Surfing is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of the ocean. Additionally, feeling the power of successfully riding a wave will make you feel like you are on top of the world. While there is a small collection of items you need to successfully spend a day on the water, a swimsuit is the first thing to check off of your list.
Whether you are brand new to surfing or are a seasoned pro, you might be looking for a few new suits to add to your collection. It’s essential to consider a few key features when buying a swimsuit for riding waves: durability, security, and support.
However, you don’t have to rely on a basic sports suit to successfully and safely ride waves. Instead, we have compiled a list of our favorite swimsuits that are both sporty and stylish.
Additionally, if you are new to surfing, we have listed some helpful tips, as well as some popular surf spots, to help you get acquainted with this magical sport.
Many surfers prefer to paddle out in a two-piece for various reasons. While this may seem like a nip slip asking to happen, plenty of tops will hold you in place.
Here are some of our favorites:
1. The Maui Top
When you wear a two-piece while surfing, pay attention to the support level of your top. Crashing down in the waves can be pretty powerful, and you don’t want the rushing water to untie any side ties or flip your top inside out.
The Maui Top has maximum chest support thanks to its compressive lining, adjustable straps, and supportive band. This top incorporates all the features of your favorite sports bra but makes it waterproof and stylish. You can even choose from ten different patterns and colors to fit your personal surf style.
2. The Atlantic Top
For another top that checks all the major boxes, like support, coverage, and adjustability, check out our Atlantic Top. This bikini top features adjustable straps, removable cups, and an underbust elastic that will give you maximum chest support.
Even though this top is perfect for water sports, it’s crafted in a bralette style with a scoop neckline so that you don’t have to sacrifice style for utility.
This bathing suit is more than only stylish; it’s eco-friendly. Designed with sustainabilityinitiatives in mind, this top is made from soft and sustainable recycled nylon.
3. The Sorrento Top
If you are spending hours out on the water, those face and shoulder sunburns can get pretty serious. While you should be reapplying sunscreen every two hours, you might be distracted by the waves and miss your reapplication time.
With the Sorrento Top, you can protect your shoulders from harsh UV rays. When you look for surf swimwear, you’ll want a top that offers sun protection for the shoulders.
This stylish top features a deep V-neck and capped sleeves, giving you the perfect mix of retro-chic and sporty. Additionally, the supportive underband and removable pads provide medium bust support.
This fashionable medium coverage top can also double as a crop top when you slip on a pair of shorts and flip-flops to run into a nearby surf shop for last-minute essentials.
4. The Rockaway Top
Another fab option for a surfing bikini top that will hold you in while still having some stylistic flair is the Rockaway Top. This top gives you medium bust support thanks to its adjustable straps, removable cups, and an underbust elastic.
The double shoulder straps are a fun detail, and the four colors will give you a chance to mix and match with your bikini bottoms.
5. The Molokai Top
This athletic-chic top is designed to shine in the water. The Molokai Top will offer enough support to last a day on the waves, thanks to its adjustable straps and underbust elastic. The light bust support and removable cups won’t feel constricting, and the V-neckline will give the top a flirty look.
This top comes in three colors and one pattern that will match any bikini bottoms or board shorts you have. Additionally, the recycled nylon fabric will feel smooth on your skin and will help reduce waste and protect the planet.
There are countless bikini bottoms to choose from if you prefer to wear a two-piece set while catching waves.
1. The Bikini Bottom
As the name suggests, our versatile Bikini Bottom is a classic and reliable choice for any water activity. When considering what bottoms to slip on before surfing, you should consider security above anything else. They should sit tight on your hips so that they’re not at risk of falling down. In fact, many surfer girls size down bottoms to make them more snug.
The compressive lining and four-way stretch of the Bikini Bottom will keep the seams from rolling up or moving around on your body.
The Bikini Bottom has medium bottom coverage, a low-rise waist, and a medium leg cut. Try pairing it with a halter top or rashguard! This classic look pairs beautifully with any bikini top you choose, especially given its wide range of color and pattern options.
