Patagonia Nanogrip Surf Bikini Review
The Nareta top is a bikini top designed to perform. Patagonia’s new Nanogrip fabric adds another level of performance to a design that already meets all you active needs, in and out of the water.
We’re delighted to introduce what we would describe as, a leading surf bikini that is solid in every way! A lack of choice in performance surf bikinis from mainstream brands was a major motivator for Still Stoked to review so comprehensively, all the best surf bikinis on the market. Finally a well known, high-street brand has made it on to that list! The Patagonia Nanogrip surf bikini range is one that we are highly recommending across the board.
A note on Patagonia the brand
If you are not aware of the brand Patagonia and their inspiring values, it’s worth us mentioning a few things. Privately owned by one of my favourite people on the planet Yvon Chouinard, they are in business to do good. They back the quality of their garments which they will repair if they become faulty, or replace – some come with a lifetime warranty. Every aspect of the production process from the yarns, protecting migrant workers that make the garments, making all garments Fair Trade Certified.
The company is considered to be one of the world leaders in sustainable fashion, though they themselves say there is still so much room for improvement. Yvonne started 1% for the Planet, a not for profit that inspires companies to give 1% of its profits to grassroots environmental programs. In 2018, Patagonia gave the $10 million in tax cuts to grassroots environmental organizations – See Patagonia’s female CEO Rose’s LinkedIn post announcing this. You can apply on their website for one of these grassroots financial grants.
To read more about this incredible company and their values, I highly recommend you read Yvonne’s book Let My People Go Surfing.
Now back to surf bikinis…
We tested the Nanogrip Nareta Top in M ($75) and the Nireta Bottoms in S ($69), both in the colour Fism
Why we chose this style?
For a surf bikini to perform when you are pumping down the line or being spun upside down in a wipeout, it needs to stay on! I have a larger chest (E or F cup) and a skinny rib cage (32 inches), so I look for surf bikinis that I won’t fall out of (not too low cut), that will be tight enough and that are cut so they won’t cause pain when paddling (thick straps, adjustable etc). Read more about the dos and don’ts of surf bikinis so you know what to look out for.
The Nareta top is designed to support, perform and stay put and the nanogrip fabric adds another level of performance to a design that already meets all my needs. They also make a nanogrip fixed triangle top that would suit ladies with a smaller chest.
In all our time testing surf bikinis, we haven’t seen a back design like this!.
What we love about the Patagonia Nanogrip Nareta bikini
The innovative, not-moving an inch, Nanogrip fabric
Patagonia has produced a lightweight lining that ‘grips’ rather than ‘sticks’ to your skin. This provides more support in all directions, holding you in place to perform in your sport. In simple terms, you will have far fewer bum wedgies and fewer nip-slips and underboob issues with the nanogrip fabric. It’s another example of the technical application of innovation in textile design by Patagonia.
The high neck cut
Super flattering, providing extra uplift and support of your breast as well as protection from the sun, the style of this bikini is both comfortable and gorgeous.
Un-usual but strong and supporting back design
In all our time testing surf bikinis, we haven’t seen a back design like this. At first skeptical (because it is non-adjustable), we were instantly surprised with how supportive it was. The straps are thick and strong and will not overstretch, allowing for movement while maintaining the shape and integrity of the bikini’s design. One of the elements that let many surf bikinis down is the strength of their straps, and the excessive stretch they yield under strain. In the Nareta top Patagonia have designed a flat, strong, and durable strap that comfortable and dainty. 1mm thick and flat with a zig-zag stitch for extra strength. This is a key feature of this surf bikini.
Thick under-breast elastic band
There is a concealed 2cm thick band that runs under the breast and is attached to the bottom of the 3 back straps that connect to the shoulder strap. This tight upward force further prevents the bikini from riding up over your breasts. In fact, when surfing in big 6ft waves in Indonesia, not once did this surf bikini rise up in a wipeout! That’s saying something!
Removable pads in the breast are stitched into separate compartments
Often the breast padding in bikinis moves too easily and scrunches up, making it look like an extra lump that well-shaped and supported boob! Patagonia has solved this problem by stitching separate compartments for the padding. A personal preference, we removed these after a few surfs but found that they didn’t move very easily and maintained their supportive function. A pleasant surprise.
Bottoms that don’t move!
Normally we would always suggest a drawstring is required to secure bikini bottoms in place. Patagonia, however, has re-thought this and added a thick elastic concealed in a thick waistband. Combine this with the nano-grip fabric and you have a bikini bottom that is not rolling down on duck-dives, or moving an inch when surfing. These bikini bottoms are solid, without the drawstring! The thick band also doesn’t give you the muffin top that I know many girls worry about with the tight drawstring. The cut is also really flattering with medium coverage.
Sustainable and Fair Trade
As mentioned above, one thing you can be confident with any Patagonia product is that they going to be sustainably produced with the least environmental damage applied. With the new Patagonia Nanogrip bikini range, they have added Fair Trade to that list of qualities, ensuring all aspects of the production process from fabrics to dyes have delivered on providing clean, safe and financially fair working environments for all involved. Personally, I would much rather pay a little more for a product that delivers on those values (great to see that the millennial generation are also willing to pay more for a sustainable product), and rest assured that my dollar both sends a message to other companies that the environment and human rights are important.
Patagonia has a women’s surf team
Another ‘gets you in the feels’ reason to buy a Patagonia product is that they value, respect and support women across the board. Women lead their business (their CEO Rose Marcario is an openly gay woman), the right of women to take maternity leave (they were one of the first companies to do this and the first to offer on-site daycare), and women in the surf. Their surf team consists of environmentally motivated ocean dancers such as Captain Liz Clark who’s book Swell you must read (have a peek at our book review), the graceful Belinda Baggs, and the newly signed Hawaiian big wave powerhouse Paige Alms. These ladies help design the products so you know they will perform in all conditions. Increasing spend on performance products means increasing spend in support of women on the waves.
Product quality guaranteed
This is what Patagonia say about their products…
We guarantee everything we make. If you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, return it to the store you bought it from or to Patagonia for a repair, replacement or refund. Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge.
While we expect swimwear to deteriorate over time, you can have full confidence that this garment has been designed to last as long as it possibly can and that if anything defects as a result of manufacturer fault, you can get it repaired or replaced free of charge.
What could be improved with the Nanogrip Nareta surf bikini
I think Patagonia have totally nailed this design with a high neck available in the Nareta top and a fixed triangle style offered in the Nanogrip Triangle Top. There are only 2 colorways available when we chose ours but can see now at the time of writing, they have introduced 5 options for colours and prints which is great!
The price, which is often something that puts a lot of people off with Patagonia is not too bad. When compared to the other surf bikinis that would align with the quality and performance of the Patagonia Nanogrip, the top and bottoms combined are 20-30% more expensive.
To discover more great surf bikinis, tested and recommended by Still Stoked, please read the best surf bikini directory article.
Here are some other great women’s surfing reads:
For Her Eyes Only – Surf tips for girls. Because all these things will happen to you!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Surf Bikinis
Surf packing list – What to pack for your next surf trip
Surf Hair Care – Pro surfer tips on how to look after beach hair
Surf Hair, Do Care: How to get beach blonde surfer hair
How to lighten hair naturally without bleach and get surfer highlights
Surfer Girl Style – Top 10 surf fashion staples
Best Surf Sunscreen – Full review & breakdown of top brands