Style like a surfer with these 12 tips
Last Updated: 14 January 2021
You probably know what surfer style looks like, but do you actually know how to style like a surfer? Let Rapturecamps give you the lowdown on what surfer style really is and nail that surfy vibe on your next trip to the beach.
Messy sun-bleached air, relaxed clothing and bare feet are all trademark attributes of your typical surfer.
You’ve seen this look in magazines, on social media and at the beach, which may have you wondering “how can I look like that?”.
Well, the good news is that styling like a surfer is actually pretty easy. There is however one important thing you should know about surfer style. This is that while nailing that surfy look is great, there’s more to being a surfer than simply looking like one.
So to ensure you know how to pull off both the look AND the philosophy of a surfer, we here at Rapturecamps have decided to help out.
Read on to discover what it takes to style like a surfer and remember to let us know if there’s anything we missed. Of course, you could always just visit one of our surf camps in Indonesia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica or Portugal.
That will give you instant street cred as a surfer after all.
1. Wear comfortable casual clothing
Surf fashion has evolved over the years and perhaps somewhat surprisingly it’s actually become more casual since those early days.
Where you would once see bold blocks of color and tight-fitting clothing on the beach you’re now more likely to see relaxed fits and understated tops and bottoms. Loose t-shirts are the norm plus baggy pants and shorts are common surfer essentials, as are the following:
- Graphic/logo t-shirts
- Flip flops or sandals
- Cap or beanie
- Oversized jacket
- Slack tracksuit pants
That being said, there has been a recent trend for surfers to wear shorts that finish above the knee. This is a similar look to the shorts of the 60s and 70s, which makes some sense given the old saying that fashion is cyclical. Just as long as puka shell necklaces don/t come back into fashion we should be sweet.
2. Minimize your environmental footprint
As surfers, we spend a massive amount of time enjoying the fruits of Mother Nature’s bounty in the form of waves.
She creates these waves with powerful oceanic storms and we get to enjoy them in their final stages. This means that we have a responsibility to look after the natural world since it really is the source of our life-pursuit and pleasure.
Buy from eco-friendly brands, use sunscreen that’s reef-safe and repurpose existing products instead of simply discarding them. Even the smallest acts of sustainability can lessen our impact on the environment if we work together.
3. Learn how to use surf lingo correctly
If you really want to style like a surfer then your surf lingo has to be on point.
We’re not talking but outdated phrases like bodacious, cowabunga and even radical either. We’re talking about common words that real surfers like to throw around, such as stoked, frothing and sick.
We’ve already covered this extensively in another article titled how to speak like a surfer, which you can check out by clicking here. In it is every phrase you need to know in order to start sounding like a lifelong shred lord or shred lady.
4. Read surf magazines to stay in touch with the latest surf trends
Surf trends are always changing to the point that it seems like the entire surf industry is constantly in a state of flux.
Anyone can ride any style of board that they like and there are now more places to learn to surf or go on a surf vacation to than ever before. This has made surfing more accessible to people just like us who are totally hooked on surfing.
By reading both print and online surf magazines such as Wavelength, Waves & Woods, Intertia or Stab, you can always keep one finger on the pulse of the surf scene, ensuring you never miss out on a cool new board design, wetsuit innovation or even cheap flights ever again.
5. Plan your life around the tide, swell size and wind direction
To style like a surfer is to live and breathe the art of riding waves. This means that seeking out better, bigger and more exotic waves should be at the top of your to-do list.
In order to ride more waves though, you need to be in sync with the conditions at your local break or the break at which you’re currently staying. And to do this you need to practically plan your life around three essential elements: tide, swell and wind.
By using forecasting sites such as Magic Seaweed, Surfline and Wind Guru, you can learn how to better read a weather forecast and hit the beach when the tide, swell size and wind direction all line up. Only then can you consider yourself to be truly styling like a surfer.
6. Try to go barefoot as much as possible
Here’s a fast tip about styling like a surfer: shoes and sandals are out, bare feet are in. Of course, should this be impossible due to your local climate, then we’ll give you a pass. If you can kick your footwear off and go shoeless though, we suggest giving it a try.
Even big wave pioneer and alpha male Laird Hamilton recommends removing any barrier between your feet and the earth. His reasoning is based on the fact that we have more than 7,000 nerve endings on the bottom of each foot. You’ll also find a quarter of the bones in our body all located below the ankle.
