In addition to mastering one of the hardest sports, surfers always manage to rock some of the healthiest and most effortless-looking hairstyles. There is something about those beach-inspired hairstyles, from long, luscious locks to naturally bleached man buns, that create the ultimate laid-back appeal.
The idea that hair should look “purposefully messy” might seem strange, but surfer hair is actually pretty easy to style. Just make sure that you’ve got some solid wave spray and hair wax on hand.
Even if you think you prefer a more refined haircut, it’s nice to switch things up every once in a while. Just take a look at celebs like Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, and Chris Hemsworth. Each of them has been spotted donning surfer hair at different times in their career.
If you’re ready to take the leap and catch some waves (or at least look like you do), keep reading for our list of the 30 best surfer hairstyles for men who want to feel and look carefree.
1. Messy Bun (With or Without Highlights)
Perhaps the most iconic of surfer hairstyles, the messy bun is convenient and effortless. If you’ve got light brown or blonde hair, the natural highlights from the saltwater and sun will shine through any man bun. Even if you have dark brown or black hair, messy buns still scream carefree-surfer hair.
2. Long Curly Hair
Whether you’re on the coast of California or the islands of Hawaii, long curly hair is always a go-to among surfers. While surfers are able to maintain their curls with the help of saltwater, this style looks best on men who have naturally curly locks. If you’re landlocked, use some sea salt spray to achieve that same texture and beloved beach waves.
P.S. If you are trying to go from a short hairstyle to long curly hair, be prepared for an awkward “growing out” phase.
3. Messy Curls
Surfer hair is known for being natural and effortless and messy curls fit perfectly into this category. Even if you have naturally curly hair, throw in some mousse or pomade for added texture.
4. Tousled Hair
If you’re going for a tousled look, there are a few different routes you can take. Men with naturally wavy or voluminous hair can spray some sea salt spray or use hair mousse through their locks and call it a day. Alternatively, some men with straight hair might consider sleeping in a couple of loose braids and running some loose hold hair clay in the morning.
5. Long Wavy Hair
Wavy hair is slightly easier to accomplish than curly hair, making this style accessible to a wider demographic of men. The most time-consuming part of sporting long wavy hair is the process of growing it out. If you have straight hair, take a shower at night and allow your hair to air dry. Once it is only damp, braid your hair and sleep in them in order to achieve waves that will last all day.
6. Medium Length Wavy Hair
While you’re on the journey of growing your hair, take a minute to pause and get creative with your hair when it’s at a medium length. Though wavy medium length hair can end up looking a bit more grunge, this surfer haircut looks great when it is thrown into a half-up half-down bun.
7. Buzz Cut
However, this is by the far the most convenient and manageable style, making it a popular option for serious surfers like Kelly Slater. If you want something a bit more dramatic, buzz cuts are super easy to bleach, resulting in a fun punk/surfer mash-up.
8. Faux Hawk
The punk-inspired faux hawk doubles as surfer hair with its free-spirited nature and versatility. If you like the look of long hair without the inconvenience of it getting in the way, this is a great style.
9. Short Messy Hair
Short messy hair can be accomplished with virtually any kind of hair. From wavy to curly, to straight, run some mousse or pomade through your strands to achieve the level of messiness and texture that you want and call it a day.
10. Mid Fade
Mid fades start somewhere between the temple and the ear, giving you a nice contrast while still allowing you to have some length on the crown of the head. If you are a man who likes balance, a mid fade will keep things in balance.
11. Long Straight Hair
Though it’s definitely high-maintenance, long hair suits many faces and can be personalized by adding layers or showcasing your natural curls. This is a rarer example of surfer hair, men who are looking to go all out should give this rustic and retro style a-go.
12. Crew Cut
The classic crew cut is worn by many surfers who are serious about the business. While it is not quite as short as a buzz cut, crew cuts maintain a hip and cool appeal with sharp edges and solid definition.
13. Undercut Surfer Hairstyle
Similar to a fade, an undercut creates depth and definition on the back of the head. Whether you want an undercut that is subtly hidden under a longer head of hair or you prefer to have shorter hair all over, undercuts are there to provide a cutting edge.
14. Medium Length Curls
Medium-length curls result in a shag-inspired look that is perfect for men who like to have the dual option of looking rugged or clean cut. For a messy look, simply add some sea salt spray and leave the hair loose around your face. For a more professional look, run pomade or hair wax through your hair for a slicked-back style.
15. Wet Surfer Hair
There is no way to get around the fact that wet hair will eventually air-dry. However, you can create the effect of wet locks with a decent amount of hair oil or hair gel with a shiny finish. Keep in mind that this style can look greasy, so make sure you don’t over-apply the product.
