Surfing frees the mind, ignites the spirit, and connects us to the raw power of nature making us feel alive.
Serene lineups, clean rollers, and freshly waxed boards are a tonic for the soul.
Feeling free and unshackled is paramount to having a successful surf.
That’s why you need to be supported by the right surf bikini.
One that withstands the worst wipeouts,
Doesn’t dig in in the duck dive,
And powers you through your pop-up.
We’ve all been there, a beautiful set comes through and you begin your paddle stroke, then disaster strikes, and you feel your bikini slip out of place.
You’re now faced with a choice; ride the wave or save your dignity – what do you do?
Wouldn’t it be nicer to head out on the water knowing that this decision would be the last thing on your mind?
Bikinis can let surfers down in a magnitude of ways.
Bikini bottoms can slip to the side and risk exposing front bums, back bums and god knows what else. Another classic is the ultimate bikini wedgie – not a cool look.
Dodgy bikini tops are at risk of moving in unwanted directions or falling off completely, and don’t get us started on string bikinis…
The provocation of surfing is how dynamic you need to be on the board, how agile you can be when moving from one position to another, and how much power you can produce paddling through big sets.
Flimsy and non-technical swimwear can’t support these demands.
We’re going to deep dive into which high-performance bikinis you should be battling the surf in.
Table of Contents
Top 8 surf bikinis to buy in the UK
View on vividalifestyle.com
Vivida is a brand meant for the adventurers, the dreamers, the thinkers & the doers. Vivida is a community. A philosophy. A lifestyle. Sportswear built to improve your adventures, with eco and travel-friendly benefits. The Vivida Lifestyle exists to inspire & empower one another to unlock our full potential and live our best & healthiest lives doing what we love.
Style – Triangle top with stunning open, criss-cross back for the ultimate surf support and dead flattering, cheeky style bikini bottoms
Material – This eco-friendly high performance waterway piece is made from plastic bottles blended with high-quality spandex to aid shape retention and helps the bikini stay put, even when we put it through the toughest of conditions
Pros – The bikini top boasts a sexy surf style with real stay-put attributes
Cons – Might be tougher for bigger busts to surf in but try “Women of the Sea” Bikini as an alternative also from Vivida.
What we thought
We thought this was a real winner, it combined the skimpier bikini style whilst being totally wave-proof! The eye-popping colours are rare in surf bikinis and we got lots of compliments, especially on the open-back criss-cross style of the bikini top
Patagonia Nanogrip Bikini
View on patagonia.com
Patagonia is a brand that is well known for high-quality outdoor pursuits apparel and kit.
Style – Patagonia calls this bikini their Nano Grip lining which “moves with the body, soft to the touch and has outstanding grip when withstanding water.” It is designed as a pull-on top, with straps that rest away from the neck for ultimate comfort, it also has removable cups.
Material – 83% recycled nylon, 17% elastane, so it scores high on the eco front.
Pros – Survives the surf, doesn’t aggravate around the neckline and looks beautiful on the water
Cons – Sadly no bikini bottom to match
What we thought
We loved the sturdy back which was also stunning in design, with a choice of green floral or burnt umber tiger lily patterns. The scoop neck halter design at the front of the bikini was very flattering for all cup sizes and stayed put very nicely whilst surfing.
Finisterre Nuevya Bikini
Finisterre is a brand that cares about creating consciously built outerwear and accessories for outdoor sports like surfing. Finisterre has a scheme where they recycle their old stock and redesign it to deter wastage
Style – This zip-front racerback action-ready bikini top is built for movement. It comes in sizes 6-18. The colour is a classic navy blue, with lime green panels and a red/orange front zip. The design focuses on giving the shoulders total free movement and is a traditionally sporty style
Material – Made from 78% Recycled Polyamide, and 22% Elastane, so it scores high on sustainability too
Pros – Loved the front zip, very practical for waterside changing with post-surf tired arms
Cons – Only one range of colours
What we thought
We thought the design gave us old-school cool swimming vibes and found the front access very handy. The colours were bold and it stayed put whilst surfing with no risk of any boob revealing due to its high neck design.
