High waist bottoms will make your legs look longer and are more flattering if you have a bigger bum. They also give the appearance of a flatter stomach for those times you are feeling a little self-conscious after eating too many burritos.
Over the past 13 years I have gained experience in designing and creating surf swimwear. In this time, I have received feedback from sea lovers with different surf skill levels and body shapes, and personally tested Dkoko products in all kinds of waves around the world.
The other day a friend of mine asked if I could create a guide on how to choose the best surf bikini. My friend’s seemingly random request made me realise this precious information is second nature to me and I have been taking it for granted. I hadn’t considered that there are women out there who are confused by the ocean of swimwear options.
So if you are one of these women, I am writing this for you, the ultimate guide on how to choose the best swimwear for surfing.
Let’s start at the beginning...
1. One Piece or bikini?
Why not both?!
Dkoko bikinis and one piece suits are all made for surfing so whatever you decide, we’ve got you covered.
I personally like them both, it all depends on how I’m feeling at the time. I like a small bikini for minimal tan lines and when I’m feeling sexy. If I want to be ultra-comfortable or am feeling more sporty, I choose a comfy one piece.
These days I’m more of an early morning or late afternoon surfer but if I do find myself in a midday surf session when the sun is at its hottest, I wear a full piece surf suit with long sleeves to protect my skin.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a top for surfing is your body type. The bigger the bust, the more support needed under the chest and in the straps. It is also important to have enough coverage to keep the girls in place so we can focus on our floaters.
If you have a smaller bust you can get away with any of our surf tops, including a smaller coverage triangle top. But if you’re on the bigger side like me (I measure 82 cm under bust and 95 cm around the bust), I recommend choosing a sports-inspired surf top so you’ll be able to enjoy the waves without worrying about wardrobe malfunctions.
All Dkoko surf tops have a wide and strong band under the bust. This gives support to the bust and stops the top from being pulled upwards when we duck dive or get worked by a big set.
First, choose a bottom for surfing that has a tie so they don’t come down with your first duck dive.
Nobody wants to lose their pants in the middle of a crowded lineup!
Second, think how much coverage you want. This is all about preference. What suits your body shape? How trendy do you want to look? How do you want to feel?
I like wearing skimpy bikini bottoms for short boarding as I’m sitting underwater from my waist down so nothing is exposed. Alternatively, while I’m waiting for a wave sitting on my mal, I’m floating above the surface with my legs wide open (as the board is way wider) I like having more coverage in the crotch area. The more discrete fit bottoms that I wear while longboarding are suitable for all water sports for ladies who prefer a bit more coverage at all times.
Thirdly, what kind of fit should I buy? Ask yourself if you want a low rise, mid rise, or high waisted fit.
In my personal opinion, high waisted bottoms are trendy and elegant but I don’t like the tan lines from wearing them too many days in a row. I like how my body looks with low rise bottoms (I have a very small bum) and mid rise sporty bottoms are more fun. I like wearing them after a surf if I’m playing on the beach with my son pushing him into waves.
Low rise bottoms are more flattering for those of us that have a smaller bum. They are also great for minimising tan lines.
Mid-rise bottoms are a great compromise for any body shape. If you have a sporty body shape, I recommend going for these.
4. One Piece suits
As I mentioned above, you can wear one piece suits for a different look, to feel super comfy or to protect your skin from the elements. At Dkoko we make sure our one piece suits are fun, elegant and flattering. They are all surf tested to make sure they stay on.
One of the key features of our one piece suits is the in-built bust support band, so you can wear them without a top underneath. They are also lined with super soft sustainable fabric so they feel amazing against our skin and you also don’t have to have to wear a pair of bottoms underneath.
Nobody should be subject to panty lines (or in this case bikini bottom lines) underneath their one piece swimwear!
Some Other considerations...
5. How big are the waves?
Choosing the right bikini also depends on the size and power of the waves we’ll be surfing.
For a fun small surf at our local point we might be ok with a small bikini top or a bottom with no adjustable strap. But if we’re surfing a big swell in that crowded spot that requires all our attention, the last thing we want to do is to worry if our bikini is staying in place. So don’t risk it, make sure you have swimwear designed for surfing.
6. What’s your skill level?
Sometimes we see pro surfers ripping in tiny little bikinis. Just because they wear them doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, especially if you’re new to surfing.
When we start learning unfortunately we spend more time wiping out than standing on the board. It is essential to make sure we are wearing proper swimwear that allows us to concentrate on the waves so we can learn quicker.
7. Sun protection
This depends on our skin and the time of the day we surf. If you’re tempted to paddle out into the line-up at noon, make sure you wear protective surfwear.
To make it easy, choose a one piece surf suit that will cover your chest, back and arms. For longer surf sessions choose an outfit with full protection like a rashguard paired with surf leggings to also protect the back of your legs. Wearing surf leggings also means you don’t have to put sunscreen on the back of your legs, which makes your board slippery.
If you are only worried about protecting your skin from the waist up, mix your favorite bottom with one of our rashies. We have rashguards with high necks to protect the delicate skin in this area that is often neglected. All Dkoko fabrics have UPF protection so they provide an extra barrier from the sun’s harmful rays.
8. Wind and rain
You might not normally think about this one, but I recommend wearing a long sleeve one piece suit or a rashie when it’s windy or raining. If you are anything like me I get cold easily, even in tropical places like Costa Rica.
As women, throughout our monthly cycles we have the power to feel in different and unique ways. Surfing allows us to express our inner feelings through being playful in the water, and we have the opportunity for our swimwear to reflect this.
While certain styles and cuts may accentuate or tone down certain body parts, it is up to you to decide the look you are going for on any given day. Experiment, mix colors, prints, fits and coverages, depending on how you feel. Choose your sexy bikini, your elegant one, your goddess suit, your powerful bikini, your sporty and comfy suit, and remember: surfing is about having fun.
I sincerely hope this guide has helped you navigate the ocean of swimwear opportunities.
What do you think about this guide? Share your comments and tips on how to choose the best surf