Hit the Waves: Performance Swimwear for Surfers and Water Sports Enthusiasts

Author: Sophia Purnell

Did you know that swimming is an incredible cross-training activity for surfing? It helps improve your endurance, paddle strength, and can even boost your mood. 

However, you’ll need the right kind of swimwear to handle the challenge, whether you’re diving into a lap pool or conquering the open ocean. 

Performance swimwear, designed to reduce drag force in the water and enhance swimming efficiency, is an excellent option for speed training, leisurely laps, or even surfing. It makes swimming a more enjoyable experience, allowing you to reach your full potential in the water without overexerting yourself.


  1. Types of Performance Swimwear
  2. Swimsuits vs. Surfing Suits
  3. How to Find the Best Swimwear?
  4. Get the Most Out of Your Water Sports

Types of Performance Swimwear

Performance swimwear comes in two main types: competition suits and training suits. Competition suits have a snug fit and are not suitable for everyday wear. They're meant for competitive swimmers who want a speed advantage when they compete against other swimmers.

A training suit, also known as a practice suit, is more practical for recreational swimmers who wish to enhance their training. In addition to accommodating smooth stretching and pulling at any speed or stroke, they also provide compression and support the body's range of motion. They tend to create slightly more drag force in the water than competition suits, making them unsuitable for competitions where speed is the determining factor for victory.

When choosing a performance swimsuit, consider the level of competition or training you're aiming for and find the style and functionality that suit your needs.

Swimsuits vs. Surfing Suits

Swimsuits are primarily designed for recreational swimming and sunbathing, offering various styles, such as bikinis and one-piece suits. They're made of lightweight, quick-drying materials such as polyester, spandex and cotton, similar to poncho towels.

A surfing suit, otherwise known as a wetsuit, is designed specifically for water sports. They provide thermal insulation and protection against cold water and wind. The Neoprene material makes surfing suits thicker and more insulating, allowing the body to retain heat in cold water temperatures. The best surf swimsuit provides thermal insulation, buoyancy, and protection against the elements and potential board rash (all elements commonly faced by surfers).

How to Find the Best Swimwear?

When choosing the best swimwear for surfing or open-water swimming, consider three key features: fabric/material, stitching, and overall construction. Fabric choice depends on whether you prioritise durability or style. Polyester lasts longer, while lycra and spandex offer fashionable options but may lose shape quickly. Nylon is soft but less stretchy and is often combined with lycra to balance fit and longevity.

Double-stitching at the seams ensures a more secure fit, preventing billowing or sliding down. However, it's crucial to ensure the straps are not too tight around the neck and shoulders to avoid discomfort. The style aspects include leg line options for coverage and strap thickness for support.

You should consider reputable brands known for their high-quality products and commitment to sustainability. Vivida's swimwear line offers several performance swimwear options, in addition to eco-friendly and beach-friendly activewear like sustainable t-shirts.

Get the Most Out of Your Water Sports

Performance swimwear has been changing the game for surfers and water sports enthusiasts alike for many decades, with new advancements being made all the time. A wide selection of swimsuits are available today, providing excellent performance for all water-based activities. Knowing which features are most important to you and making the necessary tradeoffs is vital to choosing the perfect swimwear for your needs.

Purchase a Vivida changing robe in our store today to match your performance swimwear and elevate your water sports experience with added convenience and style.


Sophia Purnell is a writer for TIDAL Digital, covering a wide range of topics. She enjoys swimming year-round in the rivers, lakes, and reservoirs of Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, as well as taking regular breaks to visit family in the South-West and the Cornish coastal waters. When not in her swimwear, she also is a keen Yoga and Pilates enthusiast, with an interest in all things related to health and well-being.