Vivida Women of the Sea Bikini Rash Guard
View on vividalifestyle.com
Another high-end piece of water sports kit from the forward-thinking and dynamic Vivida Lifestyle
Style – Unbeatable style in terms of surf support. It’s high-waisted, long-sleeved, and high-necked!
Material – 80% Recycled Polyester 20% Elastane
Pros – Extra sun protection with the long sleeves, high-tech recycled material, unbeatable support and comfort, and stunning to the eye
Cons – Can be a little hot if you’re the type of paddleboarder who doesn’t fall in. So dive in!
What we thought
It does not get any better than this quick-drying bikini rash guard hybrid in terms of support. You are totally held together and supported with its high neck design with no possibility for a nip slip or anything untying. It’s so beautifully flattering, the colour looks divine with a tan, and the open peek-a-boo circular back is breathable for sport whilst adding that extra layer of sun protection
Hurley Mosaic Bikini
View on Surfdome
Rooted in beach culture, Hurley is a brand that has stood the test of time. They produce swimwear, wetsuits, and apparel that encourages customers to express themselves with bold patterns and dynamic styles
Style – This Hurley bikini top reminds us more of a sports bra. Boasting 6 anchor points for support, it is designed more like a long-line fitness bra, meaning the material sits lower on the chest. The bikini bottoms call themselves maximum compression and full coverage aiming to support you on the water
Material – 84% Nylon, 16% Spandex
Pros – Very comfortable fabric on the skin due to the spandex blend
Cons – Not suitable for a much larger bust, and scores low on the sustainability front
What we thought
The mosaic print has a feel of sunny cobbled streets and salty air which we loved, coupled with the V print cut out was a total win. It stayed put during the surf test, but may not be quite as good for a bigger bust as the vest top neckline acted a little like a push-up bra. We loved the bottoms, they stayed put through the sets and were highly flattering!
Ripcurl Wipeout Cheeky One Piece Swimsuit
View on ripcurl.com
Ripcurl is renowned for world-class wetsuit production and is a specialist in helping you find your neoprene dream. They have a massive selection of surf accessories and apparel
Style – This tie dye one piece is certainly a head turner, the open cross back and eye-catching light colours stick out on the water. One-piece costumes are more likely to be surf-proof as long as they fit your body shape properly. This one, in particular, would be considered light coverage/support due to the low scooping neckline and high leg design
Material – 85% Polyamide and 15% Elastane, so scores much lower on the sustainability front
Pros – It’s a one-piece! So no tummy wax chaff
Cons – Not ideal for surfing if you have a longer body in the middle
What we thought
We thought it was gorgeous and highly comfortable to wear as your stomach is protected by the board wax due to it being a one-piece. It suited the shorter-bodied* surfers best as the longer-bodied surfers noticed the wedgie effect happening and the downward pull from the low neckline. But the smaller-length-bodied surfers adored it!
*here we are referring to torso length
Billabong Summer High
View on billabong.co.uk
Wetsuits, board shorts, bikinis, towels, clothing, you name it. Billabong has done it. Founded in 1973 by Aussie board shaper Gordon Merchant, billabong is all about wave riding and surf culture
Style – Medium coverage V neck bralette style bikini top, the straps are adjustable with rings and sliders to personalise your unique fit helping with the quest to find the perfect fitting surf bikini
Material – Part of Billabongs Eco-Conscious range, using recycled Summer High fabric
Pros – Looks awesome on Instagram for beach days, and the bikini bottoms are high leg with a thicker waistband so they look great on long legs and stay on much better than the top in the surf
Cons – Not the best for full-on water sports due to lower coverage, but it looks cracking on!
What we thought
We LOVED the orange crush pop of colour and the eco-conscious design, but we didn’t feel the bikini top was quite up to the challenge of full-on sports days
Perfect Moment Houndstooth
View on perfectmoment.com
Perfect Moment create high end active gear. Inspired by retro styles, they combine luxury with performance to make surf and ski wear with only the best quality materials that also look great!
