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ECONYL yellow surfsuit by Elle Evans.
22 Jan
ECONYL yellow surfsuit by Elle Evans.

The Ultimate Guide to More Sustainable and Ethical Surfwear

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Sourcing more ethical and sustainable surfwear to hit the waves in styles aligned with your morals and your needs can be tricky, so we’ve done the hard work for you and rated and rounded up the best brands for the job.

Inject more sustainability into your surfing

Picture this: it’s early morning, conditions are excellent, the ocean is glassy, the surf has been epic so far, you’re paddling to the line-up, ready to take your last wave of the day. Suddenly, you feel something brush against your hand. IS IT A SHARK? Nope, it’s “just” a plastic bottle. And another. And another. And another. You get the idea.

Plastic pollution, melting ice caps, overfishing, global warming, acidification—you name it. These issues have been all over the news in recent years. The main message? Our oceans are in danger.

Surfing is a sport closely linked to nature, and surfers worldwide have felt the effects consumption and pollution have on the ocean. Surfers’ concern for the environment is inherent and, although the industry is still not perfect, it has started using more ethical and sustainable materials. Many surfing organisations, like Plastic Soup Surfer and Surfrider Foundation, have also been spreading awareness.

However, despite some positive movements in the space, major surfwear brands are not keeping up with the times and are still guilty of harmful production practices. The likes of Billabong (“Not Good Enough”), Rip Curl (“Not Good Enough”), Volcom (“Not Good Enough”), Quiksilver (“We Avoid”), O’Neill (“Not Good Enough”), Roxy (“Not Good Enough”), RVCA (“Not Good Enough”), and Hurley (“We Avoid”) all score “Not Good Enough” or “Very Poor”—our two lowest scores—for the planet, with only Vans coming out with the middling score of “It’s a Start” for the planet and overall.

Thankfully,  these days there’s no need to rely on mainstream brands to get your gear. So if you’re a surfer who’s looking to protect our planet, then the first step might be to choose better, more environmentally-friendly surfwear. Side note: if you’re looking to purchase neoprene wetsuits specifically, you can find some from the brands Patagonia, Seea, and Finisterre as mentioned in this list. Let’s dive into our ultimate guide to more ethical and sustainable surfwear.

Loop Swim

Rated: Good
women wearing blue recycled plastic bottles rash shirt by Loop Swim

Oceania Sunseeker Rashie – Ships internationally from China

Loop Swim transforms post-consumer use plastic bottles into phenomenal REPREVE UP50+ sun protective swimwear for men, women, and kids. How fun is this rash shirt made from 14 plastic bottles? It even has thumbholes for major convenience points.

Find the rashies in XS-XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Loop Swim.


Rated: Good
Kelly Slater wearing blue Outerknown surf trunks.

Apex Trunks by Kelly Slater – Ships internationally from the US

Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a responsible surfwear brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. The brand is Bluesign certified and has partnered with the Fair Labour Association. A good pair of boardshorts is essential, and these recycled polyester ones are pro-surfer designed and approved.

Find them in sizes 28-38 at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Outerknown.

Shop Outerknown @ Wearwell.

Shop Outerknown @ Good.


Rated: Good

Surf Leggings in Pale Green – Ships internationally from Switzerland

Oy’s surf leggings are bold, versatile, and changing the game. Wear them to yoga class or out on the waves. Oy is a Swiss surf brand committed to the development of more sustainable, functional, and high-quality surf bikinis, yoga apparel, and activewear.

Find the leggings in 2XS-2XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Oy.

Salt Gypsy

Rated: Good
woman wearing black high waisted surf short by Salt Gypsy

Betty Bottoms – Ships internationally from Australia

Salt Gypsy is a responsible surfwear brand from Byron Bay—the spiritual home of Australia’s eco-conscious surfing community. The gorgeous, sun-smart designs are all made from 100% recycled nylon, helping to reduce plastic waste in our precious oceans. If you prefer a two-piece ensemble for your surfing, these redesigned high waist surf bottoms have got you covered from XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Salt Gypsy.


