A Guide to your perfect Surf Bikini

The Bikini is older than you might think – old mosaics from around 400 A.D. show women doing sports in bikini-style clothing. At the beginning of women’s emancipation, there was an on-off between favoring and tabooing that kind of garment, and since it became accepted in most places, it became the most popular beachwear item. (Photo: Josea Surfwear)

Ancient roman mosaic in antique Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily

Still, the functionality was lacking – it wasn’t surfwear yet! Most bikinis often were merely small pieces of cloth, hardly covering anything, and made for sunbathing or hanging out next to the pool, looking good.

But the times have changed again! Women do (water-)sports, and more and more get hooked on surfing, kiting, wakeboarding, etc. so it was time to get back to more functionality without lacking style and good looks, the surfwear was born.

(c) Lisa Veith

Of course, you can go surfing in your bandeau-bikini or the little triangle/string one. You might be looking great while paddling out – but if you are not at least semi-pro and totally in control of every move – the next wipeout will set your bikini free.

So why not feel safe and stylish at one time with a proper Surf Bikini and concentrate on your surfing only?

(c) Zealous Clothing


  • no wires, they will be very uncomfortable when you are lying on the board or when you are wearing a harness and/or vest.
  • crossed straps in the back or even a sports-bra shape. Straps around the neck might pull to hard on your neck and can be uncomfortable in your paddling position.
  • no extra dangling stuff or decoration (jewelry, buttons etc.) that can get uncomfortable
  • If you want to wear it underneath your wetsuit choose a bikini without knots



  • the taste is different: there is a variety from almost no butt-coverage to panty-style bikini bottoms. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with as long as it has a good overall fit.
  • for the sunnier sessions during the day, the surf leggings is a very advisable option for extra uv-protection – no burned calves for surfers, no burned thighs for kiters
  • Boardshorts – long or short – are a fine option too, as long as the waistband is nice and flat.

(c) Zealous Clothing


  • Onepiece with or without arms
    The good old bathing suit is a great choice, because they stick the most! We really love the style of a long sleeve surfing suit. If you have sensitive skin, the one-piece protects your belly skin against rashes from the board/wax or the kite harness. Long-sleeved, it is the perfect sun protector for your upper body.
  • lycra top/ rash vest
    Very advisable for the brighter time of the day, with extra uv-protection. The advantage of a cropped top is, that you don’t have to pull it back in place after wipeouts, but of course it doesn’t offer as much protection as the long rash top.

(c) Josea Surfwear

And the best thing is:
With a Surf Bikini Top and a pair of Surf Leggings, you also have the perfect outfit for Yoga, Running, SUPing or working out on a flat-sea or no-wind day.



Our picks of the best sustainable Surf Bikinis and Surfwear 2017 can be found here!





Surfdoc’s guide:

  • Be skin-wise: the perfect bikini session in tropical conditions is the morning and the evening session. In between, wear a long sleeve shirt or suit and leggings.
  • If you don’t want the imprint of your surfbiniki, the rule above is one point, the other is to have a „Beach-Bikini” you can sunbathe in (only advisable in the shadow, there is still enough UV, especially in the tropics).