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The Best Swimsuits for Women to Surf In

Real women, real review, real suits. Photo: Erik Schwab


The Inertia

Being a girl surfer is sometimes hard. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for anything; numerous scientific studies have shown that girls almost always have more fun. But imagine this: you just dove under the first of a four-wave set, you come up for air, open your eyes, adjust to the bright light, take a big breath and immediately have to look down and reach for your bathing suit. Before you can take one stroke further out the back, you have to check where your damn bikini is on your body. You better do this all pretty damn fast because waves two, three and four are right in front of you. 

That’s why I decided to put this guide to the Best Suits to Surf In together. Because as the water begins to heat up, I don’t want to spend another surf season focused on where my bikini is in relation to my body. I just want to surf! I performed this gear test in my hometown of Montauk, New York and enlisted the help of some of my best buds: Kristen and Katie Brady, Alexis Miller, Jamie Staubitser, and Missy Pagdanganan, to determine which suits fair best in the lineup. 

The air temperature was around 76  degrees, water temp, 67. This is mostly a pictorial (because most surfers just want to see pictures, right), but I created some important parameters in the process to give you a full view of the swimsuits we reviewed. How well the suit actually held all the female anatomy in place (Surfability), how comfortable it was, and if it still allowed for a good tan (Tanability). I then rated them all on a scale of 1-10 in those categories with the help of my surfing buddies. So gals, this review is officially for you:

Swimsuits women can actually surf in

Ms. Brady, looking comfortable and stylish. Photo: Erik Schwab

The Seea Lido One-Piece (Kristen Brady)

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Tanability: 4 – More full coverage than most suits we tried on. 

Comfortability: 7 – This one was made from half neoprene, half bathing suit material. The extra material prevented rib and hip bruising. Also, very supportive of your chest. 

Surfability: 9 – Neoprene gave a little extra padding on the hips and ribs and helped you stick to the board. The suit never moved! Rode up a little, but so much better than a bikini. 

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Swimsuits women can actually surf in

The Roxy one-piece is super versatile. Photo: Erik Schwab

Roxy Riding Moon One-Piece Swimsuit (Missy Pagdanganan)

Tanability: 7 – Good tan lines for a one-piece. The bottoms were a little full-coverage for my liking, but that’s probably because I could have gone a size down on the suit. 

Comfortability: 9 – So comfortable. Light, stretchy fabric with cute ties that were different from a typical one-piece. 

Surfability: 9 – Held everything in really well! 

Swimsuits women can actually surf in

Roxy with the classic look, and cut on these bottoms. Photo: Erik Schwab

Roxy Beach Classics Moderate Bikini Bottoms (Missy Pagdanganan)

Tanability: 7 – Medium coverage if you’re a girl with a butt! 

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Comfortability: 9 – Super comfortable material. 

Surfability: 9 – Super secure while paddling and going through whitewater. I never felt like I had to pull them up. 

Swimsuits women can surf in

Volcom Simply Solid is super solid to surf in. Photo: Erik Schwab

Volcom Simply Solid V Neck Top (Missy P)

Tanability: 7 – This top is more full-coverage in the front of the suit. 

Comfortability: 7 – Not the stretchiest material, but stayed put. 

Surfability: 9 – Stayed nice and secure while surfing. Loved the racer-back straps, they didn’t fall down or come off while paddling. 

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Swimsuits women can surf in

The Volcom one-piece was one of the favorites. Photo: Erik Schwab

Volcom GMJ X Volcom One-Piece (Alyssa Eurell)

Tanability: 5 – This one-piece was a really cute cut, but the zig-zag pattern might be a little funky if you wore that suit for a week straight in high-sun. 

Comfortability: 9 – Loved the material and the cut. It was soft and stretchy. 

Surfability: 9 – This is an awesome suit for being active! This one-piece never moved. I don’t think I ever looked down at my bathing suit, which was a strange feeling.

Swimsuits women can surf in

The Seea Surf Suit: ideal for sun protection. Photo: Erik Schwab

The Seea Gaviotas Surf Suit – Stars (Kristen Brady)

Tanability: 4 – This is a long-sleeve one-piece. Leaving only your face and legs to get sun. Great if you need an off day from the sun but the waves are pumping!

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Comfortability: 7 – Great for hot days because it’ll keep your arms, shoulders, and back from frying. The zipper that landed on your upper back was a little bothersome. 

Surfability: 9 – This suit stayed put the entire time I surfed. I never had to worry about it. A great option for when you’ve had too much sun but still want to surf. 

