Everyone has had that embarrassing moment. You can call it a wardrobe malfunction, a skin show, or as our grandmothers politely said, “exhibitionism.” You’re riding a wave, catch an edge and splat, do a header into the surf. You tuck and roll and bob up for air. No harm, no foul. But then you hear the laughter…. snickers really. Your ride wasn’t that bad. What’s the problem? Your swimsuit has shifted, exposing more than your talent on the board.
Swimsuits are an interesting conundrum—especially bikinis. A good one looks awesome. But a great one does a lot more. It covers not only the essentials, but it also stays in place when you swim, dive and surf. I’ve tested dozens of swimsuits but Patagonia’s Nanogrip Bikini is really a step forward in terms of swimsuit technology.
The secret sauce is a thin rubberized polyester/polyurethane lining around the edges of the bra and the leg opening of the bottom. The wetter the suit, the more grippy the lining gets. I can swim, dive or surf all day and my suit stays in place with no awkward peek-a-boo moments.
The material is a recycled nylon and spandex blend that is soft and supple. It’s very comfortable, with the perfect amount of stretch without any sagging. After 3 months of testing—with more than 30 river/ocean/lake days, there’s no fading or abrasion. And I like the fact that the bikini is made in Colombia—a country with great swimsuit creds as it borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
The top is a basic halter style with triangular cups, removable pads, and drawstring closure in the back. Like so many swimsuits, the bra pads slip around a bit—especially when you wash the suit. The pads tend to fold over, which cause odd bumps. You can get them back into place, but as the bra pads are so thin, one design recommendation I have is that they are stitched into place—people who want an unpadded bra could just cut the stitching and pull the pads.
The bottoms don’t have a lot of coverage (one might call them skimpy), but the material does stay in place so I wasn’t constantly tugging them down to cover my “cheeks.” The bottoms connect on the sides with cord that you tie. It lets you crank them tight for swimming or wear them a bit looser for when you are lying out on the beach. I liked the adjustability, although I did end up tying both of the side strings with a double knot, just in case the waves got a bit too rugged.
The Patagonia Nanogrip Bikini retails for $65 for the top, $55 for the bottoms — both available now.