Not all bikinis are created equal. Any girl who has ever surfed in one will vouch for that. When you wipeout and you’re about to take the rest of the set on your head, the last thing you want to think about is pulling your top back on and your bottoms up. The pros might be able to surf in a bandeau top and tie side bottoms, but I am definitely not a pro, and I routinely suffer the embarrassment of frantically paddling back out with bum cheeks on full display, only to sit up and realise the horror that one of the girls has also escaped.
With a surf industry that seems so focused on the sexy image of surfer girls, it feels like many brands prioritise aesthetics over functionality. Fortunately though, a new breed of company is emerging, and they are creating surf wear for women that is as functional and fit for purpose, as it is good looking.
Leading the charge is OY Surf Apparel. You will not be surprised to learn that this company is the brainchild of two women who actually surf, and therefore understand what goes into making surf clothing that works, rather than just looks pretty. Founded by Regula Aebi and Zelia Zadra, OY has been distributing worldwide since 2013.
For this review, I tested the Milli top €45 ($53) and Sumba bottoms €45 ($53), both in Hot Coral.
The bikini arrived well packaged and came in a cute little drawstring bag bearing the OY logo. As soon as I took it out of the bag it felt special. The coral colour is gorgeous and the material feels high quality. The bikini is double lined and is made of a thick, sturdy lycra which OY claim ‘even under a heavy load of salt water, retains its shape’.
I used the size guide on the OY Surf Apparel website to determine the right size for me and it was spot on. I chose a small top and medium bottoms to fit my 34 A/B top and UK size 12 bottom and the bikini fit perfectly.
I don’t have much to shout about in the chest department and usually avoid athletic style tops as they squash me down and make me look like a boy. With the Milli top, the opposite was actually true, I had cleavage! The straps offer a great deal of adjustability and are a fraction wider than many bikinis, making them comfortable. I also liked that the bikini ties up on the back not the neck, so you don’t get pain from the straps digging in, like halter style tops can do.
The bottoms were similarly flattering. I was concerned that being close fitting and having fixed sides, they might accentuate any lumps and bumps on my hips and bum, but they looked great and the drawstring allows you to adjust the fit exactly as you want it. The Sumba bottoms are regular cut offering medium coverage, which I found was fine combined with the flattering fit.
Although the bikini is deliberately designed to be close fitting, it felt very comfortable to wear.
Testing in the Water
Looking great is one thing, but the real test for a surf bikini is how well it performs in the water. Now, I should point out that as a surfer, I am still very much a work in progress. Spectacular wipeouts and generally getting battered is a normal day at the office for me, so it is fair to say that I put this bikini through its paces!
In short, it was brilliant. The biggest compliment I can give it, is that I hardly knew I was wearing it. I wasn’t constantly fiddling with it or rearranging it and even big wipeouts were no problem. On one of the days I wore it, the waves were so strong that my GoPro, which was mounted on the nose of my board, got torn off, but my bikini stayed exactly where it was meant to be.
The open, fixed-cross back gives you great freedom of movement in the shoulders and would also make it a suitable bikini for swimming in.
There is no doubting that OY Surf Apparel is a premium brand. At €90 for the set, the price point is comparable to the likes of Roxy, Billabong and Ripcurl. It is of course possible to find cheaper bikinis, but what you gain in price, you lose in quality and functionality.
The OY website is beautifully designed and very easy to navigate. Each product has several photos and clear descriptions and I especially like the fact that OY states whether each item is suitable for surfing. The ordering and checkout process was straight forward and my bikini arrived by DHL within the week.
Would I Recommend an OY Surf Apparel Bikini?
Absolutely. OY Surf Apparel have achieved the holy grail of designing bikinis that not only look amazing, but can stand up to anything you throw at them in the water. I just wish I had more!
Do you have a favourite surf bikini?
What is your go-to brand for surf wear? Let us know in the comments, and if you found this review helpful, please share it using the social buttons below 🙂
Happy surfing! X
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