Rated: Good
An ECONYL white and grey surf short bikini by MYMARINI.

Surf Shorts Classics – Ships internationally from Germany

MYMARINI is a clothing brand that offers lower-impact swimwear and surfwear from Hamburg. Water is part of the brand’s DNA: through the choice of production partners and fibres, it makes sure to conserve as much water as possible. These white and grey surf shorts are made from ECONYL and fully reversible.

Sizes available are S-XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.



Rated: Good
Patagonia ethical wetsuit

Men’s R1 Yulex Fz Full Suit – Ships internationally from the US

Patagonia is THE industry leader for responsible outdoor wear. Its surfing gear collection is the bomb, from neoprene-free full suits to one-pieces and baggies, this brand has got you covered. Plus, it’s Bluesign certified and is a B Corporation. You in yet?

Find the suits in sizes XS-2XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Patagonia @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Patagonia Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Patagonia.


Rated: Good
A Yulex® rubber sleeveless short leg wetsuit in black by Finisterre.

Men’s Nieuwland 2e Yulex® Sleeveless Shorty Wetsuit – Ships internationally from the UK

Born from the needs of hardy British surfers, Finisterre designs functional and more sustainable products for those that share the love of the sea. Its swimwear and wetsuits are made from ECONYL or recycled plastic so you can help keep those bottles away from your precious waves, and this warm weather shorty wetsuit is even available to rent if you’d like to try before you commit to buy.

Find sizes XS-2XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Finisterre.


Rated: Good
A green and yellow recycled nylon surf suit by SEPTEMBER.

Sumatra Surf Suit – Ships internationally from Bali

Designed in New York City, SEPTEMBER creates more sustainable surfwear and swimwear founded on modernist design principles. Pieces, like the elegant Sumatra Surf Suit, are made using their signature luxury Italian recycled fabric made from pre and post-industrial waste such as ghost fishing nets and ECONYL.

Find the suit in sizes XS-2XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.



Rated: Good
A hot pink womenswear surf suit by Seea.

Harper Surf Suit – Ships internationally from the US

Seea is a US-based surfwear brand that celebrates waterwomen all over the globe. It uses renewable energy in its supply chain to reduce its climate impact, and incorporates lower-impact and recycled materials into its designs. Who said surfwear has to be bland? This bright jazzberry surfsuit brings both glamour and functionality to the waves.

Find the suit in sizes XS-XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Seea.

Elle Evans

Rated: Good
ECONYL yellow surfsuit by Elle Evans.

Dune Surfsuit – Ships internationally from Australia

Founded in 2013 in Australia, Elle Evans Swimwear creates beautiful, lower-impact swimwear and activewear for people who care about fashion and the future. The brand uses post-consumer waste fabrics and traces all of its supply chain.

This gorgeous yellow surfsuit made from ECONYL is available in sizes 2XS-3XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Elle Evans.


Rated: Good
rainbow organic cotton surf towel sustainable made by Rapanui ethical surfwear brand

Men’s Organic Cotton Surf Towel – Ships internationally from the UK

This award-winning surfwear brand from the UK makes surf-inspired clothing in a wind-powered factory (WHAT?). Surf towels, socks, and hoodies—you can find everything you need to get warm after your sesh.

The towels are one size fits all.

See the rating.

Shop Rapanui.

Sagebrush Surf Bags

Rated: Good
A 9' striped surf bag made from upcycled materials.

9′ Velvet – Ships within the US

Sagebrush Surf Bags is a brand that offers upcycled board bags built for adventures, surf trips, and daily beach goings, like this fun coffee bag and striped vintage velvet one for 9 foot boards.

Sizes vary.

See the rating.

Shop Sagebrush Surf Bags.

Not a surfer but love the ocean just as much? Learn how to protect our waters from damaging microplastics with our how to guide.

Editor's note

Feature image via Elle Evans, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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