Swimsuits women can actually wear to surf in

Birdwell makes one fine pair of surf britches. Photo: Erik Schwab

Birdwell 405 Surf Stretch Short (Alyssa Eurell)

Tanability: 4 – Shorts tan line after prolonged sun exposure

Comfortability: 8 – So comfortable for boardshorts. The surf stretch material is super stretchy and you feel like you could do yoga in these. I’ve been wearing them around town a ton too! 

Surfability: 9 –  Occasionally, I’d have to re-tie the waist. But for the most part, these shorts were awesome, and never moved!

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Swimsuits women can actually surf in

RVCA Retro Row looking very modern. Photo: Erik Schwab

RVCA Retro Row Medium One-Piece (Jamie Staubitser)

Tanability: 6 – It was a one-piece, but the straps in the back were pretty minimal. 

Comfortability: 10 – This suit was super comfortable! Whatever material they were using, I was into it! 

Surfability: 10 – Awesome suit to surf in! I never had to readjust it once. This suit allows you to paddle, pop up, and walk around your board without having to look down!

Swimsuits women can surf in

O’Neill with a suit women can actually surf in. Photo: Erik Schwab

O’Neill Atlas Active Top (Alexis Miller)

Tanability: 7 – thick straps aren’t the best for tanning, but it is a bikini, so better than some of the other suits on the list. 

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Comfortability: 10 – Super Comfortable! Loved the material. 

Surfability: 9 – Boobs stayed in place the whole time surfing! Win! 

Swimsuits women can actually surf in

Mix and match with the O’Neill Atlas bottoms. Photo: Erik Schwab

O’Neill Atlas Side-Tie Bottoms (Alexis Miller) 

Tanability: 7 – Full coverage bikini bottom, so if I was looking for an ideal tan, I would rotate in some smaller bikini bottoms. 

Comfortability 8 – I loved the material, but I should have gone down to a small for this one (I wore a medium). 

Surfability: 8 – The bottoms were too big on me and they still stayed on while longboarding, though I think if I was short boarding, and had to duck dive a lot, they would be a hassle. That being said, if I had a small, I’m sure I would have loved them! 

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Swimsuits women can actually surf in.

The Kassia Surf PSYCHEDELIC SHORTY Photo: Erik Schwab

Kassia Surf 2MM PSYCHEDELIC SHORTY (Katie Brady)

Tanability: 5 – More full coverage than a typical suit.

Comfortability: 7 – Was a little tight on my legs, due to the cut of the one-piece and where it ended on the thighs. 

Surfability: 9 – Racerback was great for paddling and the neoprene material added extra padding to the ribs. 

Swimsuits women can actually surf in

September the Line – comfy and cute. Photo: Erik Schwab

September the Line Atlas Bottom (Jamie Staubitser) 

Tanability: 10 – The bottoms were great for tanning. They are cut small in the back.

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Comfortability: 8 – The bottoms were small but didn’t ride up, so they were very comfortable. 

Surfability: 7 – The front of this bikini bottom laid a bit low for my liking. While surfing I had to adjust them a few times throughout the session. 

Swimsuits women can actually surf in

September the Line, tested by Ms. Staubitser  Photo: Erik Schwab

September the Line Renna Top (Jamie Staubitser) 

Tanability: 6 – Probably not the best suit for tanning. The straps are pretty thick and cover a good portion of your shoulder. 

Comfortability: 8 – The top was also comfortable. It was supportive and made of really nice material. The double lining was an awesome feature. 

Surfability: 7 – The straps on the top did slide off a bit when I was paddling for waves. 

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Swimsuits women can actually surf in

The Kassia Surf jacket was a popular item. And well used. Photo: Alyssa Eurell

Kassia Surf 2mm Psychedelic Jacket (Alyssa Eurell) 

Tanability: 3 – It’s a jacket.

Comfortability: 10 – The most comfortable surf top I’ve worn! 

Surfability: 8 – Like most surf jackets, this one occasionally rode up after surfing and jumping off your board into the white water, but this top is the perfect addition if there’s a chilly wind.

Carve Designs

This suit arrived later than the rest, but it’s a solid option I’d be remiss if I left out. Photo: Carve Designs

Carve Designs Coronado One-Piece (Alyssa Eurell)

Disclaimer: This suit arrived after we had our fun morning photo shoot, but we were still able to test this one out before this article went live.

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Tanability: 5 – This piece was definitely more coverage than some of the other one-pieces we threw on.

Comfortability: 8 – This was a really comfortable suit and not distracting!

Surfability: 9 – The Coronado definitely didn’t move the whole time I surfed in it and was super stable.

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