2. The Hipster Bottom
For a bottom that covers more of your hips, try on our Hipster Bottom.
These bottoms will fit securely on your hips, and the full bottom coverage will keep you secure even in a wipeout. The low-rise waistline will leave you feeling free and unrestricted, and the low-leg cut will keep the bottoms from riding up.
A hipster cut is extremely popular with surfers, and you can feel good slipping this pair on, knowing that it is made from recycled nylon. Try pairing it with a full-coverage, long-sleeve top when conquering the big waves or a straw hat for conquering your summer reading list.
3. The Banded Bottom
If the feeling of too much material on your skin distracts you while in the water, you might want to get a low-coverage option. Again, the most important factor to consider when picking up a pair of bottoms for surfing is security. So, even if you choose a lower-coverage option, you won’t have anything to worry about nailing your pop-up as long as they fit tightly on your body.
Our Banded Bottom has a thick waistband that will fit snugly on your hips and won’t move on your body. The cheeky bottom coverage and low rise provide a gorgeous silhouette, and the high leg cut will flatter your legs.
4. The High-Waisted bottom
Just as some people find extra material distracting, you might feel distracted by a lack of material covering your body. If you prefer a high-coverage swimsuit, opt for our High Waisted Bottom. This choice gives you full bottom coverage, a medium-rise waistline, and a low-leg cut.
The compressive, ribbed fabric will move with you and feel comfortable on your body all day long. Also, it is durable enough to last you years of surfing without rips or wear.
Your bum, lower tummy, and hips will be secured in this suit — no need to worry about these bottoms coming off or moving around while surfing. This is one of the best swimsuits for nailing the duck dive as you become one with the sea.
5. The Super Highwaist Bottom
If you want even more coverage than the high-waisted bottom, you can opt for a higher-waisted bottom. The Super Highwaist Bottom features full bottom coverage, an ultra-high-rise waist, and a low-leg cut.
Slip this option on to feel secure, confident, and covered. This stretchy, form-fitting suit will hug your curves in all the right places without digging into your skin. Choose from the three options of colors and patterns, pair it with a criss-crossbikini top, and jump in the water!
Other Surfing Essentials
If you are new to surfing, you might be wondering how much gear you actually need. While most surf spots will have plenty of gear to rent, we’re here to share a quick breakdown of all of the essentials.
The first thing to do before spending time on the water is to get the right board. Unless you are familiar with the different types and uses of surfboards, the number of choices might feel overwhelming.
When choosing a board, consider the length, width, thickness, and volume. If you are a beginner, you should choose a longer board that’s seven feet long or more. This will help you with stability and with catching smaller waves during surf sessions.
The width increases with the length, but beginners usually opt for boards longer than 22 inches. Similarly, try to aim for a thickness of anywhere between 2.5 and 3 inches.
If you’re looking to rent a board that’s perfect to use when learning to surf but aren’t sure how to ask for the correct measurements, you can always request a longboard.
Although experienced surfers might leave the leash at home, you should definitely have one on your ankle if you are a beginner-level surfer. If you have never used one, a surfboard leash is a cord that attaches to your surfboard on one end and wraps around your ankle on the other. (It’s sort of like the drawstring of a swimsuit — almost.)
This connection makes surfing much safer, as it prevents your surfboard from being swept away and hitting other surfers or getting lost. If you are a beginner, you will benefit from using an especially long surfboard leash. This way, the board won’t pull back and hit you as you dismount.
An ankle strap will work fine if you use a longboard, but some longboarders prefer to use calf or knee leashes to prevent the cord from getting tangled.
Surf wax is a life-saver on the water, especially for beginners. Surf wax is made from natural or synthetic waxes that is applied to the deck of your surfboard to keep you from slipping when riding a wave. It will also help your body stay in place when paddling in the water.
There are plenty of options for surf wax, and you can find them in any surf shop. Pay attention to what temperatures are conducive to the surf wax of your choice. You’ll need a different formula for cold and warm water temperatures, but the packaging will clearly state what it is meant for.
