The Surf Gear I Rely on from Women-Owned Companies
From comfortable wetsuits to bags that protect my board from dings
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As a longtime surfer, I’ve learned that having the appropriate gear can make all the difference out on the water. Whether it’s a too thin or too thick wetsuit, a bikini top that needs constant readjusting, or a hat that won’t stay put, finicky equipment can impact your performance. And in a male-dominant sport, it can be difficult to find gear designed specifically for women. But after years of researching and testing the best products in the business, I keep coming back to these women-designed pieces. Because when you’re in the lineup, all you should have to focus on is catching waves, and this gear helps me do that.
Kassia+Surf Psychedelic Full Suit ($400)
In a sea of black neoprene, it’s refreshing to wear a wetsuit that stands out. Designed by professional surfer Kassia Meador, the three-millimeter Psychedelic has everything you’d expect in a solid wetsuit (comfort, warmth, and flexibility), with funky, fun flair. It features infrared lining on the torso, taped and glued seams, two neck-flap enclosures, and smooth neoprene over the chest and back—a combination that, the brand claims, makes it ideal for water temperatures from 48 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While other suits take a while to break in, the Psychedelic was comfortable from the get-go and has proven to be a fun conversation starter in the lineup. In an effort 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)
On days when the surf is firing—or when I’m feeling more modest—it’s nice to have a reliable one-piece that I know will stay in place no matter how big the wave or wipeout. Reminiscent of beachwear from a different decade, the Lido features a high neckline, full-coverage bottom, and deep V-back, and it offers UPF 30+ protection. Made from Seea’s heavyweight C-Skin fabric, the suit is constructed from a blend of polyester and spandex yet feels like lightweight neoprene. The extra coverage and secure fit of this retro suit have made it my go-to option for long summer sessions on the water.
Carve Designs Saluda Tight ($62)
I normally prefer wearing either wetsuits or bikinis, but sometimes I want something in between. Cue Carve Designs’ Saluda tight. Made from a soft, lightweight combination of nylon and spandex, it offers UPF 50 protection for sunny days when I want a little extra shielding from the sun between sets. Also perfect for beach workouts or quick coverage after a chilly session, the Saluda has become a staple in my surf wardrobe.
Sensi Graves Claire Bikini Top ($58)
Professional kiteboarder and surfer Sensi Graves is in the business of making bikinis for women who rip, and the Claire top is a prime example of her work. Made from recycled ocean plastics and spandex, this fully lined top features a scoop neck, thick straps, a double cross back, and cut-out holes in the front that allow water to pass through. Whether I’m wearing it on its own or under a wetsuit, the snug fit and crisscross straps ensure it stays put without sacrificing style.
Atmosea Stardust Spring Suit ($240)
Based in Byron Bay, Australia, Atmosea is all about making unique, functional wetsuits for women surfers. While a full suit is ideal during the colder months, it’s nice to have an in-between option for the shoulder seasons. Atmosea hit the nail on the head with its one-millimeter spring suit. Standout features include a high neckline for added protection and warmth, an adjustable arm length (you can cut off the sleeves at your desired length at three different stitch points), back-zip entry, and a waist panel for a flattering silhouette. Since it’s thinner than traditional spring suits, it easily conformed to my body shape, allowing a snug fit while still offering plenty of flexibility. Designed by a company that’s centered around female empowerment, and with style points to boot, the Stardust is a winner.
Kaiola Surf Hat ($60)
When I’m not in the water, I’m big on hats. But when it comes to surfing, riding waves while trying to keep my hat in place always seemed like an excessive challenge—until I discovered Kaiola’s surf hat. Available in two sizes, it offers UPF 80 protection and has an adjustable chin strap. The body is made from 100 percent recycled nylon, and the front panel is 100 percent polyester. The fit is secure yet comfortable, and I appreciate the fact that the visor flips up, giving me better visibility when paddling. You can also tuck away the chin strap inside the hat, allowing for an easy transition from the lineup to land.
Sagebrush Board Bag ($130 and Up)
Aside from my car, my surfboards are my most prized possessions, so I do my best to keep them protected from the elements. Sagebrush’s bags have kept my boards (and me) happy. Designed in Southern California by freesurfer Anna Ehrgott, these bags are built to withstand dings and scratches and are eco-friendly: the body is made from vintage fabric, and the tip is made with used coffee-bean sacks from organic, fair-trade coffee roasters around the world. They come in a variety of styles and colors and are suitable for boards ranging from five feet six inches to ten feet. I get compliments on my bag on a regular basis, and unlike a board sock, these bags are sturdier and easier to slip on.