As a longtime surfer, I’ve learned that the right equipment can make all the difference on the water. Whether it’s a wetsuit that’s too thin or too thick, a bikini top that needs constant readjustment, or a hat that doesn’t stay in place, picky gear can affect your performance. And in a male-dominated sport, it can be difficult to find gear specifically designed for women. But after years of researching and testing the best products in the industry, I keep coming back to these women-designed pieces. Because when you are in the line up all your focus should be on catching waves and this gear will help me with that.
Kassia + Surf Psychedelic Full Suit ($ 400)
(Photo: Courtesy Kassia + Surf)
In a sea of black neoprene, it’s refreshing to wear a wetsuit that attracts attention. The three-millimeter psychedelic was designed by professional surfer Kassia Meador and has everything you would expect from a solid wetsuit (comfort, warmth and flexibility) with a funky, fun flair. It features an infrared lining on the torso, taped and taped seams, two neck flap housings, and smooth neoprene over the chest and back – a combination that the brand claims makes it ideal for water temperatures of 48 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While other suits take a while to break in, the Psychedelic was comfy to begin with and has proven to be a fun conversation starter in the lineup. In order to keep the business as sustainable as possible, Kassia + Surf offers a recycling program that converts old suits into yoga mats.
Seea Lido One-Piece ($ 125)
(Photo: Courtesy Seea)
On days when the surf burns – or when I’m feeling more humble – it’s nice to have a dependable one-piece that I know will stay in place no matter how big the wave or the wipe. The Lido is reminiscent of beach clothes from another decade and has a high neckline, a full-surface floor and a deep V-back. It offers UPF 30+ protection. The suit is made from Seea’s heavy C-Skin material and is made from a mixture of polyester and elastane. However, it feels like lightweight neoprene. The extra coverage and secure fit of this retro suit made it my first choice for long summer sessions on the water.
Carve Designs Saluda Tight ($ 62)
(Photo: Courtesy Carve Designs)
I usually prefer to wear wetsuits or bikinis, but sometimes I want something in between. Cue Carve Designs’ Saluda eng. It’s made from a soft, lightweight combination of nylon and spandex and offers UPF 50 protection for sunny days when I want extra protection from the sun between sets. Also perfect for beach workouts or quick reporting after a cool session, the Saluda has become a staple of my surfing wardrobe.
Sensi Graves Claire bikini top ($ 58)
(Photo: Courtesy Sensi Graves Swim)
Professional kiteboarder and surfer Sensi Graves is in the business of making bikinis for women who tear, and the Claire top is a prime example of her work. Made from recycled ocean plastic and spandex, this fully lined top features a scoop neckline, thick straps, a double cross back and cut out holes in the front for water to flow through. Whether I wear it on its own or under a wetsuit, the tight fit and crossed straps ensure that it stays in place without sacrificing style.
Atmosea Stardust Spring Suit ($ 240)
(Photo: Courtesy Atmosea)
Atmosea, based in Byron Bay, Australia, is about creating unique, functional wetsuits for women surfers. While a full suit is ideal in the colder months, it’s nice to have an intermediate option for the shoulder season. Atmosea hit the nail on the head with its 1 millimeter feather suit. Standout features include a high neckline for extra protection and warmth, adjustable arm length (you can cut the sleeves to the length you want at three different stitch points), a zip at the back, and a waist area for a flattering silhouette. Because it is thinner than traditional spring suits, it adapts easily to my body shape, allows a comfortable fit and still offers a lot of flexibility. The Stardust was designed by a company focused on women empowerment, and with style points, it’s a winner.
Kaiola Surf Hat ($ 60)
(Photo: Courtesy Kaiola)
When I’m not in the water, I have big hats. But when it comes to surfing, it always seemed overly challenging to ride waves while I was trying to keep my hat in place – until I discovered Kaiola’s surf hat. Available in two sizes, it offers UPF 80 protection and an adjustable chin strap. The body is made from 100 percent recycled nylon and the front panel is made from 100 percent polyester. The fit is secure, yet comfortable, and I appreciate the fact that the visor flips up and gives me a better view while paddling. You can also tuck the chinstrap into the hat for an easy transition from standing up to landing.
Sagebrush Board Bag (from 130 USD)
(Photo: Courtesy Sagebrush)
Aside from my car, my surfboards are my most valuable possession, so I do my best to protect them from the elements. Sagebrush’s bags made my boards (and me) happy. Designed by freesurfer Anna Ehrgott in Southern California, these bags are engineered to withstand dents and scratches and are environmentally friendly: the body is made from vintage fabric and the top is made from used coffee bean sacks made from organic coffee from fair trade roasters around the world. They come in a variety of styles and colors and are suitable for boards from five feet six inches to ten feet. I regularly get compliments for my bag and, unlike a board sock, these bags are more sturdy and easier to put on.
SurfingWater sports equipment
Main Photo: Courtesy of Atmosea