Cool Surf Brands You Need To Know In 2021

A changing of the guard.

Surfing is a sport synonymous with Australia but also has strong roots in North and South America, along with European countries such as Spain and Portugal. The popularity of surfing has required more and more clothing brands to release products that not just cater to surfers when in the water – such as wetsuits, boots and rash vests – but out the water too.

Suffice to say: surfing is a sport that requires you to act cool, as well as look it. Your tight muscle t-shirt and Louis Vuitton belt will have you standing out like a sore thumb at after-surf beers, as everyone will usually be wearing an oversized t-shirt and some board shorts or relaxed-fit jeans. Shoes are optional. Unfortunately, there’s little we can do to improve your lineup awareness. What we can do, is help you look the part, with these surf brands that prove performance is no longer an affront to surfer fashion.

After all, to get into that laidback mindset, there’s nothing like rocking a few on-trend (or carefully chosen retrograde) threads; something the coolest surf brands below are more than happy to provide.

From Outerknown to Vissla to RVCA to TCSS to Former, these are the only surf brands the insides of your thighs will ever need to know when it comes to surfer clothing.

How To Wear A Surf Clothing

It helps if you surf, but you really don’t need to! In fact, most surf branded clothes are bought by people who’ve never put feet to wax. So all you need to do to is to bin the snapback, throw the trucker cap in the trash and purchase a Mikey Wright style Akubra (if you’re not brave enough to go all out and rock the mullet).

Pair this with some naturally bleached hair, trashed jeans, an oversized scoop neck, sockless Vans, a stupidly comfy jacket, and you’ve got yourself a surfer. Bonus tips include: avoiding tacky accessories and talking about the weather like an overqualified meteorologist.

And never washing your board shorts.

You could also, if you’re so inclined, dress like a skater (a la Craig Anderson) with chinos, button-ups and crew-neck tees or like a nue-age golfer (a la Kelly Slater) if you like to come off as a sophisticated globetrotter with enough dinero not just to travel the world, but also to plant enough trees to counteract the carbon emissions in your wake.

Also worthy of note, for those who emigrated to Mexico 20 years ago and just got back ‘on-grid’, is that legacy brands like Billabong and Rip Curl, despite sponsoring some of the hottest surfers on tour (Griff Colapinto, Italo Ferreira, Gabe, etc.) have lost their sheen in the eyes of the younger audience (in some cases by a magnitude of 40%) creating space for up and comers like Former, Rhythm, Outerknown and TCSS to heat up the market.

Surf Apparel Brands FAQ

What is a surfer style?

It comes down to the basics – tees, shorts, flannel, chinos and worn-in denim – something that you can pull off with your eyes closed. A surfer style should be casual, comfortable and above all, cool.

How to select the right wetsuit thickness ?

Your wetsuit’s thickness should depend on your local water temperature. For very cold water, a 6/5/4 wetsuit (6mm on the torso, 5 mm on the arms and 4 mm on the legs) is best. 2/1 is very thin and offer mid protection from water and wind.

How to wear board shorts?

Find a pair of board shorts that is versatile in terms of style and functionality. If you plan to wear them casually, choose colors that are muted and not gaudy, nothing too baggy or too long.

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