Despite the massive amount of bikini brands, bikini styles, and bikini trends, it is still incredibly hard to find bikinis that are functional for the hardy demands that surfing puts on your swimwear.
As a female surfer, I think it’s pretty darn important to have a swimsuit that stays on. I mean, nip slips happen to the best of us but we’d probably prefer if they didn’t.
From the paddle-out to the popup, you want your bikini to stay put and preferably, still look cute.
When I first wrote this blog in 2019, it was hard to find any functional surf bikinis. Now the real question is, of all the surf bikini brands out there in 2021, which are the cutest, the sturdiest, and the best?
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best surf bikini brands that have been tried and tested in heavy water.
After testing out these bikinis personally, I can promise you that these 10 surf bikinis are not only cute and comfortable, but they’re also sturdy, durable, and will absolutely stay on when surfing big waves.
Shopping for the Best Surf Bikini
Okay, so you want to rock a cute bikini for your next surf trip. Here a few tips for shopping for that new surf bikini:
Size Yo’Self Up
No size is created equal. You may be a consistent medium in all your clothing however, since bathing suits are completely form fitting, you’ll want to be sure that they are exactly the right size.
In addition, since you’re looking for a surf-friendly bikini, it can’t be on the loose side of the spectrum either. It’s gotta stay on through thick and thin.
Point being, find a measuring tape (you may need to use a piece of string if you only own a hardware style tape measure) and size your hips, waist, and bust.
Once you’ve got the measurements, be sure to check the size chart for each bikini brand to find the perfect size.
Consider Your Preferences
Coverage is a crucial factor when shopping for bikinis. Some are into the “Less is more” trend and some prefer more modest confidence with fuller fabrics.
Fortunately, most of the brands we recommend in this blog are really good about letting their customers know what kind of coverage each bikini offers. On most sites you can even shop by coverage level like Cheeky, Moderate, and Full.
Because of the varying desires in coverage style, we’ve shared our top bikini pick for each of the 3 different coverage styles for each brand.
Also note, Lo, Mid, and Hi coverage are all relative for each brand. Lo means low by that brand’s standard.
This means that Lo coverage Carve Designs could be way more coverage than a Mid coverage Sensi Graves bikini.
Bikinis Are Expensive
The eternal question: Why does it cost so much for so little fabric?!
The answer may never be revealed. However, what I can tell you is that occasionally there is a way around this.
New collections will always cost more but the good news is, collections eventually go out of style and you can find huge discounts on outdoor retailers like Backcountry.com.
Temporarily Sold Out?
What I love about most of the amazing brands we include in this blog is that many small brands with an intimate group of designers and manufacturers.
That being said, sometimes specific bikinis linked on this are sold out. It happens, even to big brands like Patagonia and Hurley! But don’t worry if you have your eye on a suit that’s sold out! These bikinis always come back into stock within a few weeks.
The Best Surf Bikinis
1 | Carve Designs
Pros: Seamless fit, stylish neutral and floral prints, super soft fabrics, cuts for all preferences, flattering fit, every style is sturdy
Cons: The elastic on the bottoms aren’t super tight
Lo-Coverage Pick: Dahlia Top + Sanitas Bottoms
Mid-Coverage Pick: La Jolla Top + St Barth Bottoms
Hi-Coverage Pick: Palisades Top + Stinson Bottoms
Carve Designs is my #1 pick for surf bikinis. The reason I pick this brand over any of the others is because they’re truly designed for adventurous women, and most importantly, they’re wildly comfortable.
The Carve Designs fabrics are seamless, form fitting, and are often reversible. These bikinis stay on with a perfect level of stretchiness.
I love that they have some creative styles and prints as well as some simple ones.
Carve Designs is not a fashion based brand. It’s not exclusively for skinny girls nor are their bikinis built for lounging on the sand (totally un-adventurous).
As the Carve Designs motto goes, these bikinis are for “REAL WOMEN WITH REAL BODIES AND A REAL PASSION FOR ADVENTURE”
Hands up to all the surfer girls out there who can relate to this!
