Gone are the summer days wherein we rely only on rash guards and expect awkward tan lines. With today’s wider selection of bikini brands, this provides us more options to look and feel our best when we’re simply out on the beach or catching a good set of waves.
La Union, one of the Philippines’ surf spots, is where you can find a full range of surfers, from novices to pros, as well as students and long-time coaches. So, in the heat of the upcoming south swell season, we caught up with these women of surf town who shared their best picks on what to wear when they’re out getting some water time. And hey, getting wiped out!
This was a piece of cake for Clean Beach’s Camille Pilar. Off the top of her head, she picks the eco-minded and Siargao-based Kudo Surf. She explains that, “Kudo Surf bikinis and surf suits are designed by fellow female surfers and they've tested the designs in the roughest surf conditions. They also make their bikinis and suits using Econyl, which is a type of regenerated nylon. My favorite suits are the Delilah and the Borneo. They also have men's board shorts made from recycled PET bottles.”
“This is the first brand that I saw that fits every type of shape,” says Alex Tomacruz, who swears by her Seea suits. She claims that “the material instantly sticks to you in the water” and that she “always feel beautiful when I’m in a Seea suit. I swear, you’ll feel like you’re a better surfer when you’re in one.” But it’s more than just being at her best physically. Alex supports the California-based company because of their environmental consciousness and sustainability, as well as their mindful choice of gathering “real girls” who surf, the Seeababes Ambassadors.
The Yellow Submarine (#theyellowsubmarineðŸ«) teacher Eileen Banal is sometimes half-mermaid, too–clothed in the elasticity of Volcom suits and bikinis. “Tried and tested, they stay put during wipe outs, and I generally don’t have to worry about anything peeking out,” she says. “Plus, they last a relatively long time. Recently though, I bought a suit on sale from Uniqlo, and while they don’t really have much options, I’ve been pleasantly surprised about its fit and quality.” Something we can learn from teacher Eileen is that, sometimes, simple yet functional is all you need to really be in style.
Cara Lim of Diwata Swimwear and Tigre Y Oliva knows more than a thing or two when it comes to stylish and versatile bikinis. With an active lifestyle, her current personal go-to swimwear brand for surfing is Boys and Arrows, because of its body inclusivity and material. She says, “coverage isn’t an issue and the fabric is cotton nylon spandex, so when you get wet, it sticks to your skin no matter the style.” Not only this, Boys and Arrows offers cuts and patterns available in different prints and colors.
This swimwear brand specializes in custom pieces, true to your size and at the same time, your style of choice. What Nicola Sebastian loves about Lourdes Swim is their shimmery material in colors ranging from nudes to brights. She also shares, “Chari, the owner, believes in slow fashion: the suits are made-to-order, so you can choose your color combinations and adjust the style to your liking, say, you want to make a cheeky cut less cheeky. She also will tell you which cuts are the most surf-safe, and so far mine have gotten me through all day surf sessions with no slips!”
Her personal recommendation? The Angela or the Dreamlover for the top, and the low-riding drawstring bottom for that cheeky and secure fit which, she believes is “not always easy to achieve.”
Medz Alvarez makes sure she has a variety of gear to mix and match from for when the waves are either big or small. “I like Roxy and Ripcurl because they’re made to be surf proof,” she explains. “If I’m on a budget, I opt to check H&M too when it’s on sale. There, I get to score good bikinis which I use only for small waves.” But brands aside, she believes that any will do “as long as it’s not a string bikini.” At every chance she gets, though, she’ll grab a crisscross top for its security and style.
Writer and mother-of-one Aussy Aportadera is all about being safe and secure in the water. But admittedly, she leans towards beachwear and surf accessories that are fashionable at the same time. In Aguariva, she finds the balance. She loves the brand’s pieces because they’re “flattering on the curves but has good coverage. The straps are thicker–not flimsy, and they can actually keep everything in place!”
Well, I’m not actually nearly as “good” at surfing as the rest of the girls on this list, but as a newbie who’s just getting into surfing as a hobby, I personally go for pieces that I’m comfortable in. I believe in less is more, so that I can move freely. And, as a girl with a petite frame, I try to hit all birds with one stone and use clothing that don’t overwhelm my petite frame, but rather, accentuate my curves. In cheeky cuts and flattering tops that fit my shape, my favorite swimwear purchase yet is Diwata Swimwear’s Maricaban in Nude from the latest collection. It’s snug, light, and user-friendly for an early morning surf-and-tan session that lasts for hours.