    Date: 7/11/18 1:34 PM (GMT-08:00)
    To: don
    Subject: [RE:]: surf cap not UV blocking

    Megan (Billabong US)

    Jul 11, 1:34 PM PDT

    Hello Don,

    I am very sorry but the information for the surfcap does not say a specific UBV protection rating.

    "Extend your sessions with added sun protection. The Surf Cap helps cut the glare with a reinforced brim designed for the surf, staying in place in the surf with an adjustable neoprene chin strap"

    It is recommended to still use other sun protection options like sunscreen.
    Thank you for choosing Billabong USA! Have a great day!

    Megan :: Customer Service
    P :: 888-509-5931"

    So, the unstated instructions for use for "Surf Cap" would include the advisement that if you don't want your head burned while using "Surf Cap" you need to use sunscreen.

    My reply -

    "Misleading at best. I've used numerous hats while surfing over the years and never had an issue like this. Sun protection is implied by the fact it is a hat, designed for surfing, for "sun protection ", in the sun. Why else would one wear a hat in the water? Certainly not to look stylish.

    Your excuse that specific UVB rating isn't mentioned, and that your primary response to a customer attempts to shift responsibility to the customer for a product sold for a specific purpose (sun protection ) is probably the worst way to develop any customer loyalty.

    I'll pass on to others within Billabong US as well as out in the general surfing community. "

    So -
    It seems they missed the point, the final email response offered a refund for "Surf Cap", but no acknowledgement that an item specifically designed for an activity and environment that involves large amounts of sun exposure misses mentioning that "Sun Protection" doesn't really mean sun protection, but rather the illusion of sun protection.

    My final recommendation for "Surf Cap" is use it when there is no UVB (or UVA) present, like night surfing to protect you from the glare of flood lights. Then I think "Surf Cap" would be a fine solution.

    • [​IMG]
    • [​IMG]
    Write A Review


      Extend your sessions with added sun protection. The Surf Cap helps cut the glare with a reinforced brim designed for the surf, staying in place in the surf with an adjustable neoprene chin strap.

      • Surf Hat.
      • Construction: Twin Needle.
      • Adjustable Neoprene Chin Strap.
      • Reinforced brim.

    End of rant
    Chilly Willy and applekat like this.
  2. Chilly Willy

    Chilly Willy Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    USA New Jersey
    Wow. Thanks for the heads up -- I am totally with you and think that "extend your sessions with added sun protection" is misleading and implies that it will protect you from the sun. Clearly this is not the case.

    I throw style to the wind and wear surf caps all the time. They are fantastic, but I've always wondered if there would be any hidden gotchas like that if they didn't have the appropriate UV protection. You're right though... if they don't provide UV protection, what's the point?

    Here are the two that I bought new for this season. (And one that I just retired.) Checking now, both use materials rated for UPF 50+ protection:
    • Dakine surf trucker hat (my current favorite). Pros: Looks like a normal hat. Cons: Bill isn't flexible, so it has more potential to yank your head if you don't duckdive just right.
    • Dakine surf cap. Pros: Has a smaller bill, so it catches less water. Cons: Looks more like a wetsuit cap than a regular hat, doesn't block the sun as well once it gets lower in the sky and doesn't shade as much of your face.
    • FCS surf cap. My first surf cap. Pros: Always worked well for me, although I don't see a specific UV rating on their site. The bill was flexible to help with duckdiving. Cons: The bill got all frumpy looking and the little clip-on-a-string thing, which I didn't use as intended, would always whip me in the neck.
    As far as looking like a kook: I always tell myself that I need to surf just well enough to justify the hat! ("I thought he was a kook, but he surfs pretty well so I guess he knows what he's doing with that goofy hat.") I will say that ever since I started wearing one, a few other guys in the lineup (mostly older guys) inquired about it and got their own surf caps. Actually, I don't know how I ever handled surfing without it. I must have gotten fried on the regular, which isn't a good thing in the long run.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    michael likes this.
  3. Chilly Willy

    Chilly Willy Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    USA New Jersey
    By the way -- I bought a bunch of loose fitting rashguards/surf shirts over the winter from Billabong, some long sleeve and some short sleeve. So far, they have worked great this summer. I notice that those are specifically listed as UPF 50+ rated. I wonder why they didn't do the same with their surf cap.
    michael likes this.
  4. nedsurf

    nedsurf Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    To continue with my public awareness efforts I will pass on a solution to both my problem with "Surf Cap" and also a general tip for those of you that wear hats, especially baseball/trucker caps.

    Take an old wetsuit, cut a patch out of it to fit the inside of your cap, and tack it in with a couple of stitches. This will not only provide a bullet-proof sunscreen, but also provides a "life saver" for your cap. It will float should you lose your cap in the surf.

    Also, if you schlep your board any distance, it is often easier to put it on your head. With that neoprene cushion between the board and your noggin it will be a more pleasurable schlep. Also, if your cap has a top button, remove it so it doesn't drill a hole in your head as you carry your board.

    I'm not taking credit for originating this idea, I learned it years ago.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    michael and Chilly Willy like this.
  5. deemce

    deemce Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2010
    USA Pennsylvania
    Great idea
  6. Dawnpatrol

    Dawnpatrol Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2006
    Don, a few years ago I bought on-line a Quicksilver surf cap (short bill) with chin strap. Wore it a few days surfing Rapa Nui without burning the scalp. I just went on line to find the hat without success. Sorry to hear about the burn. Getting old and becoming follicle challenged is a bitch. But hey, just get up before dawn like me, surf until the sun comes over the hills and get the hell off the water.
  7. kpd73

    kpd73 Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2013
    USA Rhode Island
    2 years ago in the lineup-

    "Hey looks like you got a bit of a bald spot starting there. Better be careful."
    "Actually, that's my personal offshore wind indicator. YOU better be careful....Cracker." :)
    sightpoint likes this.
  8. sightpoint

    sightpoint Active Member

    Jan 28, 2014
    2' and onshore
    Chilly Willy likes this.
  9. Veterano

    Veterano Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2013
    That looks like a great company. I'm gonna order up!
    sightpoint likes this.

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