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surf suits

Surf suits are a great option for summer surfing. Photo: Tommy Pierucki


The Inertia

As summer draws closer, the water continues to warm and soon it’ll be time to ditch that neoprene. While bikini sessions are nice, they require a lot of sunscreen and constant adjustments to ensure your suit stays in place for the entirety of your session. Come summertime, I regularly find myself reaching for a surf suit as a happy medium. For those who aren’t familiar, a surf suit combines a rashguard and bathing suit to provide a stylish one-piece option for sun protection in warm water. Here, we’ve rounded up six of our favorite surf suits that are comfortable, cute, and offer plenty of protection for those toasty summer sessions. For more information check out our comparison table and buyer’s guide.

What Are the Best Women’s Surf Suits?

Best Overall: Slipins Zippered Longsleeve Swimsuit

Most Affordable: O’Neill Bellamy Myrtos Surf Suit

Best Coverage: Roxy Active Long-Sleeve Back-Zip One-Piece Swimsuit

Most Sustainable: Long-Sleeved Swell Seeker One-Piece Swimsuit

Most Stylish: Seea Valentina Surf Suit

Best High Performance: prAna McKalya One-Piece Swimsuit


Best Overall Surf Suit

Slipins Zippered Longsleeve Swimsuit ($150)

Pros: Four-way stretch fabric, 17-inch zipper.
Cons: Hand slits can dig in.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 5
Durability: 4
Style: 5
Total: 4.5/5

Comfortable and stylish, Slipins Longsleeve swimsuit is what it is: a long-sleeve swim suit made from rashguard material. The suit features four-way stretch fabric for a comfortable yet flattering fit. The 17-inch zipper allows for easy entry and exit, and the quick-drying fabric is much appreciated for quick turnaround times between sessions. Offering UPF 50-plus protection, the suit blocks 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays — just be sure and sunscreen that booty as these suits have a cheeky fit. If you prefer full body coverage, Slipins offers Surfskins that will keep you covered from head to toe. The high neckline and hand slits provide maximum sun protection, but I found the hand slits can dig in after a while (I just slip my hand out when this happens and I’m good to go). Available in multiple colors and patterns, each print is inspired by the ocean and is uniquely beautiful. My personal favorite is their popular whale shark print.

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Most Affordable

O’Neill Bellamy Myrtos Surf Suit ($95)

Pros: Back zip closure, all over print.
Cons: Only comes in one print option.

Comfort: 5
Sun Protection: 5
Durability: 4
Style: 4
Total: 4.5/5

Featuring an all over print and a secure fit, the O’Neill Bellamy Myrtos suit was made with surfing in mind. The suit sports a long sleeve design, medium coverage, and a back zip closure so nothing gets in the way while you’re paddling. Made from a blend of 82% recycled polyamide and 18% elastane, this suit stays in place while paddling but is lightweight, comfortable, and dries quickly. What else could you want in a surf suit?

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Best Coverage
Roxy Active Long-Sleeve Back-Zip One-Piece Swimsuit ($100)

Pros: Made from recycled fabric. Sunscreen and chlorine resistant.
Cons: Only available in two styles.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 5
Durability: 5
Style: 4
Total: 4.5/5

Created from a blend of lycra and recycled fabric, the Roxy Active Long-Sleeve was designed with performance in mind. The suit features a crew neck and back zip and offers UPF 50 protection. The fitted design and all over print are cute and flattering and the suit is comfortable to paddle and surf in — cutout seams on the sides further enhance the comfort level. To top it off, the suit is chlorine and sunscreen resistant, so you can rest easy knowing it’s a suit you’ll have in your collection for awhile.