In terms of picking the right style, it’s worth noting that Carve Designs runs more on the fuller coverage side. While I sometimes wear a size medium on both the top and bottom, I prefer a size small in Carve Designs.
Every single style at Carve Designs is perfect for surfing so it’s all up to you to decide which style you like the most. For more straps and style, try the Dahlia Top or for simple fashion, the Stinson set is a go-to for active women.
They even have an awesome bikini style finder quiz on their website!
Shop bikinis on Carve Designs website or Backcountry for up to 60% off.
2 | Sensi Graves
Pros: Tightly fitting elastics that actually stays put, eco-friendly, lightweight materials, strappy backs, thick waistband
Cons: The thin fabric can feel too revealing for some
Lo-Coverage Pick: Issy Top and Jennifer Bottom
Mid-Coverage Pick: Colleen Top and Kyla Bottom
Hi-Coverage Pick: Alexa Top and Emma Bottom
The Sensi Graves motto alone is enough to make me love the brand: “Bikinis designed for girls who rip.”
Sensi Graves is a darn close second on the best surf bikinis.
Though the rest of the brands on this list are all great for surfing heavy water, if I were to paddle out at 8-10 foot day at Haleiwa, I’d grab my Sensi Graves bikini because the elastics are just so darn good.
The tight-fitted elastic of Sensi Graves will make sure my bikini stays on when I wipe out.
What I love about Sensi Graves is the tight fitting style of it. I love a good, comfortable bikini, but when I’m paddling out on a big day, I know the tight-fitted elastic of Sensi Graves will make sure my bikini stays on when I wipe out.
In terms of style, I like that Sensi Graves has low coverage options that are still functional, unlike most bikinis.
The whole less is more style actually works for surfing with Sensi Graves and my top pick for bottoms are definitely the Jennifer.
I absolutely love all the criss cross options of their tops and my favorite is the Issy.
Shop Sensi Graves bikinis now.
3 | Zealous Clothing
Pros: Thick and soft fabric that doesn’t sacrifice secure fit, wider fitting bottoms that still offer cheeky fits, cute prints, strong back straps, reversible tops, tie-string bottoms
Cons: Some may not like the thicker fabric
Lo-Coverage Pick: Riptide Wrap Top and Brazilian Bottoms
Mid-Coverage Pick: Braided Top and Cheeky Bottoms
Hi-Coverage Pick: Mermazing Top and Basic Surf Bottoms
Zealous goes above and beyond in merging athleticism with modern styles surf girls have come to love.
While sturdy fit is of utmost priority for surfing, I ideally don’t want to sacrifice cute cuts along the way. Zealous achieves just that with their various different surf style tops and fitted bottoms.
My honest favorite thing about Zealous that sets them apart from the other brands listed here are the bottoms.
Honestly, I love that all of their styles have a wider fabric on the crotch, a realistic and often overlooked highlight for surfing girls. But they do this while also managing to offer cheekier fits that make you feel confident. And if that’s not your thing, there are high coverage options too 😉
Of course, all of their other bikini bottoms also come with tie strings, keeping everything secure on those intense wipeouts and hold-downs.
When it comes to Zealous surf tops, you can’t go wrong. Each top stays true to the core components that make a bikini good for surfing.
- They have strong shoulder/neck bands (for strong girls),
- Have tight and supportive underbust bands,
- & though bust support varies by style, they all have a thick but soft fabric that stays on.
If you’re looking for an all around top performer for style and support, the Braided Top or the Mermazing Top will be your new best friend. Or add a little more spice to your surf style with my personal favorite, the Riptide Wrap.
Last but not least, I love the story behind Zealous and Marie’s passion for surfing and design. These bikinis are insanely high quality and support small business and sustainable manufacturing in Bali.
Shop Zealous Clothing Bikinis now.
4 | Maaji Swimwear
Pros: Super soft, unique prints, stylish designs, not too tight or too loose
Cons: Designs aren’t as functional for surfing as other brands mentioned
Lo-Coverage Pick: Bralette Top + Double V Bottoms
Mid-Coverage Pick: Seamless 4-Way Halter Top + Splendour Bottoms
Hi-Coverage Pick: Seamless 4-Way Halter Top + Sublimity Classic Bottoms
I almost forgot to include this brand despite the fact that for years, I wore this bikinis more than any other pair I owned.
