Finding a good surf suit is a challenge. It is Instagram scrolling, online purchases, a size chart guessing game, a few returns, and a hope that it will feel as good in the water as in the dressing room.
Here are my personal tips about what features for warm water surf suits have worked for me and what haven’t.
1. Make sure the seam is not directly under the arm
This is something that no one pays attention to until it is too late. Make sure that if you are buying a short sleeve or long sleeve surf suit, the interior arm seams are not under the armpit. Instead, look for suits that only have one seam on the outside of the arms, or two seams on the sides of the arms (not top and bottom). A seam directly under the arm will surly lead to a terrible rash when paddling. This rash will burn and once it starts, anytime you wear the suit, it will come back.
Look for Suits Created for Surfing
2. Make sure your bikini bottoms tie at the top
You know when you would dive into the pool as a kid and your bikini bottoms would slide to your knees? Well, imagine turtle rolling or duck diving and the same thing happening, except with three more waves coming towards you and no time to spare.
Surf bikini brands are starting to fix this problem by adding a string through the top of bikini bottoms so that you can tighten them and prevent slipping. Vey Apparel does an amazing job with this. Vey’s bikini bottoms include a string through the top which ties on one side, making them super secure.
Try New Styles
3. Try One Piece Suits
One piece suits have been making a huge comeback recently. These are great for surfing in warm water since they are secure and protect your stomach from board rash. My biggest piece of advice about these is to choose one piece suits that are made for surfing. Choose a surf brand that is made for actual surfing and functionality, not just one that is made for tanning. I am particularly a fan of cross back straps, since they don’t slip down your arms.
Consider the Environment
4. Look for soft, environmentally friendly materials
As surfers, we are especially close to the environment and the oceans. As individuals, the best thing we can do to protect the environment is to make good decisions, no matter how small, each day. So, when choosing a suit, consider purchasing a sustainable option. My favorite brand for this is Vey Apparel, because, not only are their suits made from recycled plastics, but there are also soft and comfortable.
Be Prepared for the Conditions
5. Have a variety of options
Traveling to warm water surf locations is the dream! But when packing for a trip, be sure to bring options for all different conditions (not just perfect temperatures). Water temperatures can vary, even in the tropics. For example, in the wet season in Indonesia, the water is super warm and I wear a bikini often. However, in the dry season, the water is colder and I usually need a 1 mm or 2 mm spring wetsuit. Better to bring an extra suit (including a full suit) than to be cold during your sessions. Once you get your favorite suit also be sure to keep it in good condition by keeping it out of the sun, rinsing with fresh water, and having it on a proper wetsuit hanger.
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