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Most Sustainable

Patagoina Swell Seeker One-Piece Swimsuit ($189)

Pros: Soft and stretchy fabric. Fair Trade Certified sewn.
Cons: Pricey.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 5
Durability: 5
Style: 4
Total: 4.5/5

Quality meets performance in the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Swell Seeker One-Piece Swimsuit. Fair Trade Certified sewn, the suit is made from soft and stretchy 83 percent recycled polyester/17 percent spandex (prints) or 83 percent recycled nylon/17 percent spandex (solids). The high neck, long arms, and full coverage seat ensure maximum sun protection. The suit can be worn over a bikini top or on its own, so it’s incredibly versatile. The price is a bit steep but like all things from Patagonia, this suit it built to last.

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hurley surf suit

Hurley Hana Cross Yoke Surfsuit ($95)

Pros: Made from recycled fabric, cute design.
Cons: Front cutout lets sun in.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 3
Durability: 5
Style: 5
Total: 4.25/5

The Hurley Hana Cross Yoke is a functional suit that is sure to turn heads in the lineup. The longsleeve suits features a cheeky cut rear and a cute cutout detail in the front, for a little extra flair. Made from a blend of 84 percent recycled nylon and 16 percent spandex, the suit has light compression that gives you the support you need while still remaining comfortable. Additionally, the suit has binding details at the sides and legs to ensure the seams don’t split. Fashionable and functional, this suit is a winner.

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Rip Curl Mirage Ultimate UPF Surf Suit ($140)

Pros: UPF 50+ rating, back zip.
Cons: 
Cheeky rear doesn’t provide full sun protection.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 5
Durability: 4
Style: 4
Total: 4.25/5

When SPF and surf suit are in the name of the suit, you know it’s going to be a good one. The Rip Curl Mirage Ultimate SPF Surf Suit was designed to offer maximum sun protection and security while surfing. Made from a blend of 87 percent nylon and 13 percent elastane, the suit offers full protection of the arms, back, and chest, with a slightly cheeky rear. The suit features a back zip and is rated UPF 50+, so you can rest easy knowing it’s got you covered.

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billabong long sleeve surf suit

Billabong Sunny Coast Long Sleeve Swimsuit ($100)

Pros: UPF 50 rating, stylish.
Cons: 
Open back doesn’t provide full sun protection.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 4
Durability: 4
Style: 5
Total: 4.25/5

Featuring an open back, high-rise leg, and a skimpy bum, Billabong’s Sunny Coast Long Sleeve Swimsuit is as stylish as they come. The long-sleeve UPF 50 suit offers chest and arm protection from the sun and the one-piece design ensures you won’t have to worry about bikini mishaps while shredding. The open back is flattering but if you’re looking for full sun protection, you may want to look elsewhere. The hook closure in the back is cute, but a little tricky to secure on your own, so best to recruit a buddy for help. Made from 84% recycled polyester, the all over floral design is like a technicolor hippie dream.

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Most Stylish

Seea Valentina Surf Suit ($160)

Pros: Stylish, quick-dry fabric.
Cons: Low cut neck doesn’t protect chest from the sun.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 4
Durability: 4
Style: 4
Total: 4/5

Seea’s Valentina Surf Suit feels like a cross between a rashguard and a springsuit, offering plenty of sun protection and a little added warmth. Featuring a retro-inspired cut, the suit features a low v-cut neckline, a slightly higher cut leg, and a cheeky rear. The suit is rated to UPF 30-plus and the long sleeves and full back provide coverage and sun protection — just be sure and sunscreen that chest! The textured fabric adds style points and everything is quick drying so you can wear it for beach hangs post surf. Like most things from Seea, the Valentina is well made and is sure to last you for years to come.

Check Price on Backcountry

Most High Performance

prAna McKalya One-Piece Swimsuit ($115)

Pros: Full coverage, high performance suit.
Cons: Not the most stylish.