Maaji is designed for the more wild and free spirited souls.
Maaji does not design as “sporty” of styles as the other swimwear brands in this blog. In fact, they don’t even identify with “active swimwear” per se. Maaji is more about fashion but I’ve included them here because I find their suits very comfortable for surfing.
View this post on Instagram
Maaji has dozens of different prints and designs so you have to be a little picky if you’re looking for a surf suit. Steer clear of those bandeaus (unless you’re feeling extra brave) and head towards their signature and absolutely fabulous 4-way wear tops. As the name explains, you can wear these tops 4 different ways that stay on and look stylish.
What I love most about Maaji is the Sublimity bottoms. These bottoms are the perfect overall bikini bottoms. They have coverage but are also flattering. They’re sturdy but also soft and light. I’d surf anything under 5 feet in these bottoms.
Shop bikinis at Maaji or get suits for up to 60% off on Backcountry.com.
Related: 5 Ways to Rapidly Improve Your Surfing
5 | Patagonia Surf
Pros: Eco friendly, stays put, soft fabric, super stylish prints with new and improved designs, built for adventure
Lo-Coverage Pick: Focal Point Top + Upswell Bottoms
Mid-Coverage Pick: Nanogrip Sunset Swell Top + Sunamee Bottoms
Hi-Coverage Pick: Bottom Turn Top + Nanogrip Bottoms
Patagonia, does what they do best: Make one singular stylish product for outdoor folk. We love the mix of sustainability with functionality and fairly good style but the price is HIGH.
I’m personally a huge fan of the Patagonia Seaglass Bay Top & Bottom combo for it’s ultimate mid-coverage style that mixes a sporty fit with a stylish strappy back but lately, Patagonia has released new styles for the first time in a long time!
Its actually why we decided improve our review of Patagonia and raise it to be the 5th best womens surf bikini!
View this post on Instagram
Patagonia has recently added a new low coverage suit to their line called the Upswell. I’m not a fan of the Upswell top for surfing since it doesn’t offer much support for big waves. What I do love is the Upswell bottoms that offer a good low coverage option since Patagonia didn’t offer a cheekier option before.
They’ve also designed what is now my new favorite Patagonia surf top which the Focal Point Top which is both supportive, offers a unique cut, and has a cute straps on the front. But it’s hard choice between their other great mid-coverage top: The Nanogrip Sunset Swell which is an improved cuter design of their original Nanogrip top.
Of course, Patagonia also offers higher coverage and support in their classic suits: The Bottom Turn top and the new Nanogrip Nireta top paired with mid to high coverage bottoms like the Sunamee or Nanogrip.
Shop bikinis now on Patagonia or Backcountry.com for up to 50% off.
6 | Noserider Surf Club
Pros: Uniquely elegant design, minimalist, very strong elastic, thick material, ethical production
Cons: All bottoms are fairly high waisted
Lo-Coverage Pick: Noserider Surf Top + Cheeky Surf Bottoms
Mid-Coverage Pick: Batu Bolong Top + Baby Reef Surf Bottoms
Hi-Coverage Pick: Kuta Kini Top + Kuta Kini Bottoms
Noserider Surf Club is an amazing up-and-coming womens surf brand that’s women-owned and ethically built by family-owned businesses in Bali. With a mission for effortless, inclusive, and minimalist design, I like to describe Noserider Surf suits as lowkey, luxury strong babe suits.
On initial reaction, Noserider suits looked like something I would wear on a beach in Tulum or the Amalfi Coast in Italy, but not something i would shred heavy water in. Once I had the suit in my hand, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this was not like any other womens surf bikini that I had tested before.
Noserider Surf Suits has a UNIQUE approach and I love that. They combine a minimalist, elgenat ,and feminine cuts with a very strong elastic as well as a thick, double layered and oh-so-soft matieral. The result s a mesh between strength and elegance, athleticism and femininity, that i feel perfectly sums up womens surfing.
As a lover of low-to-mid coverage suits, I’m a huge fan of the Baby Reef Bikini Bottom and classic Noserider Surf Top.
