“I have a big nugget”. There . . . I’ve said it.
Finding hats that fit me is a problem – buying online is a nightmare – “one size fits all”? Yeah, right! And then finding something that works for windsurfing? Forget about it. I’ve been burned several times. But then I saw Kaiola promoting itself – and I was interested by the proposition:
- a hat specifically for surfing. OK – niche – so presumably they know their market well.
- made from recycled materials. Tick.
- made in Europe. Great.
OK . . . I’m interested, so I read more on their website. Everything I read suggests to me that a lot of thought, knowledge, experience and passion has gone into the design – i.e. this is not a ‘fashion brand’ hooking into surf culture – but rather are surfers looking for sun protection that will work in the waves.
And they don’t sell anything else – just this hat, in different colour ways: so they are totally focused on making a decent hat for the waves.
And the name – Kaiola – well it has a Hawaiian vibe, but for me, as someone who lives in Spain, it sounds similar to: ¿que hay ola? – is there a wave? Whether that is behind it or not, it makes me chuckle.
Putting all of that together, I’m pretty convinced. So what’s the price? hmm . . OK, so it’s an expensive hat – but they are promoting a quality product (materials, construction etc) and in total I have spent waaaay more on several hats that haven’t delivered for me, so I thought it was worth a punt. After all, if this hat works – then it is well worth it. I spend many many hours in the sun shooting watersports and also many hours windsurfing and stand up paddling, so I need a hat to prevent me losing the top of my head, since I ain’t got no hair no more!
So my hat arrived Obviously I chose a L/XL (there’s a size guide on the website if you’re not sure) and the adjustment allows me to have the hat snug on my head. The chin strap is good – a solid but unobtrusive clasp, that is easy to unclip. And the whole head is protected (no mesh). That same day wind was forecast so I tried it out. It was a solid wind – 15-17 knots gusting 25-28 knots. The hat was great. It did not move or shift about – it was comfortable, I wasn’t aware of it (i.e. distracted by it) and when I went in the water, again it just stayed right in place. The peak of the cap also stayed in place and didn’t go floppy – so the eyes are well protected from direct sun. Occasionally, in a really strong gust the peak would ‘flip up’ (into paddle mode – you’ll understand when you visit the website) – which didn’t bother me at all, since only the peak moved and not the hat.
My only wish is that they offered a version with ear flaps – its the tops of the ears that are most likely to get nibbled by cancer. Perhaps in the future. On the website they talk about loss of hearing – but this isn’t a problem with hats I have tried with earflaps.
How does it look? It looks good. The chinstrap design gives it an Aussie surf lifesavers vibe. The straps can be stashed through a loop inside the hat, if you just want to wear it on the beach (see pic below left). And I am stoked that they do a version in yellow and grey that mimics my iconic EyeSeaYouPhoto cap!
I am really happy with the hat and certainly can recommend it to all my windsurfing buddies, without reservation. And for the fashion conscious, there are a heap of different colourways to choose from.
[for those that want to know what I mean by a “big nugget” – my head measurement is 61cm which equates to a hat size of 7 1/2].
Check out their website to read up on the hat: www.kaiola.co
And their Facebook page.
[I have no links to the company and this is not a paid review]