Style – Vintage style sports bra design with fully supportive back coverage and removable cups
Shell: 78% recycled polyamide, and 22% elastane
Lining: 81% polyester, and 19% spandex
Pros – This bikini has built-in sun and chlorine protection up to SPF 50+ due to its durable Italian fabric so that’s a real bonus for high elemental exposure
Cons – Higher price point
What we thought
We loved the forward-thinking dog-tooth design and vintage style. This bikini is certainly a high contender for staying put on the water due to its high-waisted bottoms and secure top.
What to look for in a surf bikini
Design & coverage
Every body shape is unique, and finding a flattering fit for swimwear is a task all by itself without throwing in the matter of it being stay-put-surf-proof.
Halter – A halter is a triangle or circle shape covering the bust that comes together around the neck leaving the back exposed.
Bandeau – Strapless style and designed for a smaller bust as they tend to slip as they are not held up by any straps.
String tie – A common bikini style, two triangles tied together with a bow around the neck and chest. Suitable for a range of sizes.
High Neck – Covers you entirely up to the collar bones and beyond to limit exposure of the cleavage and give ultimate support
Racer Back – A thicker style that goes right up over the shoulders and meets together at the back for an exposed back and a very supported front
High coverage styles
Tie Side – Two main pieces meeting together at the side and held together by tied bows, usually cover a substantial portion of the glutes
High Waisted – The pant goes up to the belly button and entirely covers the lower portion of the abdomen. They look especially flattering on long torsos and offer 360-degree coverage
Hipster – Thicker in width band hug the hips and sit mid-rise on the lower belly without losing shielding on the buttock
Low coverage styles
High Leg – High-cut bottoms accentuate the natural line of your legs, designed to make you look taller. Although this can mean a slightly cheekier coverage on the back.
Thong – G-string shape. The thong bikini leaves nothing up to the imagination and replicates the classic thong knicker style
Cheeky – Curved, cut-out design highlights and lifts the bottom to appear perkier
Telma Cester – Pro Wakeboarder @temlacester
For a serious surf bikini, combining comfort with surf performance, without compromising style is important to me. The more sustainable and unique, the better. As for the material, it should be a little more secure than a conventional bikini, but the most important thing is that it is comfortable to wear so we can focus on our sport! I personally love the essence and feel of the Vivida line.
Sustainable swimwear is becoming increasingly popular. The focus is being drawn to what we can give back to the ocean to protect it instead of using and abusing it.
Choosing sustainable materials is better for you and the planet.
Most swimwear is made from polyester and nylon which distributes microplastics into the water when we wash them, not only that, the material is being wasted in the first place during production, as a pose to swimwear being reclaimed from recycled materials and being less wasteful on the planets precious resources.
Thankfully there is a rise of new sustainable swimming material alternatives out there that can be utilised such as Econyl.
Econyl is a form of nylon that is made entirely from waste products, ie fishing nets, plastic buckets, etc, and is 100% recycled. It uses waste products to create nylon-like fibres as an alternative to nylon which causes damage to ecosystems. Econyl is used for sportswear as an eco-friendly alternative as it’s good for being tight-fitting, breathable, and stretchy. Econyl material is used by lots of eco-conscious swimwear brands to create high-quality products without costing the planet.
We have all seen it, swimwear made from cheap, low-quality materials. The edges of bikinis begin to fray and start to disintegrate in contact with chlorine or salt water. Cheap swimwear also becomes “sticky” and almost tar-like when the glue adhesive gets hot, the colour can fade too quickly and they no longer look as good, and the material can easily go baggy and loose even after only a few wears.
Not to mention the impact cheap materials are having on the planet.
Paula Villarroel – Pro Kiteboarder @kitegirlchile
For me, the important thing about a bikini is to be sporty and pretty at the same time. I just want to enjoy my sessions on the water without any worries.
We’d be lying if we said style didn’t matter.
Function before fashion, always.
But, that being said it doesn’t hurt to feel confident and amazing in a beautiful bikini.