The Baby Reef bottoms are a regular rise (and also the lowest rise the Noserider offers) with a cheeky low coverage cut. I’m not always big on low coverage cuts for surfing but Noserider makes it work very well by keeping a wider fabric on the crotch plus the signature strong elastic that lets me feel confident while looking cute. For a higher waist of the same great cut, check out the Batu Bolong bottoms.
The Noserider top is lowest coverage option but even still, offers good support with strung under-bust band.
P.S. If you’re surfing in an intense sun, pair this with their adorable cropped rash guards!
The only small little con is that this brand only offers bottoms that are mid to high waisted. A mid-to high waist is simply the brand’s style and I’m personally really into it. If that’s not right for your body type, this may not be the best bikini for you.
Ethical production is important to this brand so all of Noserider’s suits are small batch and sold with a pre-sale to make sure that no suits go to waste. After the pre-sale, a limited quantity of suits in each color, size are made and once a seasonal line is sold out, it’s sold out!
Get 15% off Noserider Surf Club with coupon code: NOMADS15
7 | Hurley
Pros: Designed for peak performance, form fitting, lightweight but not too thin.
Cons: Not a small business, short life span
Lo-Coverage Pick: Baby Rib Triangle Top + Baby Rib Cheeky Bottom
Mid-Coverage Pick: Adjustable Top + Moderate Surf Bottom
Hi-Coverage Pick: Max Solid Top + Max Moderate Bottom
Hurley is built for performance and much like their top of the line wetsuit design, their swimwear is sleek, soft, and form fitting.
Honestly, there’s not much to dislike about Hurley suits. A Forbes article even quoted Carissa Moore that, “Hurley made the best bikini ever for women who surf”…
The only reason Hurley is this low on the list is that it’s become such a big business.
The other brands on this list put love into each thread but Hurley is pretty mass manufactured. And because of that, the lifespan on their swimwear is nothing compared to other bathing suits on this list.
View this post on Instagram
But of course, the mass production equates to cheaper prices for good looking suits. If you’re shopping Hurley, you might be like me and fall in love with the Leilani surf suit which looks absolutely adorable and functional.
The Max bottoms collection is great for surfers, and depending on your style preferences, you can choose more moderate or cheeky coverage.
As far as tops go, Hurley has two tops that are perfect for surfing: the The Adjustable top and the Max top. With sturdy coverage, soft material, and strappy backs, they will stay on while surfing and also provide sleek style.
Shop bikinis now on Hurley or Amazon.
8 | Left on Friday
Pros: Active cuts, beautiful vivid solids, fast drying, anti-fading, and oh-so-soft Smoothing Dream Fabric™
Cons: Only one of their tops have classic racerbacks or cross-straps, all mid-hi coverage bottoms. Thinner fabrics.
Lo-Coverage Pick: Sunday Top + Wear To Bottom
Mid-Coverage Pick: Double Scoop Top + Wear To Bottom
Hi-Coverage Pick: High Dive Top + Hi Hi Bottom
Left on Friday suits are designed for a life where nothing holds you back (including your swimsuit).
As active women and surfers, there’s nothing worse than feeling restricted by your swimsuit and the feeling like it might just slip off at any moment.
Surf, swim, drink margaritas, waterski, build sand castles, chase your kids, play bocce ball, bbq…
Left on Friday (AKA LOF) suits are made out of their Smoothing Dream Fabric™ material crafted in Italy. Though every suit I mention in this blog is of quality material, I have to say there is something abnormally butter-y smooth about this particular fabric without fading under sunny, salty, or chlorine-y conditions.
The fabric also features an anti-snagging integrity which can be helpful in the natural rigor surfing and scratching your suit against a board.
Left on Friday suits feature intentionally soft threads and smooth elastics so that everything stays put without digging or rubbing. This gives LOF suits that trademarked insanely comfortable fit™ which I can personally vouch for.
LOF suits are uniquely soft and strong at the same time, perfect for active women.
