Eight Sustainable Women's Surfwear Options We Tested For Summer

As summer nears in the Northern Hemisphere and water temps start slowly rising, you might be looking forward to the day you officially hang up that restrictive piece of neoprene you've been stuffing yourself into all winter. You might already be on the hunt to replace

But as much as we love the feeling of shedding those stiff 4/3s and slipping into a freshly purchased bikini (or one piece), most swim and surfwear brands aren’t doing the planet any favors.

If you score a cheap swimsuit to surf in, it most likely comes at a cost to the environment. Cheap swimwear and clothing are byproducts of fast fashion, a major contributor to the ongoing climate crisis. According to the Center For Biological Diversity, the fashion industry is responsible for as much as 10 percent of global carbon emissions.

Our resident swimwear tester and author of this review, Rebecca Parsons<p>Courtney Britton</p>
Our resident swimwear tester and author of this review, Rebecca Parsons

Courtney Britton

Luckily, there are several swimwear brands that are focused on making functional surfwear with the planet in mind. As the demand for eco-friendly options continues to rise, more and more sustainable swimwear brands keep popping up.

We recently set out to find the best sustainable swimwear brands for women surfers, considering their manufacturing process and the assortment of products they offered. We surfed in multiple suits from each of the brands to make sure not only their ethics met our needs, but their performance as well. Here are eight of our favorite swimwear brands offering eco-friendlier options for women surfers to check out this summer.

<p>Courtesy of Seea/Mike Ito</p>

Courtesy of Seea/Mike Ito


Founded in 2012, Seea is a California based company that was founded by women, for women. From the mind of avid surfer Amanda Chinchelli, Seea was born to fill a need for stylish, surfable swimwear.

Seea’s focus is making suits that are feminine, comfortable, and fun to shred in. They blend retro-modern shapes with contemporary colors and prints to create stylish surf suits. One of Seea’s big claims is that they are an “eco-imperfect” brand.

All Seea’s factories are located within 100 miles of their California headquarters, allowing them to have a close-knit community with all of their pieces being created close to home. In a further effort to be eco-friendly, Seea uses Yulex for their wetsuits and incorporates deadstock fabrics into their clothing. Although most their swimwear isn’t currently made from recycled materials, it’s a transition they are avidly working on. In the meantime, Seea’s suits are crafted from durable materials that are built to last plenty of sessions, minimizing the number of suits that end up in landfills.

We tested out the Gaviotas Surf Suit and were blown away by the comfort and performance of the suit. The body of the suit is made from C-skin, a blend of 95% polyester and 5% spandex. The thicker material feels like 0.5 mm neoprene and adds a bit of warmth and compression while remaining comfortable and breathable. The sleeves are made from a blend of nylon and spandex, providing plenty of mobility for paddling and much appreciated sun protection.

Gaviotas Surf Suit: $172 

<p>Courtesy of Carve Designs</p>

Courtesy of Carve Designs

Carve Designs

While on a surf trip in San Pancho, Mexico, Jennifer Hinton and Thayer and Sylvester began chatting about the lack of swimwear on the market designed for active lifestyles. They set out to create swimwear and clothing for active surfers that looked, fit, and felt amazing, but that was gentle on the planet. In 2003, Carve Designs was born.

Because the founders love playing outside and in the ocean, sustainability was a big part of their ethos. Carve Designs proudly creates 95% of their line from recycled, upcycled, and sustainable materials. Most of their swimwear is made from recycled water bottles, utilizing a blend of recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and spandex.

We tested a few pieces from Carve Designs, but our favorite was their compression line. The line includes one-pieces and a variety of tops and bottom in various cuts and prints. We particularly liked the Drea Compression top paired with the Sanitas Compression bottoms as they allowed us to get some sun, but remained securely in place while surfing.

Drea Compression Top: $56

Sanita Compression Bottoms: $62

<p>Courtesy of September</p>

Courtesy of September


On a surf trip in Bali, New York City designer Erika Seiko Togashi noticed a lack of timeless and sustainable surf and swimwear in the industry. She wanted a sustainable suit that made her feel confident and feminine and, most importantly, stayed in place while surfing. So, she decided to create one herself. A year and a half later, she launched SEPTEMBER.

At SEPTEMBER, all their fabric is sourced from Italy through ethical manufacturing processes. Their suits utilize a combination of 78% ECONYL regenerated nylon and 22% elastane that comes from waste such as ghost fishing nets and carpet fluff. The yarns can be infinitely recycled, so the suits shouldn’t end up in a landfill at the end of its life (or a particularly swell-blessed summer).

Although SEPTEMBER offers a lot of great bikinis, we were drawn to the Sumatra Surf Suit. The long-sleeve surf suit felt buttery soft against the skin and the long sleeves, turtleneck, and thumb holes provide generous sun protection. Plus, the zip back makes it easy to take the suit off after a tiring session.