16. Medium Length Straight Hair
While surfer hair is most often associated with curly hair, straight styles can also possess a beach-inspired look. Medium-length straight hair with a middle part and slightly tousled has that laid-back and carefree quality that shines through surfer hairstyles.
17. Short Curly Hair
Short curly hair is perfect for men who want to embrace their natural curls without having to deal with them falling in their face or getting in the way. Leave your curly hair long on top and pair it with a temple fade for a more refined look.
18. Long Wavy Hair with Beard
If you’re looking to up the ante, try pairing a beard with your surfer hair. However, if you want a very authentic, island-inspired style, long wavy hair plus a beard is the way to go. This is also a great option for men who consider themselves to be free spirits.
19. Curly Quiff
Longer on top and shorter on the bottom, curly quiffs appear youthful and voluminous. While you do need curly hair in order to pull this surfer haircut off, you also need some hair wax to help the hair on the crown maintain its shape and volume.
20. Wavy Quiff
If you like the curly quiff style but don’t have curly hair, go for a wavy quiff. Simply use wave spray and pomade to create a lot of texture. Try slicking the hair back to avoid having it fall in front of your face.
21. Skin Fade
Similar to a buzz cut, the skin fade is about as short as you can get when it comes to surfer hair. Though you have creativity when it comes to the length of the hair on the crown, the hair on the sides and back of the head is shaved all the way to the scalp.
A pompadour gives off the Elvis-vibe with a more modern twist. As a shorter surfer haircut, the pompadour can be achieved by leaving the hair on the crown longer and fuller, and simply slicking it back with some heavy-duty hair gel.
23. Long Messy Fringe
In order to achieve a stylish long messy fringe, ensure that your hair is a cohesive length and then use pomade to create the fringe effect by clumping sections of the hair together. Keep in mind that this style can cause the hair to look stringy, meaning it’s best suited for men who appreciate a little grunge.
24. Short Fringe
On men, a long messy fringe can be done with short or long hair. If you prefer short hair, ask for a fade but leave the hair on the top of the head longer and add some pomade in order to create the fringe effect. Look into a longer Edgar haircut for more inspiration.
25. Surfer Curtains
Surfer curtains can best be described as loose bangs that frame the face, which help further define the cheekbones and elongate the face. If you want this haircut, instruct your hairstylist to give you curtain bangs that are on the longer side. This layered look manages to be both laid-back and elegant.
A shag is a unique mixture of short and long hair. Usually, shags are layered and feathered around the sides and crown of the head. Though it is messy and fringed, it still maintains a specific style and shape.
27. Short Wavy Hair
Similar to the shag, short wavy hair tends to rest around the ears. If you want to create a tousled and beachy look, spritz some wave spray and give your hair a nice toss.
28. Blonde Surfer Hair
If you are naturally blonde, this is an easy style to accomplish. Keep in mind that surfing naturally lightens the hair, meaning you can avoid bleach and other damaging chemicals if you have naturally lighter hair. However, if you are not an avid surfer but you still want to achieve this look, start off by adding some highlights and lowlights before diving in and fully bleaching your hair.
29. Side Swept Surfer Hairstyle
Though this style might be reminiscent of Justin Bieber circa 2011, side-swept surfer hair truly is a classic. Also, while the hair on the crown needs to be longer and fuller, the hair on the sides and back of the head can be shorter, making this a great option for men hoping to sport a short surfer haircut.
30. Extra Long Surfer Hair
When it comes to extra long surfer hair, you have to be willing to grow your hair extra long. If you work in a more professional environment, this might not be the right style for you. However, if you are a free spirit looking to embrace that carefree lifestyle, start by conditioning your hair regularly so that your hair can grow quickly and remain healthy.
Surfer Hair FAQ:
What is a surfer hairstyle?
Surfer hair is best defined as carefree and effortless. In general, many surfers are known for sporting untouched hair that has a natural glow from the saltwater and sun. Though it doesn’t have to be long, there are many surfer hairstyles that embrace lengthy locks.
How to get a surfer haircut?
If you want to sport a surfer haircut without having to do too much, simply start by growing your hair out. It is also important to make sure that you have pomade, mousse, and some sort of wave spray on deck so that you can maintain that texturized look even if you are away from the beach that makes surfer hair so desirable.
How to style a surfer haircut
Running some pomade through your hair and then giving a couple of spritz of wave spray adds a texture that is reminiscent of saltwater.
basic products is really all you need for styling a surfer haircut. If you have longer hair, you can do something as little as throwing your hair up into a bun in order to achieve that surfer-esque style.
How to style your hair when surfing
When it comes to actually being in the water, you definitely want to keep your hair as manageable as possible. While short hair or a buzz cut ensures that your hair certainly won’t be getting in the way, those with longer hair just need to pull their hair back into a bun or ponytail.
If you have shaggier hair, use the saltwater to push your hair back and out of your head while catching some waves.