Summer is rapidly approaching, meaning it’s time to swap out the neoprene and show a little more skin. As a lady slider, it can be difficult to find a suit that not only looks good, but will stay securely in place during shred sessions. I set out to find suits that could keep up with my active lifestyle, and put them through the wringer in order to find the best stay put swimsuits for surfers. Here are thirteen swimsuits that did their due diligence in the surf and outshone the rest.
What Are the Best Swimsuits for Surfing?
Best One Piece: Seea Lido One Piece
Most Unique: O’Neill Faye Cap Sleeve Active
Best Overall Swimsuit
Pros: Adjustable straps, detailed cutouts on top/bottom.
Cons: No pads, runs slightly big.
Stays Put: 9
Jolyn has been my top pick for surf suits for years. The Amelia Bikini top and the Nora Bikini bottoms further solidified why I love Jolyn. The Amelia top is a sports bra style top with adjustable straps and a cute keyhole in the front. The Nora bottoms have a slightly high waist and a detailed cutout in the rear for added feminine flair.
Both pieces are made from durable, recycled Sea-flex fabric that is both comfortable and tough. Not only does the suit look good, but it performed well in the lineup, staying firmly in place on waves, wipeouts, turtle rolls, and everything else. The only thing worth noting is that the suit ran slightly (just slightly) big, so if you prefer a more secure fit consider ordering a size down. If you prefer another style, the Tomcat top and Andy bottoms are my other tried and true Jolyn favorites.
Pros: Supportive, UPF 50 protection, made from recycled fabrics.
Cons: Not good for larger busts.
Stays Put: 9
Part of Billabong’s Adventure Division, the Banded Top and Medium bottoms prove they are worthy for saltwater adventures. Triangle tops are my preference as I think they’re the most flattering and they spare you from weird tanlines, but more often than not, they don’t hold up well in the surf.
The Banded Triangle top, however, is the exception to the rule—the top has a wide band for added support and offers medium support. The Medium bottoms combine a high waist with a moderately cheeky rear, delivering a trendy, surf worthy bottom. Made from recycled fabrics, both the top and the bottom feature UPF 50 protection. Billabong’s Adventure Division suit isn’t quite as secure and durable as Jolyn, which is why it finished in close second.Check Top Price on Billabong Check Bottom Price on Billabong
Pros: Nanogrip technology.
Cons: Bottoms bunch up a little in the back.
Stays Put: 9
Fair Trade Certified sewn, the Patagonia Seaglass Bay Top and Sunny Tide Bottoms are made from a blend of recycled polyester/nylon and spandex. The reversible top features a simple cross back design that keeps pressure off the neck without digging in. The low-cut, high performance Sunny Tide bottoms feature Patagonia’s unique Nanogrip technology that helps ensure the suit sits snug and doesn’t budge while in motion. I really like the minimalistic style of this suit and the Nanogrip technology was a great addition for a little added security.Check Top Price on Patagonia Check Bottoms Price on Patagonia
Pros: Super soft and comfortable.
Cons: Print isn’t for everyone.
Stays Put: 8
When this suit first arrived in the mail, I was not a fan. I thought the print looked like something for an eight-year-old girl, but when I tried it on, and my opinion changed. For some reason, it completely works. It fits well, it’s flattering, and the print is fun and unique. Both pieces are made from a recycled nylon fabric that is textured, soft, stretchy, and super comfortable.
The bralette style top is secure in the water, and I appreciated the fact that they include removable pads. The bottoms are full coverage and are secure, but shift a little during some heavier wipeouts and larger sets—I’d suggest sizing down for a super secure fit. Despite my initial hesitations, I can honestly say the Roxy Wave Babe has quickly become one of my favorite suits for surfing and paddling.Check Top Price on Amazon Check Bottoms Price on Amazon Check Price on REI
Most Flattering Cut
Pros: Four-way stretch fabric, secure and comfortable.
Cons: Pads aren’t removable.
Stays Put: 8
A few of my closest friends are pro standup paddlers, and they’ve been wearing and vouching for Pualani for years. From the mind of big wave surfer and water stunt woman Iwalani Isbell, Pualani’s suits are designed for active water women. Made from four-way stretch European fabric the suits are high quality and are designed to last. While bra style tops are incredibly cute and flattering, I wouldn’t normally recommend them for surfing, but the Pualani Bra Top is equal parts secure and comfortable. Plus, it gives a great little boost for us flat chested gals. As the name suggests, the Skimpy Scrunch Rio bottoms are skimpy, but they’re also super cute and comfortable. If you plan on shredding in your suit, I’d recommend sizing down for that extra secure fit.Check Top Price on Pualani Check Bottoms Price on Pualani
Best One Piece
Pros: UPF 30+, incredibly secure.
Cons: Sometimes chafes under the arms.
Stays Put: 9
Combining function with fashion, Seea’s Lido One Piece is the ultimate surf suit. Made from a blend of recycled polyester/spandex coupled with a C-skin body fabric, the one-piece suit is rated to UPF 30-plus, so you don’t have to worry about the sun sneaking through the fabric. For the most flattering fit possible, the suit features a high neck, deep V-back, and a retro cut bottom.
