Sports Minded: Functional 2-Piece Swimsuits

Monday, July 09, 2007

It’s no secret the 2-piece swimsuit has had the corner on the style market for ages, but is it possible to find a 2-piece that is both fashionable AND functional? Having spent most of last weekend in San Onofre rolling around in the wave wash, desperately trying to keep the various parts of my string bikini in place so as not to scandalize the entire waterfront, I have my doubts. I think pretty much everyone can agree that the best test of a swimsuit’s functionality is the ocean: if it can survive the pummeling delivered by 7 foot sets, it will survive laps in a pool. So for guidance on the functional 2-piece we turn to the women who live and die by their performance in the ocean: surfer chicks.

Interestingly, the trend in the surf world is for the girls to stand up in boardshorts, so perhaps us non-surfers are not the only ones who have troubles keeping the suit in place. That being said, it seems that there are some rather standard choices among the women in the waves when they’re not in wet-suits/ boardshorts/ rashguard. Namely, fixed halter style tops and bottoms without ties seem to be chosen more often than the other kinds of bikinis out there. Really, this makes sense if you think about it. For this article, I considered Roxy, Billabong, Ripcurl, O’Neill, Volcom, and Rusty-- six major brands in the surfing world.

Volcom is notorious for being the edgiest of the edgy and thus frequently crossing the line from stylish into scary... sooo, moving on. O’Neill has by far the smallest women’s collection-- this year’s line includes all of five bikinis. Hard to get excited about choice here, but my favorite is "Island Girl."

O'Neill - Islans Girl Banded Triangle Bra (Coral/Scout) - Apparel
O'Neill "Island Girl" Triangle Top

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Available at:

O'Neill - Island Girl Ring Bottom (Coral/Scout) - Apparel
O'Neill "Island Girl" Ring Bottom

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Available at:

Australia's Ripcurl has been around since the late '60s and has one of the most extensive collections. The "E-Sunset" is a cute blend of fixed triangle top and hipster bottom that should give you the functionality we are looking for without forcing you to go with the halter.

Rip Curl 'E-Sunset' Bikini
Rip Curl "E-Sunset" Bikini

699 SEK ($103.89)
Available at:

Rusty had probably the cutest overall collection. I couldn’t decide between the "Ivory Coast" or the "Playa del Oro" so you get both.

Rusty 'Ivory Coast' Swimsuit
Rusty "Ivory Coast" Swimsuit

Available at:

Rusty 'Playa del Oro' Bikini
Rusty "Playa Del Oro" Bikini

Not Yet Available
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Finally: Roxy and Billabong. The big two. These are the giants of the extreme/ alternative sports industry, so it is perhaps not surprising that I found a kind of bikini here that I had never seen before. I actually think it would do the best in terms of staying put in beach break as well as providing top performance in the lap pool. A rather ingenious blend of style and sports attire basics, Roxy, in their mix and match system, calls it a "criss-cross halter" (available in a wide variety of colors and patterns; click through for examples); Billabong included it in this year’s summer collection as "Keala."

Billabong 'Keala' Bikini
Billabong "Keala" Bikini

$54.97 & up
Available at:

Click on any photo to link directly to where you can purchase that functional 2-piece swimsuit online. Don't miss any of the Sports Minded articles. Subscribe to Stiletto Jungle and get free updates by e-mail or RSS.

Hannah Foster is the Stiletto Jungle Sports & Fitness Editor. Hannah's current athletic pursuits include snowboarding, motocross, yoga, and avoiding the high school guys in the gym. She's played soccer, volleyball, and football competitively, loves swimming, hates running, and is certain being Captain of a 30 girl cheerleading squad gave her grey hair. Her degree is in biology/genetics.

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