What Are Surf Clothes? The Ultimate Guide to Dressing Like a Pro Surfer [2023]

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As surfers, we know that looking good and feeling comfortable in the water can make or break a surf session. That's why we're here to give you the ultimate guide to dressing like a pro surfer. In this article, we'll cover everything from surf shirts to boardshorts, and give expert advice on what to wear in different situations.

What Is Surf Clothing?

Surf clothing is apparel specifically designed for surfing. These clothes are designed to be comfortable and flexible in the water, and provide protection from the sun, wind, and elements. Surf clothing includes items like boardshorts, rashguards, wetsuits, and surf shirts.


Boardshorts are a must-have for any surfer. They are designed to be lightweight, quick-drying, and flexible, and provide freedom of movement in the water. Look for boardshorts with a comfortable waistband, functional pockets, and a drawstring closure to ensure they stay in place during your session.


Rashguards are long-sleeved shirts designed to protect your skin from irritation and sunburn in the water. They are made of materials that provide UV protection, and are designed to be quick-drying. Some rashguards also have built-in insulation for colder water.


Wetsuits are essential for surfing in colder water. They are made of neoprene, which provides insulation and flexibility. When buying a wetsuit, look for one that fits snugly but is still comfortable and flexible, with reinforced seams and a durable zipper.

Surf Shirts

Surf shirts are short-sleeved shirts made of lightweight, breathable materials that are quick-drying. They provide sun protection and are great for warmer water temperatures. Some surf shirts come with built-in UV protection, which is great for long sessions in the sun.

What Type of Clothing Do Surfers Wear?

Surfers wear a variety of clothing depending on the conditions and their personal preferences. Here are some examples of what surfers typically wear:

  • Boardshorts: Lightweight shorts designed for surfing
  • Rashguards: Protective shirts worn in the water
  • Wetsuits: Insulating suits worn in colder water
  • Surf shirts: Short-sleeved shirts for sun protection

What Do I Need to Wear to Surf?

When surfing, it's important to wear clothing that is comfortable, functional, and protective. Here are some essentials you need to wear when surfing:

  • Boardshorts or wetsuits: Depending on water temperature
  • Rashguards: For protection from the sun and irritation
  • Surf shirts: For sun protection and comfort

Why Do People Wear Surf Shirts?

Surf shirts are designed to be lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, making them perfect for a day in the water. They provide protection from the sun and help keep surfers cool in the heat.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Boardshorts should fit snugly but not be too tight
  • Look for boardshorts with a drawstring closure and functional pockets
  • Rashguards provide UV protection and help prevent irritation
  • Wetsuits are designed to be snug and provide insulation
  • Surf shirts provide sun protection and are great for warm water


What is the best fabric for surf clothing?

The best fabric for surf clothing is one that is lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying. Popular materials for surf clothing include polyester, spandex, and nylon.

Are there sustainable options for surf clothing?

Yes, there are companies that have started making surf clothing from sustainable materials. Some use recycled plastic bottles or organic cotton to reduce their environmental impact.

Can I wear regular clothes when surfing?

It's not recommended to wear regular clothes when surfing. Regular clothes can become heavy and uncomfortable when wet, and can also cause chafing and irritation.

Do I need to wear sunscreen even if I wear a rashguard?

Yes, it's important to wear sunscreen even if you wear a rashguard. Rashguards provide protection from UV rays, but cannot provide 100% protection.


Surf clothing is essential for any surfer, and can make a huge difference in your comfort and performance in the water. Boardshorts, rashguards, wetsuits, and surf shirts are all important pieces of clothing to have. When shopping for surf clothing, look for items that are comfortable, functional, and designed for the unique demands of surfing.

At Surf Brands™, we recommend checking out our selection of surf clothing from top brands like Rip Curl, Billabong, and Quiksilver for high-quality, stylish options. Stay comfortable and surf on!


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