Something that makes Left on Friday one of the best surf bikinis is the design. Unlike Zealous or Maaji suits which are thick and unrevealing in the fabrics themselves, LOF materials are thinner and quick drying which can be highly beneficial when you’re spending the whole day changing in and out of your suit. It’s great for surf trips where you want a single suit that will dry fast between surf sessions and hanging out in town or on the beach.
This is one of those personal preference things but the thinner material also brings with it more of a naked feel. So if you’re someone who feels like you need to “cover it up” so to speak, maybe consider a different surf bikini.
The Sunday top & Sweet Victory top are LOF’s classic Lo coverage tops. I love their sporty but flattering cuts. My only complaint is these tops, which are my top choices, are not racerback or cross-strap. Considered the classic straps, the elastic IS strong and does stay on well but when it comes to legit surfing, classic straps just inevitably slip off my shoulder.
A more functional top for surfing is the High Dive Top. The High Dive is a halter style with cross-back straps that will absolutely stay on for heavy waves. For unique fashion with function, the Offshore Top’s single cross-shoulder strap could actually be great surf bikini top.
I actually love that LOF only has 3 choices for bottoms, reducing the overwhelm.
If you’re into high-waisted bottoms, this suit is great. The High Tide or Hi Hi Bottom are medium coverage bottoms with slightly different leg cuts.
The Wear To Bottom is the ultimate sporty bottom and their only low waisted bikini option. It’s a medium coverage bum with precisely enough fabric on the front to feel secure. Personally, I don’t love the high-waisted trend for surf bikinis so this is really the only bottom to choose from. I would almost describe more of poolside bottom than a surf bottom but that said, that’s just the stereotype of surf styles.
This could definitely be a great suit if you like a low waist and medium coverage with strong elastic and a seamless feel.
Shop bikinis now at Left on Friday or Backcountry.
9 | Hakuna Wear
Pros: The ultimate stay-put bikinis, high quality recycled materials, Salt water (& chlorine) resistant, built for active women, most functional low cut bottoms out there
Cons: No mid or low cut tops currently available
Lo-Coverage Pick: Miho Bottom
Hi-Coverage Pick: Kare Kare Top + Jeju Bottom
The first and foremost thing I love about the San Diego based small brand, Hakuna Wear, is that their surf bikinis are designed for active women. Their suits are specifically for surfers and are guaranteed to stay put due the unique feature of a drawstring on their bikinis.
The elastic drawstring is on all of their bikinis bottoms and tops which keeps feeling confident and secure so you can focus all your attention on heavy water waves.
I have the Kare Kare top with the Miho bottoms and there are 2 things I really love. One, the top has a super comfortable athletic fit great for truly active-focused women. Two, these are definitely the most functional low-cut bottoms out there due to the drawstring. With most brands, I wouldn’t consider a lo-cut for a big surf day but not with these.
All Hakuna Wear bikinis are also reversible which any surfer girl can agree makes a new bikini far more exiting with 4 different ways to style it.
The worst thing we fear about buying a new bikini for surfing is for it to fail on you on a heavy day and not only does it ruin your session, but it also feels like wasted money. You can rest easy knowing that they will repair moderate wear & tear for a reasonable price with Ding Repair.
The only thing to note about Hakuna is that they currently don’t have any moderate or low coverage tops. If stylish hi-cut tops that stay ultimately secure are your jam, you’ll love Hakuna Wear.
Get 15% off Hakuna Wear with coupon code: NOMADS15
10 | Jolyn Clothing
Pros: Salt water (& chlorine) resistant, long lasting, stays put, functional, built for active women, cheaper than many bikinis
Cons: Basic styles, not the most flattering cuts, not the softest materials.
Lo-Coverage Pick: Triangle Top + Duke Bottom
Mid-Coverage Pick: Tomcat Top + Midl Bottom
Hi-Coverage Pick: Fendrick Top + Andy Bottom
I got my first Jolyn bikini back when Jolyn was a small brand. The SoCal based brand hosted many trunk shows at my local surf contests and festivals. At the time, it was super rare to find a functional bikini amongst the surf scene so once I found Jolyn I was hooked.
Jolyn is the most athletically designed bikini out there.
