Performance can look good.


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(Lululemon)

Lululemon Tidal Flow One-Piece 

Best For: Understated Elegance

The Tidal Flow is the Audrey Hepburn of sporty swimsuits. It’s classy yet playful—simple, clean lines with an overlapping stringy back are paired with a band of transparent mesh running across the torso. Think of it as a little black dress that does everything—from sunning to swimming—well.    

Price $118

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(Patagonia)

Patagonia Nanogrip Top and Nanogrip Side Tie Bottom 

Best For: Surfing

Bikinis this cute tend to fall off during your first wipeout. Not so the Nanogrip. With a sticky liner that clings like a gecko, this suit stayed on whether we were surfing or waterskiing. The adjustable crossback also helped keep things in place, though the fixed halter could have been a hair tighter.

Top

Price $59

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Bottom

Price $55

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(Helly Hansen)

Helly Hansen Inspire Top and Excite Bottom 

Best For: Lounging at the Pool

If Patagonia’s Nanogrip is a hard-charging athlete, the Inspire is its mojito-sipping, beach-cruising cousin. And that’s fine by us. The top offers just enough support, the bottom has a wide, love-handle-smoothing waist, and the seven color options pop. 

Top

Price $50

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Bottom

Price $50

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(Seea)

Seea Nosara Top and Bottom 

Best For: Going Hard in Style

Flattering and comfortable? The Nosara, by far our favorite swimsuit of the test, nails both. The racerback and drawstring add playful details that are fully functional in the water, keeping things secure and comfortable. When you’re done playing, the piece fits right in at the local pool party.

Top

Price $65

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Bottom

Price $50

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(Mi Ola)

Mi Ola Serena Zip Rash Guard 

Best For: Channeling Your Inner Mermaid

We could claim we like this top because it’s an effective sunblock and because the tough fabric and skintight cut protected us from scrapes while surfing. Both are true, but the real reason the Serena is on this page is for its fish-scale pattern and sexy swooping neckline. 

Price $120

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(Prana)

Prana Aleka Top and Kala Bottom 

Best For: Watersports

This is your companion for Baja surf trips. The top stayed surprisingly secure despite its low cut, with a snug halter-racerback combo, while the bottom felt good without any squeeze. Mix and match from a bunch of different color options.  

Price $49

Top

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Bottom

Price $49

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Fitness

The Best Stand-Up Paddleboards of 2016

Paddleboarding is flourishing. Though the initial sales boom has slowed, innovation continues. The newest boards are better made and more smartly tailored to specific pursuits like surfing, fishing, and whitewater adventures. Meanwhile, prices for many categories keep coming down, thanks to all the competition and increased efficiencies in production. Our picks highlight a variety of boards designed to excel at focused activities and a couple that are good at pretty much everything. Honestly, though, with all the new options out there, we’re finding it hard not to want a garageful.  (Boardworks) Boardworks Kraken 10'3"  Gear of the

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Fitness

The Best Water Shoes of 2016

Protect your piggies in the wet. (Inga Hendrickson) Sperry Shock Light Boat  Best for: Doing It All  With a slipper-like fit, the Shock Light happily squeezes into the bow of a whitewater boat, while the grippy, nonmarking sole won’t scuff the teak deck on your buddy’s yacht. The shock-cord lacing keeps it snug should you fall into the drink, and it dries in less than half an hour. Price $85Buy Now (Chaco) Chaco Z/Cloud  Best for: Raft Trips How to improve an iconic, river-guide-trusted sandal? Very carefully. Chaco’s upgrades on the new Z/Cloud are minimal and smart:

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Fitness

The Fly-Fishing Essentials of 2016

Cast away with these choice tools for the discerning angler. (Fishpond) Fishpond Nomad Mid-Length Net  With a carbon-fiberglass frame and a massive lunker-ready rubber basket, the Nomad almost makes landing the big ones easy.  Price $160Buy Now (Meow Meow Tweet) Meow Meow Tweet Herbal Bug Repellent  Bottled by a boutique skin-care company in New York’s Hudson Valley and made from organic lavender and apple cider vinegar, this elixir smells a helluva lot better than deet. Price $18Buy Now (Nautilus) Nautilus XM Reel   Nautilus builds reliable saltwater reels designed for catching fast, powerful

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Fitness

The Best Boats of 2016

For the most part, boat manufacturers are in a careful tinkering phase, making smart refinements to tried-and-true designs. Notably, the trend in shorter (sub-15 feet) touring boats has matured: many brands are now producing these more playful kayaks, which are a bit slower than their longer forebearers but also more versatile. Regardless of what type you’re after, try to test a few models in the water before making a purchase. And while online homework is helpful, it can’t replace talking through options with a knowledgeable specialty retailer. Finally, remember to ask yourself a couple less exciting questions before pulling out

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Fitness

The Women’s SUP Essentials of 2016

Get wet. Go long. Have fun. (Mi Ola) Mi Ola X Back Bikini Top and Cya Full Double-String Bottom  With a crossback design on top and grippy waistband elastic below, this bikini stays put even when you tumble on a wave.  Price $95 and $85Buy Now (Mountain Hardwear) Mountain Hardwear River Gorge Long-Sleeve Shirt  Stay out all day in this half-zip with UPF 50 protection. The quick-drying fabric is silky, not clingy, and a side pocket is big enough for cash, keys, and lip balm.  Price $50Buy Now (Bureo) Bureo Kayu Sunglasses  These shades

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