Sumatra Surf Suit: $252

<p>Courtesy of Abysse</p>

Courtesy of Abysse


Abysse is a female-owned swimwear brand that makes suits specifically for women. Founded by mother-daughter duo Hanalei and Raphaele Reponty, Abysse was born from a desire to align women with ideals of function and sustainable fashion.

Sustainability is at the forefront of Abysse’s mission. To be as eco-friendly as possible, Abysse is a small family business, they produce their suits locally in French Polynesia, they use sustainable materials in both packaging and production, and they support charities they believe in.

All the pieces in Abysse’s swim and activewear collection are made from 100% recycled fabric. They use recycled polyester that is certified by Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and their ribbed fabric is made from recycled nylon, also GRS certified. Additionally, Abysse is Oeko Tex certified, which ensures that no harmful substances are used in the fabric nor the garment production.

One of our favorite things about Abysse’s collection is how unique all the pieces are. Their Hawkins Boydsuit proved to be perfect for both surfing and working out, but our favorite piece was the Ama Long-Sleeve Surf Suit. The form-fitting suit was soft, comfortable, breathable, and stylish and offered both UV protection and security while surfing. The Ama was perfect to wear on its own or over a bikini.

Ama - Pacific Long Sleeve Surfsuit: $300

<p>Courtesy of Elation</p>

Courtesy of Elation


Elation is an Australia-based company that was inspired by the owner’s deep love for the ocean. Their focus is creating surf worthy swimsuits that honor both the people and the planet.

To be as sustainable as possible, all of Elation’s products are ethically sewn near their home in Sydney. Their fabrics contain recycled fibers that are rescued from post-consumer waste to be recreated into performance fabrics. The fabrics are digitally printed with OEKO-TEX certified dyes, which contain no harmful chemical. Digital printing is a greener printing process that results in bright colors while minimizing water usage and fabric waste. Orders are packed in recyclable or compostable packaging.

We tested a bikini and a one-piece from Elation and while both were great, the Mawi One Piece was our favorite. The fabric felt durable and was incredibly secure while surfing (and wiping out) on an overhead day. Plus, the material is comfortable, and the print is unique and eye-catching.

The Mawa One-Piece: $192

<p>Caleb Heikes</p>

Caleb Heikes


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of Patagonia. Founded in 1973 in Ventura, California by Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia is focused on making products sustainably while simultaneously treating their employees well and taking on corporate responsibility. As such, they are one of the most beloved and respected outdoor brands in the world.

Although Patagonia doesn’t exclusively make swimwear, we felt our list would be incomplete without them. All their swimsuits are Fair Trade Certified sewn and are made from a blend of recycled nylon and polyester. Using recycled polyester made from plastic bottles reduces their CO2 emissions by 60% when compared to virgin polyester fiber. Their suits are built to last, and should an issue arise, Patagonia will do everything in their power to fix the suit.

We were big fans of the Reversible Extended Break One-Piece Swimsuit. Regardless of the conditions we surfed in, the suit didn’t budge. The suit has a flattering fit, and the strappy detailing adds style points. Thanks to the reversible design, the Extended Break provides two suits in one, further reducing your footprint by minimizing the need to purchases additional suits.

Reversible Extended Break One-Piece Swimsuit: $149

<p>Courtesy of Vitamin A</p>

Courtesy of Vitamin A

Vitamin A

Designed and made near their headquarters in California, Vitamin A makes swim and beachwear, responsibly. Their swimsuits are crafted from plant-based, recycled materials such as EcoLux and EcoRib nylons, which uses approximately 77% less water than virgin nylon. All the materials are certified to meet the Oeko-Tex standard for safe and toxin free materials. A 1% For The Planet member, a portion of every sale is donated to organization that protect the ocean.

Through our testing, we found that Vitamin A’s swimsuits are a good option for smaller days, but most are better suited to lounging, swimming, or wearing under a wetsuit. We tried a couple bikinis but we found the Gemma Ruched One Piece was the most surf worthy suit.

Gemma One Piece: $185




Although Hurley isn’t exclusively a swimwear brand nor are all their products sustainably made, they do have an expanding sustainable swimwear line that is something to write home about. Founded in 1979, Hurley is no stranger to the surf industry and the quality construction of their swimwear is a testament to their experience in the industry.

On their website, Hurley notes all their eco-friendly swimwear with the word “sustainable” listed below each piece. Their sustainable swim collection is made from a blend of 84% recycled nylon and 16% spandex. Additionally, when you check out online you have the option to choose Sustainable Shipping Protection, which will offset 100% of the carbon emission associated with your order.

We tested a few pieces from the sustainable swim collection but were obsessed with the Smiley Check Scoop Front Bralette and the Smiley Check Reversible Scoop Bottoms. Both pieces feature a fun checked pattern with smiley faces throughout – an instant mood booster. The material feels secure and durable and doesn’t move around while surfing. We found both pieces were perfect to wear on their own or under a wetsuit.

Smiley Check Scoop Front Bralette: $50

Smiley Check Reversible Scoop Bottoms: $40

* * *

The Arena Media Brands, LLC and respective content providers to this website may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.