To the uninformed outsider it may seem like surfer girls wear as little as possible. This is a fantasy propagated by the media and an elite crew of surfing superstars like Alana Blanchard, who have the skills and physiques to ride waves big and small without a care about clothing fails or fashion mishaps. In the real world, many girls resort to frumpy wetsuits and unflattering layers of protective beachwear, because a string bikini is just not the right dress code for a sport that will see you regularly thrown head over heels into the sand.

“The reality, however, is that functional surf apparel does not have to be either unrealistically skimpy or boringly functional”

The reality, however, is that functional surf apparel does not have to be either unrealistically skimpy or boringly functional. There is a middle road! Women’s surf fashion is meeting surf function and we’ve selected some gear that will both keep you surfing and looking your best. Goodbye bikini blowouts – hello warmth, performance, flexibility and funky design.

Surf Leggings

Legs get cold, sunburnt and stung by jellyfish. But sometimes a wetsuit is overkill, not to mention uncomfortable. There is another solution and these surf leggings are going to be a big hit in autumn and spring everywhere. If you’re planning a tropical vacation then the thin layer of neoprene will also protect you from sharp reefs, without boiling your thighs like a wetsuit would. The surf brands have also realised that a little colour goes a long way so you’ll find the ranges featuring classic colour matches as well as funky retro-inspired designs. Billabong’s Sea Legs (below) will take you back to the late eighties, featuring their vintage logos mish-mashed in a collage that will brighten up any day!

The Swimsuit

A one-piece swimsuit is no longer only for swimming class! A natural choice for women who are sick of losing their bikini tops (and perhaps bottoms), these numbers will keep your jiggly bits firmly locked away, so you can focus on what you came here to do, which is paddle out and catch a few waves!

The boys on the beach might despair as more of us return to the one-piece but the brands are keeping things interesting by incorporating fresh designs and slicing away some fabric, where it’s not needed (check out the sides below). Just remember to use plenty of sunscreen or you’ll get some funky tan lines.

We love the shark repellent blue and black design from Jets. Stay away sharky.

Rash vests

Taking you back…way back! These front zipper rash vests are what people wore when wetsuits were not yet flexible enough to pull over your head, nevermind climb in through the neck hole! But, like many things, they’ve come full circle and this year’s models have returned with sleek lines and comfortable zips. Why would you choose this over a conventional rash vest? Well you could open it up and surf barechested if you liked. But more than anything, it’s easier to get into and you won’t tear your hair out (literally) when pulling it on or off.

The bikini

How could we forget the bikini? Don’t settle for a bikini designed for summer dips in a tranquil ocean, when you’re going to be going hardcore at your local beach or reef break. These two numbers feature support, flexibility and fun designs. We love the blue zigzag design by Rusty, which effortlessly matches function with style. It’s a bikini that you know has been designed with surfing, rather than posing, in mind.

Think of them as sports bras that you wear in the sunshine!

Boardies

Highly recommended coverings for your lower torso! Boardies are great because they add one more layer of protection, both from the elements and from eyes, when bikini fails occur. That thin layer of nylon will give you an edge when real surfing is on your mind. Do you see the boys out there in speedos? We hope not! Take a leaf out of the functionality book and keep your vital bits safe in these boardshorts for girls, by Billabong.

No matter what time of year it is you can give yourself the best chance of surfing your best by being prepared. Preparation includes being mentally ready, being fit, having the right board for the conditions and being geared in clothes that will let you focus on surfing. This selection will help you do what you came to the beach to do, which is slide up and down some walls of wave energy.