If you are surfing in the wintertime or in cold water, grab a wetsuit. While you can rent wetsuits, you might want to buy your own if you’re going to be making frequent trips to the water.
When purchasing a wetsuit, the most critical aspect to consider is the fit. Wetsuits should fit snugly to your body so you can easily execute the dynamic movements required by surfing. Although the right fit may take a few minutes to squeeze into, it shouldn’t feel restricting or uncomfortable. If you are having trouble moving or breathing, try on a larger size.
Wetsuits are identified by a series of three separate numbers, such as 6/5/4. In this example, 6 refers to a 6-millimeter thickness in the torso, 5 refers to a 5-millimeter thickness in the legs, and 4 refers to a 4-millimeter thickness in the arms. The colder the air and water temperatures, the thicker your wetsuit should be.
Keep in mind that wetsuits by themselves aren’t enough. People generally travel to the beach in their surfing swimsuits and put their wetsuits on before jumping into the water. While one-pieces are super popular, you can also rock the best surf bikinis that we featured above.
A day out in the water requires a lot of sunscreen. With nothing to give you shade while sitting or standing on your board, your body is exposed to direct rays. Additionally, while you are in and out of the water, you might not even notice how hot your skin is getting.
Before you head out on the water, cover your entire body and face with a high-SPF sunscreen and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
To protect the ocean and marine life, you should bring reef-friendly sunscreen with you. Some chemicals used in generic sunscreens have been tied to reef deterioration.
Be sure to buy sunscreen that uses physical UVA and UVB filters, which should be listed in the ingredient list. Look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which form an actual shield on your skin from the rays and are much safer for the environment.
Our Favorite Surf Spots
Now that you have your surf suit in hand and the essentials packed in your beach bag, it’s time to pick your destination! While there are countless amazing surfing locations across the country, we have listed some of our favorites here.
Hawaii is the birthplace of this remarkable sport, so you can imagine it is home to some of the best waves this country has to offer. If you want to learn how to surf on the iconic Hawaiin waves, head over to West Maui or South Maui, where you can sign up for surf school or test your skills on the small waves.
The Cove at Kalama Beach Park in Kihei is one of the most popular spots for beginners, with consistent small waves that break both right and left. The water can get a bit crowded with eager surfers ready to take on their first Hawaiin wave; practice proper surf etiquette and be respectful of the other surfers.
Breakwall, located in the heart of Lahaina, is the perfect spot for surfers ready to move from beginner to intermediate. Depending on the weather, time of year, and wind conditions, the waves at this beach can range in size. You can ride a few small waves to get your footing and also try out a bigger wave within the same trip.
If you want to see the pros in action, head to Honolua Bay and Hoʻokipa Beach near Lower Pāʻia. Here, you can watch surfers attempt to surf the massive swells that look larger than life.
La Jolla, California
Next to Hawaii, California is known as America’s local hotspot for surfing. The long stretches of beaches and impressive swells consistently attract thousands of surfers. La Jolla has become extremely well known for its predictable waves range of surfing conditions for different surfing levels.
If you are just getting comfortable on a board, head to La Jolla shores. This beach has the most reliable and predictable waves, so you won’t risk getting caught up in a swell that’s too intense for your skill level. Additionally, there are local surf schools that offer lessons on La Jolla beach if you are interested in formal instruction.
The most famous beachbreak in La Jolla is at Black’s Beach. It is arguably considered to be San Diego’s best wave. The wave is pretty sizable, so you should definitely only attempt this wave if you have some surfing experience. Finally, pack some hiking shoes because this beach is only accessible by hiking down a cliff.
The warm water, soft white sand, and thriving surfing community of Malibu make it one of the best places to surf in the country. For a mix of wave sizes, head to Topanga Beach. The combination of sandy and rocky terrain underneath the water creates waves anywhere from two to ten feet tall.
For an iconic Malibu experience, head to Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Often used as a shooting location for movies and TV shows, this beach is divided into three areas. They are generally visited by different types of surgeries, including longboarders, advanced surfers, and beginners.