In typical macho man Laird fashion, he believes that support promotes weakness. So instead of opting for cushy shoes or sandals, ditch the shoes and go barefoot and reap the rewards of having tougher, more flexible feet.
7. Don’t wash the saltwater from your hair
Ever wondered how surfers achieve that beautifully tangled, sun-bleached hair look?
It’s certainly not because they spend once a month getting their hair did at a salon. Instead, this effortlessly stylish look is achieved by not washing the salt out of your hair after a shred session and spending plenty of time sucking up those UV rays.
Not only do these rays bleach your hair, lightening darker tones and creating blonde streaks, but the salt will also add volume to your mop and act as a natural substitute for styling gel. The result is wild, two-toned hair that looks cool without even trying, which is pretty much the surfer look summed up if we’re being honest.
8. Stay cool, calm and collected in heavy situations
One of the keys to styling like a surfer is staying cool, calm and collected in every situation by cultivating a totally chilled vibe.
In doing so you will be able to better relate with other surfers, given that just about all of us are so mellow we’re practically falling asleep. Another benefit to staying calm in heavy situations is that you’ll be better equipped to take on bigger waves.
Surfing critically is all about making the difficult appear easy and the technical appear fluid, and by remaining as cool as a cucumber on land you’ll be able to carry your vibe into the water and surf with more confidence.
9. Embrace logos and bright graphics
While fluro is no longer trendy when it comes to surf style, nothing says “I’ve nailed that surfer look” like a logo t-shirt or graphic top.
Take our very own Rapturecamps merchandise for example. When you see someone wearing our t-shirts, hoodies or caps, you don’t think that they’re a soccer player or a snowboarder. You immediately recognize them as being a surfer.
As such, wearing clothing with logos and surf-related graphics is one of the fastest and easiest ways to style like a surfer.
10. Experience a surf vacation in an exotic surf destination
A surf vacation in an exotic location is the ultimate feather in your cap when it comes to styling like a surfer.
It’s on these trips that you really get a feel for what it is to be a surfer as you learn about different cultures, surf different waves, meet new people and of course… drag your heavy boardbag through airports.
Seriously though, if you want to know how to style like a surfer then everything can be learned on a single surf vacation to an exotic destination. Fortunately for you, we have a few epic locations for you to visit.
From tropical surf hotspots like Bali, Costa Rica and Nicaragua to the ruggedly beautiful shores of Portugal, we offer surf vacations that are perfect for those who want to experience an authentic surfer lifestyle.
11. Do a road trip in a surf wagon
The surfing road trip is a right of passage for all surfers. Whether it’s a quick strike mission to a secret spot or a multi-day journey through different countries, taking your surf wagon on the road is a guaranteed good time.
You’ll have a few challenges and probably get lost along the way, that’s for sure. But half the fun is exploring new places and stumbling upon waves that you might never have found unless you took that wrong turn. For many of our guests, our surf camp in Ericeira is the perfect final stop on a road trip from Germany, Austria, France or even the UK.
So find yourself a van, turn it into a home on wheels and point it towards the sunny shores of Portugal. You’ll be duly rewarded with pumping waves, beautiful weather and unbelievably fresh seafood when you finally arrive.
12. Get acquainted with Jack Johnson, Xavier Rudd and The Beautiful Girls
Like a cold beer and a breathtaking sunset, music and surfing go hand in hand. Everyone’s favorite section in a surf movie is usually backed by an awesome song. Even Kelly Slater has moonlighted as a guitarist for Pearl Jam, although not for very long.
Other artists that have become popular amongst surfing circles are Jack Johnson, Xavier Rudd and The Beautiful Girls. You’ll find their music in a number of surf flicks and clips and both Jack Johnson and Xavier Rudd actually surf pretty damn good.
On-wave talents aside, playing any of these three artists while chilling out at our surf camp will make you an instant hit. It’ll also distinguish you as someone who has excellent taste in music.
With these 12 tips, you can learn how to style like a surfer and get the most out of your next learn to surf experience. Use them as an introduction to surf culture and check out some of our special accommodation offers. Chances are you may just be able to style like a surfer AND save yourself some cash on a Rapture surf vacation.