Suit Yourself

Photo by Tim Tadder
Ever since Micheline Bernardini strutted down a Paris fashion runway wearing the world's first bikini in 1946, itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie two pieces have been a staple for beach lovers everywhere. But for women ill content to merely sunbathe, finding swimwear that's both flattering and functional can feel like trying to scale Everest in flip-flops. But at last, water women have had their say, and swimwear designers have created suits that stay in place during rough-and-tumble water sports--and look great, too.

SWIM

TYR Crossback One-piece, $64, and Latex Swim Cap, $3
TYR puts a little fun into the traditionally functional suit for serious swimmers. Piping details and contrast-colored straps liven up this athletic one-piece. Skinny, adjustable crisscross straps allow maximum arm and shoulder movement in an open-back design. Pair with the TYR Nest Pro Goggle ($20). Anti-fogging, wide, peripheral lenses help you see clearly and block UV rays. tyr.com

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Carve Bali Top, $35, and Tamarindo Bottom, $35
Lunging, jumping, slamming--beach volleyball demands dependable coverage. A gathered center and feminine colors disguise the sports-bra support of the Bali top. Full front coverage, straps that stay securely on your shoulders and an adjustable back closure ensure your top stays where it belongs. A belted hipster bottom with wide side seams means no flesh emerges from behind when you're diving for the save. carvedesigns.com

BODY BOARD

Athleta Mix Match Tow-In Top, $39, Mix Match Low Tide Bottom, $36Tow In Top
Do you spend as much time riding the waves as watching them from the beach? Here's your quiver-of-one swimsuit. The Tow-In Top is supportive and stable enough to be tossed amid the ocean's wrath, in a minimalist silhouette with sleek straps. The full-coverage Low Tide Bottom comes with removable side ties to change the style on the fly. athleta.com

Morey Vapor 42" Body Board
Slick bottomed with a standard crescent tail and channel bottom for control and maneuverability, this body board makes it easy to catch waves and learn tricks. moreybodyboards.com

SURF

Patagonia W's Obi Bidart Tank Top, $50, and W's Obi Paries Botom, $36
Part of surfing is wiping out, but you shouldn't have to worry about whether your suit will surface with you. Full-coverage hipsters and a cross-back tank stay put no matter how much you get tossed and tumbled in the whitewater. Plus, the strappy tank prevents belly rash. patagonia.com

Surf Diva's 9' Surfboard, $795
You'll glide right into waves on this light and slim longboard. The performance design means you can carve the wave with ferocity and finesse. surfdiva.com
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