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So You Want to Learn to Surf - What Do You Wear??

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Friday, March 16, 2012

So You Want to Learn to Surf - What Do You Wear??

Surf bikini from Desi's Bikini Boutique - a Costa Rican designer. It's a reversible suit but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to wear the animal print side!

{Note: I anticipate that this will be one of many posts in which I'm ignoring the fact that I'm having knee surgery soon and pretending that surf season and other fitness adventures are just around the corner for me.}

You've made the brilliant decision to learn to surf. Whether you have decided to take one lesson while on vacation in Hawaii, California, Costa Rica or another warm water locale or to spend a full week at a surf camp like I did, your next question undoubtably is, "What in the world do I wear?" OK, that was my first question.

If you are headed to tropical waters, you don't need much. For women, you need a bikini/swimsuit, a rash guard and possibly a pair of board short, depending on what you're comfortable with. For men, you need a pair of board shorts and a rash guard. While I used to think that rash guards were silly, they are pretty important, especially if you are a beginner surfer. Not only does a rash guard protect you from the sun, but it protects your stomach and torso from chafing as you paddle and move up and down on the board.

I feel like it's easier for men to find a pair of board shorts. There are lot of brands out there - Quiksilver, O'Neill, Billabong, Rusty, Volcom, etc. and really, they're board shorts. However, you don't want to buy a pair of bulky swim trunks that are going to chafe and/or ride up on you when you're out in the water.

For women, it's a little more complicated. I don't know about you but I've never purchased a functional swimsuit, except for the Speedos I had to wear for swim practice. For my first trip to Surf Simply, I didn't really think about what I would need from my swimsuit. I knew that I wanted it to be cute, fit well and not fall off while I was in the water. I bought a bikini top and bottom from Athleta. I mean, they show women surfing in Athleta swimsuits in their catalog so that must mean that their bikinis were good for surfing, right? I wasn't sure where else to look.

While my bikini served me well on my surf trip, I did learn that the bottoms have to fit properly i.e. don't buy it a size bigger because it's more comfortable which is what I tend to do! You want your swimsuit to stay put and not move around when you are paddling, turtle rolling, or trying to catch a wave.

Since then, I've purchased two surf bikinis that I love. One from Desi's Bikini Boutique, which is made by a Costa Rican designer, and one from Calavera Swimwear which is based in Newport Beach, CA. I love that these swimsuits are made specifically with surfing in mind and therefore meant to stay put!

Surf bikini from Calavera Swimwear - Wicked line, Graffiti pattern and Pure bottom.

Both suits are made from material that does stretch not out in the water and both are highly adjustable. As you can see from the picture above, instead of a typical halter or open back top, the straps cross in the back, creating a much more secure fit. You can cinch the straps down pretty tightly (which is what you want to do) and then tie it in the back. Again, the material is such that the tie doesn't loosen in the water. It stays put. The Calavera suit actually crosses around the bottom of your chest twice before you tie it off, again creating a more secure fit. I actually prefer the cross-back style. I find that when I wear a halter top for too long, my neck starts to hurt, especially surfing when I have to keep my head and chest up to paddle.

The bottoms are also adjustable. The Desi suit has a single tie on the side of the suit that you can tighten. The Calavera suit has ties on both sides so that you can adjust the fit to your body and again, make sure that it's tied on snuggly.

Lastly, I have a pair of Roxy board shorts that I love. I didn't want a pair of long board shorts because I thought that they would annoy me in the water with all the fabric. I found these short shorts last year and they provide an extra level of comfort and security when I'm in the water. I don't always wear them but I like having the option.

What do you wear when you surf or play in the ocean? 

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At March 16, 2012 at 4:05 PM , Blogger Jolene said...

Super cute suits! And um, I wish I could surf, I always think that is so bad ass. I guess I should learn to swim first ;-)

At March 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks! They are super comfortable too. Surfing is pretty fun but I'm definitely still learning and a beginner. I won't lie, it does make me feel badass sometimes :-)

At June 2, 2012 at 2:42 AM , Anonymous surf holiday said...

Proper clothing is very important when you want to learn how to surf. This will help you be comfortable while also protecting yourself from the heat of the sun.

At June 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM , Blogger Danielle said...

I bet these suits would be great for tubing around the lake as well, bikinis are famous for falling off when you hit the water! I didn't realize they made two pieces specifically for surfing.

At June 2, 2012 at 8:57 PM , Blogger Christine said...

They would be great for any active water/beach activity. They really do stay put and fit well. Plus they are super cute! When I was shopping for bikinis, I was so baffled because I looked at these skimpy two pieces and couldn't imagine how they would stay on while surfing. Thank goodness I came across these.

At June 2, 2012 at 8:57 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Definitely and I completely agree. The last thing that you want to worry about when you are learning to surf is whether or not you are going to have a wardrobe malfunction!

At June 4, 2014 at 10:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I am going to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming yet again to read further news.

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