In its early beginnings, surfing was just a form of spiritual practice and training for warriors in several cultures. Today, however, people of all ages ride waves just for the sheer love of it. This awesome sport began on the beaches of the South Pacific hundreds of years ago and today it has spread all over the world. You can spot surfers catching waves everywhere from California to South Africa to Ireland, and surf culture has influenced music, movies, and even fashion.
Surfers never actually set out to be fashion icons – as a matter of fact, comfort and function have always been in the core of their priorities. However, there’s something about that laid-back, beachy look that has inspired countless designers. It’s cool, it’s casual, and the best of it all – it never looks like you’re trying too hard. Let’s take a look at the coolest and most popular surf style clothing brands.
Founded in 1973, Billabong is Australia’s first-ever surfing apparel brand that made a huge success overseas, which was all possible thanks to the surfer and surfboard shaper Gordon Merchant and his partner Rena. Although surf style clothing wasn’t their initial focus, the brand soon started to manufacture various accessories – watches, skateboards, snowboards and even backpacks. The journey from making boardshorts at home to breaking through in the North American market was filled with company-sponsored contests and special events.
This is another surfwear brand founded in Australia except that it became an American retail sporting company which is now based in Huntington Beach, California. Quiksilver is known for its durable and high-performance surfwear hence why it is today’s largest manufacturer of surfwear and other boardsport-related equipment in the world.
Known as the ultimate surfing company, Ripcurl produces and distributes its products in more than 60 countries around the world and what was once the search of two friends back in 1969 has become every surfer’s mission to “live the search”. This brand has become a way of life for a big audience of committed surfers that have found meaning in the company’s innovative products, which only passionate enough boarders would come to understand.
Patagonia has been in the surfboard and clothing business for more than thirty years now – its roots weren’t near the wave riding sport but quite the opposite from it. Although alpinism is at the heart of this brand it hasn’t stopped the company from making surf, skiing, snowboarding, paddling, trail running, fly fishing and climbing clothing and equipment. The brand is also well aware of the by-product of most companies – pollution – which is why they are taking care of theirs by using recycled polyester and organic cotton in most of their clothing pieces.
With PM Tenore being the founder and president of this company, it sure has helped the brand transcend and combine fashion, art, and music together with modern lifestyle into timeless clothing designs. Consisting of a group of people from different sub-cultures, there was one thing that brought them together in order to make this brand a reality – to make apparel with a style within itself.
This is a surf clothing brand for people who believe in pushing the boundaries and always striving for more – which is also the company’s goal. Providing more sustainable products with the combination of function, style and of course sustainability, Outerknown has become one of the few brands that bring their customers on a transparent journey of improvement.
Critical Slide Society
This is a newborn Australian brand founded in 2009 by a couple of artists and surfers with the vision of an authentic label that celebrates the joy of the surf culture rather than the winner’s podium. The collaborations with filmmakers, artists, photographers and surfers across the globe have helped them won a Best Broadshort award for their unique and detail-oriented designs.
Probably the oldest brand in this lineup, Hurley, was founded back in 1952 by the young Jack O’Neill whose vision was producing both functional and innovative surfboards. Since then, Hurley has been a company that provides innovation in both style and technology and the result is the first stitchless board shorts and the first neoprene surf wetsuit. They’re known for their reputation of being one of the world’s leading youth lifestyle brands as well as being the first-ever surf brand.
- To dress in surf style clothing, your best bet is sticking with the basics and going with casual and comfortable pieces. Shorts, chinos, tees, flannels, flowy dresses and worn-in denim are all fundamental pieces that are easy to combine to achieve a laid-back style. Retro jeans, vintage printed tees, and free-spirit dresses are also part of the surfer style but they are not very popular with the leading brand names. You can definitely find them in your local vintage shop though.
- When making the switch from winter to spring surf clothes. it’s important that you have a brighter look and lighter clothes made of cotton, lightweight denim and lighter jackets combined with pastel hues and colourful prints. This is where you start layering t-shirts, hoodies, shirts, or board shorts if you feel like you can take the weather conditions.
- When going with lighter clothing on chilly days, make sure to add layers to your outfit at night to stay warm and comfortable. Casual clothing is what makes surf style unique, but don’t freeze yourself for the sake of fashion. Gear up with the basics for all weather conditions and you’ll be good to go.