While one-piece suits don’t typically tend to be the most stylish, the Hermosa comes in a variety of fun prints and the secure, yet flattering fit ensures it will look good and stay securely in place regardless of what you throw its way. While this suit was incredibly secure while surfing, I did experience some chaffing under my arm that proved to be uncomfortable during longer sessions.Check Price on Seea
Best For Bigger Busts
Pros: Great for bigger busts, hidden underwire, powermesh support.
Cons: No size option for smaller busts.
Stays Put: 9
For surfer gals with a bigger bust size, the Rip Curl Premium Surf DD top and bikini bottoms are the move. I personally am pretty flat chested but after chatting with some friends, they were all fans of this suit and the fact that it supports bigger cup sizes. The top offers fully adjustable wide straps, removable padding, internal powermesh support, and hidden underwire for maximum support and comfort.
The top is secure enough to ensure the girls won’t go anywhere, but it fits a little snug around the ribcage in the name of support. The bottoms offer full coverage and a mid-rise cut, providing plenty of support while still remaining flattering—on larger sets they slide around a little but if you size down, you’ll get a snugger fit.Check Top Price on Amazon Check Bottoms Price on Amazon
Pros: Front cutouts, super secure.
Cons: No option for pads, kind of weird with a suit under it.
Stays Put: 10
The O’Neill Faye Cap Sleeve Active suit is kind of like a cross between a surf suit and a swimsuit. Made from a blend of 82% recycled polyamide and 18% elastane, the medium coverage suit has cap sleeves and a zippered back for easy entry and exit. The front cutout detailing gives the suit a feminine flair and the all over pattern is fun and funky.
The suit is lightweight, comfortable, and dries quickly, making it a great option for hanging on the beach post session. The only downside of the suit is it doesn’t come with anywhere to insert pads and it looks a little funky to wear a swimsuit under—it’s not a deal breaker, but it’s an upgrade I hope O’Neill will add in the future. This suit is unlike any of the others I tested and looks and feels even better on than in photos.Check Price on Amazon
Other Swimsuits We Love
Pros: Cute, retro print, buttery soft fabric.
Cons: No spot for pads.
Stays Put: 9
I first discovered Kavala Collection via an add on Instagram and kept coming back because I loved the aesthetic of their suits. They advertised that their suits were designed for surfing, so I decided to give them ago. And I’m glad I did. The retro look of the Flower Power Tava top and Samet bottom is adorable and holds up well in the lineup too. The material of both pieces is buttery soft and feels incredibly well made and durable. The high-waist cut of the bottom is flattering and the triangle cut top ensures you won’t have any funky tan lines. The Tava top doesn’t come with anywhere to insert pads, which can be a deal breaker for some, but I personally prefer to go pad free when surfing.Check Bottoms Price on Kavala Collection Check Bottoms Price on Kavala Collection
Pros: Strappy detailing on the top, soft micro-fiber fabric.
Cons: Bottoms and top shift in bigger sets.
Stays Put: 8
Body Glove’s Alani Top and Rosalia Low Rise Bottoms are like a match made in heaven. The top is made from a blend of 85% nylon and 15% spandex and is a fixed design with strappy detailing in the back. The top fits securely and is soft and comfortable, and I appreciate the removable pads.
The Rosalia bottoms are low rise and provide medium rear coverage and are made from the same smooth and ultra-soft microfiber fabric as the Alani top. The suit is super comfortable and doesn’t dig in anywhere. The top stays on in most conditions and while the bottoms are secure, they do shift a little in more trying conditions.
Pros: Top is secure, snug fit.
Cons: Bottoms shift in bigger sets.
Stays Put: 8
Sisstrevolution always has the cutest prints and I regularly find myself eyeing their suits in the shops. But I wanted to know if they were surf worthy, so I decided to give them a try. The Leda Brallete top is comfy, cute, and secure and is perfect for anything the oceans throws your way.
The top doesn’t include pads inserts, but with the snug fit, I prefer to do without them anyways. The Rowend bottoms are flattering and fairly secure, but they do shift a little in heavier conditions. Made from Unifi recycled polyester, this is a suit you can feel good about wearing.Check Top Price on Sisstrevolution Check Bottom Price on Sisstrevolution
Best Compression Suit
Pros: Reversible, UPF 50 rating.
Cons: No pads.
Stays Put: 9
You’d be hard pressed to find a better surf top than the Sanitas by Carve Designs. Available in a variety of prints and sizes, it’s reversible, it’s made from recycled materials, it’s incredibly secure, and the style is cute and sporty. While the top is solid and won’t go anywhere while surfing, it’s definitely snug and could get uncomfortable if you plan on wearing it all day.
The high cut top and UPF 50 rating offer additional sun protection for your chest, but doesn’t include a spot to insert pads (something to note if that’s important to you). The Lani bottoms sport an ultra-high waist and a cheeky cut rear, accentuating the female curves in the best way. The compression bottoms are secure and can withstand even the heaviest of beatings.Check Top Price on REI Check Bottoms Price on Amazon
Pros: Crochet detailing, compression bottoms.