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica beach is a hotspot for surfers all year round. You’ve probably seen it used as a shooting location for some of your favorite shows, including 90210 or Baywatch. This area is known for its crystal blue waters, impressive surf break, and the exciting Santa Monica Pier.
The Santa Monica Pier has more to offer than its rollercoasters, live concerts, and tasty treats. In fact, the water that surrounds the pier is crowded with surfers almost every day. The sandbar peaks on the south side of the pier create small, manageable waves that are perfect for beginner surfers.
Another popular option is Santa Monica Beach. The waves are frequent here, meaning you can get in plenty of practice within just a few hours. These waves come from groundswells and break both left and right.
Lastly, check out Bay Street before ending your California surf trip. This beach is accessible and usually isn’t too crowded, which makes it a great place to experiment with your skills. The waves here can get pretty powerful, so be sure you are ready to challenge yourself!
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks boasts the largest waves on the East Coast of the United States and attract surfers from all around the world. Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills are considered to be the best surf spots on the Outer Banks and have a fairly large crowd surfing year-round.
To see the largest waves in the Outer Banks, visit these locations after a storm. When surfing here, stay 100 yards away from the pier for safety precautions.
For small to intermediate swells, take your board over to Corolla and Carova. During the summer, you will be greeted with warm water and a community of surfers ready to take advantage of the consistent waves. At either beach, you can expect a mix of small to medium-sized swells, but further north at Carova, you’ll see waves break further offshore, thanks to a nearby sandbar.
One of the newest surf spots in the Outer Banks is at Irene’s Inlet, unfortunately, was created by the destruction caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Although the surrounding area has been repaired, the inlet that was created is now a popular spot for surfers thanks to the consistent waves and gradual sand bar.
Long Beach, Washington
What might seem as surprising to some, the Pacific Northwest is home to a variety of famous surf spots. And although you might be intimidated by the chilly water temperatures, Long Beach in Washington is generally ten degrees warmer than what is expected for the Northwest. Although the water is relatively warmer — never surf here without a wetsuit!
There are over 28 miles of this white sandy beach, so you never have to worry about crowds in the water. The surf is usually bigger than it looks from the beach, so paddle into the water with caution until you get a feel for your comfort level.
The swells here are consistent and powerful, so this is a great spot to work on leveling up your skills. For a training refresher, the Skookum Surf Co. offers surfing lessons to all ages.
Montauk, New York
While the northeast might not immediately come to mind when you picture a day of surfing, Montauk is considered to be in the top ten surf towns in the country. If you consider yourself to be an early riser, this is the spot for you. Surfers find the best and biggest swells early in the morning, as the sun rises.
If you are a beginner and looking for a calm beach break, head to Ditch Plains. The waves might look pretty flat from the beach, but they are sizable for surfers learning how to get their balance on the board.
For those who want something a tad more intense, head to the beaches just East of Ditch Plains. These waves bring in crowds of experienced surfers looking to catch the biggest wave in the northeast.
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Finally, being named the East Coast surf capital, Cocoa Beach has plenty of options for both beginner and experienced surfers. Additionally, if you want to get some new surf gear or bring a souvenir home, Cocoa Beach is home to the biggest surf shop in the world.
The beaches here are beautiful and easy to access, with beach breaks consistently hitting the shore. While they aren’t the most intense waves the country has to offer, this town boasts a strong surfing community that produced one of the most successful competitive surfers of all time, Kelly Slater.
For small to intermediate waves, a laid-back and welcoming community, and a nice dose of the Florida sun, head to Cocoa Beach.
Suit Up and Head Out
There are many things to consider when heading out for a day of surfing. You need to have the location mapped out, your surfing gear ready, and your beach bag packed. Still, the first decision you will need to make is what swimsuit to wear.
Luckily, there are many different options for an appropriate surf suit that will keep you feeling secure and stylish. And most importantly, remember feeling comfortable and confident should be your top priority when slipping on your suit.