As far as fit, you’ve never worn anything like Jolyn. Their fabrics are thick and sturdy with a high thread count. The straps are tight and the waistband is sturdy. Their bikinis don’t rip, fade, or wear down over time.
I’ve owned the same Tomcat top for 6 years and it still works like a charm and the prints aren’t faded.
View this post on Instagram
The only thing I don’t love about Jolyn is that their bottom cuts aren’t the most flattering nor are the prints the most “surfy.” You have a choice in cuts at Jolyn but even their slim coverage styles aren’t quite as cute in reality.
Update: Jolyn has designed a new surf collection with way more functional fits for surfing. I haven’t tested any of their suits personally but the Christina bottom, Aster top, the Koa bottom, and Carmen top look functional and stylish for surfing.
Thick, sturdy fabric that won’t rip characterizes Jolyn suits however, back when I tested out Jolyn suits, I found the material to be a bit scratchy and uncomfortable. Frankly, that was many years ago and I can’t say that’s still the case and I’ll be looking to test out Jolyn’s new surf designs to find out if that has changed.
Shop Jolyn bikinis now
Related: 5 Ways to Rapidly Improve Your Surfing
Women’s Surf Suits
Bikinis aren’t your only choice for looking cute while surfing. In this day and age, designers are getting extremely creative with their swimwear designs and surf suits are all the rage for surfer girls now.
Surf suits are great for protecting you from the sun and preventing rashes.
While we do cover the best women’s spring suits in our blog, Best Womens Wetsuits, here’s a quick roundup of the best surf suits that are purely built for style, comfort, and sun protection, NOT warmth.
- Lovina Long Sleeve Surf Suit
- Seea Swimwear Hermosa Surf Suit
- Patagonia Swell Seeker Long Sleeve
- Maaji One Piece Surf Suit
Womens Surf Board Shorts
There are times when the swell is rolling in and no mount of bum coverage can stay put for gnarly wipeouts. For times like these it’s nice to have the security of boarshorts.
Here are our top picks for board shorts among these bikini brands we love:
- Hurley Womens Phantom Stretch 2.5″
- Carve Designs Bali Shorts
- Carve Designs Lorenzo Shorts
- Patagonia Womens Wavefarer Board Shorts
Womens Surf Changing Robes
Whether you surf at dawn patrol on your way to work or like to go out for coffee after a morning in the sea, chances are, if you live near the beach, surfing is a natural part of your day-to-day life. As much as I wish it could be a bikini day all day, usually I’m headed from the beach to work at a coffee shop or climbing gym so I like to have an easy setup in my car to head to the next activity. That’s why I highly recommend complimenting these top womens surfing bikinis with a surfer changing robe.
In our opinion, Vivida has the best changing robes for surfers. Vivida’s changing robes are wind and water-proof on the outside and are sherpa fleece lined on the inside, keeping you warm and cozy after soaking in the saltwater. There are so many features I love about Vivida changing robes! Some of my favorites are the spacious fit & dual zipper for easy outfit change, the various pockets on the outside and inside to hold things and keep your hands warm, and the pack-away bag that functions as both a stuff pack for the robe or a bag to carry your bikini after surfing.
Both of Vivida’s robe styles come in three radical, earthy tones and the Sherpa features an inspiring quote on the back, I never want to take my robe off even after my surf session.
If you’re going to be surfing under a tropical sun then these sherpa robes may (or, may not) be too warm for you liking. Fortunately, Vivida also has some stylish, minimalist poncho changing robes that are great for warm weather surfing and changing.
There’s really not enough words for me to say how much I love our Vivida changing robes!
- To shop minimalist, warm-weather changing robes, click here
- Click here to shop the Vivida All Weather Sherpa Changing Robe
- Or for even greater warmth & insulation, shop the Vivida All Weather Puffer Changing Robe
Did we miss your favorite bikini? This is an ever-growing list of best surf bikinis so if you know of one that you think we should test out, let us know in the comments or reach out to us on Instagram!
- Best Womens Wetsuits for Surfing
- Ultimate Backpacking Pack List
- Gear Review: Lems Trailhead Shoes
- Minimalist Hawaii Pack List
- Get in Shape for Your Next Surf Trip with this Workout