Choosing bright, bold, and evocative colours that pop in the water, so you can be spotted by your surf buddies and make sure you’re the first on every wave is an instant win. Try turquoise to match the glint of the ocean, radiant yellow hues to mirror the sun, or go bold in black. Pick a colour that brings out your personality and let it shine.
There are many styles to choose from boho style, sporty style, vintage style, surf style, cosmopolitan style – take your pick. Choose a style that feels most flattering on you.
How should your surf bikini fit you?
A good fit for a bikini you’re going to use for fitness like surfing would stay in place at all times on the water.
By that we mean, the bikini top is not at risk of untying around the neck or chest and coming off completely or is at risk of slipping to the slide and your bust not being covered when you’re in the water.
Bikini tops should fit you around the chest securely but not too tight otherwise you risk having it dig in with can be uncomfortable when laying on the board during the paddle.
If you are on the fuller bust side, string bikinis and bandeau styles may not be the best choice for your body as they are less supportive and may move about on the water, especially if you’re ripping it hard on the waves. Opting for a racer-back style or high-neck bikini would ensure you were safely supported whilst you are riding the waves and paddling through sets.
If you are smaller up top a string bikini will easily survive the paddle out and the pop-up, just make sure the ties are double knotted before you paddle out.
Another pro tip is to make sure the bikini top doesn’t chafe under the armpits, as this is a recipe for disaster if mixed with other ingredients like salt water, sunburn, sweat, and sun cream. Give it a dry run when you’re trying it on and practice the motion of paddling to determine whether or not it digs in under the arms. You don’t want anything in the way of your focus.
Bikini bottoms should fit you around the bottom and hips tightly without digging in. You want to be able to move your hips and legs freely to straddle the board when sitting on it, but make sure they do not slip down when you are duck diving. You want the bikini pants to hold you in place when you are riding the wave too, meaning that they won’t manoeuvre too much when you’re pumping the water with your legs.
Practise popping up, and doing a few squats in the changing room to see if you notice any unwanted movement there is nothing worse than nailing the take-off of a wave and feeling the material slipping up your bum and giving you a chronic wedgie when you’re surfing.
Thinking of wearing a thong bikini that fits your body type super well, and does not move around too much and you feel confident? Go for it!
Feeling nervous about simply going out in bikini bottoms?
Try some wetsuit booty shorts. These are 10/10 neoprene protection, and make heading out on the water in smaller swimwear less of a stress. They are simply shorts made from neoprene and give you a couple of centimetres more protection. They also come in gorgeous floral patterns and would match beautifully if paired with any bikini top.
Feeling confident in what you’re wearing on the water is the most important part of choosing your swimwear, if you are spending precious energy worrying about your bikini falling off, get a new one! Save those delicious meditative alpha brainwaves for the surf and set off in one of the stay-put beauties we will compare below.
If you think you need more warmth, read our review about the best women’s wetsuits available in the UK
How much should you spend on a bikini for surfing?
Ideally, you want the bikini you buy to be multi-purpose so you can use it for swimming, paddle boarding, waterside yoga, kitesurfing, surfing, windsurfing, and chilling.
The cost should represent the amount you’re going to wear the bikini.
Are you off on a surf trip? No brainer!
Spend all day and night dreaming about the surf? No-brainer!
Spend all your time outside on the water? No-brainer!
Wish you could be spending all your time outside and on the water? Again, a no-brainer!
Bikinis made from cheap materials will not be high performance, are more likely to disintegrate and not be fit for purpose over time, and won’t be made from sustainable materials and will end up joining all the other low-quality swimwear in a landfill.
Invest your money in something that will stand the test of time.
On average high quality, bikinis range from £20-£100. Pick a price within that range and see what you like for that cost.
About the author
Indie is the keenest watersports and fitness coach you'll ever meet. Whether it's windsurfing, paddleboarding or surfing, if there is any kind of wind or swell you'll find Indie charging on the water. She runs her own fitness and watersports instructor business called trainwithindie.com.