Cons: Material takes longer to dry.
Stays Put: 8
Part of the Carissa Moore x Hurley collection, the Max Crochet Top and Cheeky bottoms are designed with performance in mind. The top and bottom feature crochet detailing, which sounded a little weird at first, but is actually incredibly cute and comfy. Made from a blend of polyester and spandex, the top features cross back straps, CF and side wing stabilizers, removable foam cups, a rib elastic underbust, and the entire suit is lined.
The bottoms fit snug and offer max compression support, so you can rest easy knowing they will stay on in trying conditions. The material is thick and durable but as a result, it can take a little longer to dry than other suits. Another huge perk of this suit, is that proceeds support the Moore Aloha Foundation, a non-profit founded by five time world champion Carissa Moore.Check Top Price on Hurley Check Bottom Price on Hurley
|Swim Suit||Overall Rating||Style||Sustainable?||Pads?|
|Jolyn Amelia Bikini Top & Nora Bikini Bottom||9.25||Two-piece||Yes||No|
|Billabong A/Div Banded Triangle Top & A/Div Medium Bikini Bottoms||9||Two-piece||Yes||Yes|
|Patagonia Seaglass Bay Top & Sunny Tide Bottoms||9||Two-piece||Yes||Yes|
|Roxy Wavy Babe Bralette Top ($54) & Hipster Bottoms||8.75||Two-piece||Yes||Yes|
|Pualani Hawaii Bra Top & Skimpy Scrunch Rio Bottoms||8.75||Two-piece||No||Yes|
|Seea Lido One Piece||8.25||One-piece||Yes||No|
|Rip Curl Premium Surf Crop Top & Premium Surf Bikini Bottom||8.25||Two-piece||No||Yes|
|Kavala Collection Flower Power Tava Top & Samet Bottom||8.5||Two-piece||Yes||No|
|Body Glove Alani Top & Rosalia Low Rise Bottom ($51)||8.25||Two-piece||No||Yes|
|Sisstrevolution Leda Bralette Top & Solid Rowend High Hip Bottom ($40)||8.25||Two-piece||Yes||No|
|Carve Designs Sanitas Top ($56) & Lani Compression Bottom||8.25||Two-piece||Yes||No|
|Hurley Max Crochet Soft Strap Top & Crochet Mid Rise Cheeky Bottom ($55)||8||Two-piece||No||Yes|
How We Tested
After years of trial and error and countless mishaps with swimsuits, I decided to do a thorough test of the latest styles to help all my surfer girls out. I reached out to my favorite brands and asked each to send me three of their current best bikinis or one pieces for surfing. After surfing in each, I picked my favorite suit from each brand.
What Makes a Good Swimsuit for Surfing?
A swimsuit may seem like a pretty straightforward piece of gear—it’s just a few pieces of fabric sewn together. But through years of experience, and a couple of mishaps, I have learned that not all swimsuits are created equally, especially when it comes to surfing and other watersports. A good suit not only comes at an affordable price but also fits securely, is durable, and looks good.
Swimsuits do not come cheap—that’s a fact. If I’m dropping over $100 on a tiny piece of fabric, I want to make sure it’s going to last more than one summer, which is unfortunately all too true for most bikinis.
Fit is crucial when it comes to a good swimsuit. Obviously one size does not fit all but if you’re anything like me you do a lot of your shopping online and want a suit that fits true to size. Additionally, I want a suit that hugs in all the right places so it looks as flattering as possible.
For surf suits, I have found that ordering a size down, especially in bottoms can help with a secure fit. For reference, I’m 5’7”, 125 pounds and tested size small suits.
If it doesn’t look good, I don’t want it, plain and simple. When I’m purchasing a new suit, I want it to come in a fun print or color and have a cute cut. In addition to your surfing, your suit is a way of expressing yourself out in the water and it’s always fun to find a suit that matches your personality.
I’ve always been a function over fashion kind of gal but when I find a suit that combines both, I’m stoked. I spend most of the day in my swimsuit and as such, I need it to be comfortable otherwise it’s not going to make the cut.
What Else Should I Look For in a Swimsuit for Surfing?
When it comes to surfing, I personally prefer no pads as they often fold over when you wipeout and look weird and misshapen. But, I do like when suits comes with removable pads to give the girls a little boost on the days when you’re just hanging on the beach.
Adjustable vs. Fixed Back
Some suits have adjustable ties and straps, while others are a fixed style. I’ve found that the fixed, sports bra style tops tend to be the most secure, but you’ll want to make sure they fit you perfectly, because there’s no adjusting if they don’t. If you prefer to be able to adjust your suit for a custom fit, look for a suit with ties or straps.
Style is important to me when it comes to bathing suits. I want a suit that has a cute pattern or design and that looks good on, so I can feel confident in my suit. I tried to include a wide range as styles, as I know preference varies from person to person.