Comfort: 4
Sun Protection: 5
Durability: 4
Style: 3
Total: 4/5

The prAna McKayla One-Piece swimsuit is designed with function in mind. Rated UPF 50+, it has moderate seat coverage and provides full coverage in the front and back. Fair Trade Certified sewn, the McKalya is made from ECONYL, a recycled performance fabric that is stretchy, quick drying, and chlorine-resistant. Additionally, the front of the suit is fully lined, has flatlock stiching, soft comfort binding at the legs and seams, and has quarter-length front zipper.

Check Price on REI

Comparison Table

Surf Suit Overall Rating UPF Rating Eco-Friendly?
Slipins Zippered Longsleeve Swimsuit  4.5 50+ No
O’Neill Bellamy Myrtos Surf Suit 4.5 N/A Yes
Roxy Active Long-Sleeve Back-Zip One-Piece Swimsuit  4.5 50+ Yes
Patagonia Long-Sleeved Swell Seeker One-Piece Swimsuit ($189) 4.5 N/A Yes
Hurley Hana Cross Yoke Surfsuit  4.25 N/A Yes
Billabong’s Sunny Coast Long Sleeve Swimsuit 4.25 50 Yes
Rip Curl Mirage Ultimate UPF Surf Suit  4.25 50+ No
Seea Valentina Surf Suit  4 30+ Yes
prAna McKalya One-Piece Swimsuit  4 50+ Yes

What Is a Surf Suit?

In short, a surf suit is essentially a cross between a rashguard and a swimsuit. Typically, they have long sleeves, UPF protection, and are made from a lightweight, quick-drying, and high performance material. They’re a great option if you’re looking for sun protection and ensure everything stays in place while surfing and help prevent bikini mishaps.

How We Tested

Living in Hawaii, I spend a lot of time in the sun. To test out these suits, I went for lots of surfs when the sun was high and put them through the wringer in a variety of conditions. A few of the suits even accompanied me on a trip to Fiji. While testing, I considered comfort, performance, and how well the suits blocked the sun.

What Makes a Good Surf Suit?

When I’m searching for a new surf suit, there are a few things I take into consideration before purchasing. I want a suit that offers plenty of sun protection, but is also comfortable, durable, and has some style points to boot.

Comfort
When it comes to clothing and surf gear, I’m all about comfort. I spend a lot of time in the water and while I’m surfing, I want a suit that feels like a second skin so I can focus on the waves and not my wardrobe.

Sun Protection
One of the main reasons for wearing a surf suit is sun protection, so it’s important that it delivers in this department. Before purchasing, I check the cut of the suit to ensure it provides ample coverage. I also look for UPF ratings on the tags — a UPF rating of 50 is super solid and will keep you nice and covered.

slipins surf suit

The author, surfing in her Slipins surf suit under the Fijian sun. Photo: Beau Blake

Durability
Like swimsuits, surf suits tend to stretch out over time. The cheaper the material and quality of the suit, the quicker it will stretch out. Although it can be difficult to tell in the store or online, I try and look for suits that appear to be well made and I often gravitate towards brands I know and trust.

Style
Although it’s not essential for performance, I want my suit to look good. I like suits that come in fun prints or bold solids in flattering cuts.

Best Overall Surf Suit
Best Overall Surf Suit

The Slipins Zippered Longsleeve Swimsuit is the ultimate surf suit. It’s rated UPF 50-plus, has a full-length front zipper, dries quickly, and is stretchy and comfortable. Plus, it looks good too.

Price: $150

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What Else Makes a Good Surf Suit?

Zippers

Before purchasing a surf suit, consider the types of zippers it has. While front zippers provide easy access, they can dig in while paddling if they’re poorly placed. Other suits are zipper-less, but can be more difficult to get on and off. Something to think about.

Photo: Tommy Pierucki

Fabric

Most surf suits are made from lightweight, quick drying material, which comes in handy if you plan on hanging out in your suit post-session or heading back out for round two. Others, though, are made from a thicker material which can be helpful in preventing rashes and adding a bit of warmth. Consider what’s important to you before purchasing.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

billabong springsuit
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