Top 10 European Surf Clothing Brands for Performance and Style
Surfing is one of the most popular water sports in Europe with a thriving surf culture and community. As the sport continues to grow, so does the surf apparel and clothing market. Surf brands compete to create the most innovative, high-performance, and stylish surf gear and apparel for surfers.
Europe is home to some of the top surf clothing brands in the world. These brands cater to surfers across Europe and globally. They understand the needs of surfers and the importance of quality, durable, functional surfwear.
In this article, we will look at the top 10 best surf clothing brands in Europe. For each brand, we will provide a brief history, highlight some of their notable technologies and designs, and discuss why they are considered among the best in Europe.
Founded in 1969 in Torquay, Australia, Quiksilver is one of the most recognized and influential surf brands globally. The company expanded to the US in 1976 and then Europe in 1984. Some of Quiksilver’s popular technologies include DryFlight water-repellent technology and Thermo Flight insulation. The brand is dedicated to innovation and producing high-performance surf equipment and clothing. Top products include high-stretch surfboard shorts, rash guards, and athletic swimwear.
Billabong emerged in 1973 in Australia with a focus on well-designed boardshorts and wetsuits for surfers. The brand reached Europe in the 1980s and opened its European headquarters in Hossegor, France in 1988. Billabong is best known for its boardshorts, bikinis, wetsuits, and accessories. The brand emphasizes durability, performance, and style in its products. Key technologies include triple needle stitching and dynamic 4-way stretch fabrics.
Roxy originated as a subsidiary of Quiksilver in 1990 to cater to female surfers and expanded globally through the 1990s. The brand emphasizes femme style along with performance and durability. Top products include swimsuits, boardshorts, rash guards, wetsuits, and beachwear. Roxy uses innovative fabrics like spandex and polyester in its designs. The brand also incorporates sun protection features into many of its products.
The O'Neill brand was founded by Jack O'Neill, who opened one of the first surf shops in California in 1952. The brand expanded into Europe in the 1970s. O'Neill is known for innovations in wetsuit design including the first neoprene wetsuits. The brand uses patented technologies like UltraFlex DS for its wetsuits along with hydrophobic materials. Top products are high-performance wetsuits, rashguards, boardshorts, and surf leashes.
Founded in Victoria, Australia in 1969, Rip Curl brings technical innovation and a spirit of adventure to its products and brand. The company started European operations in 1980 in Hossegor, France. Rip Curl is best known for wetsuits along with boardshorts, rash guards, and accessories. The brand uses proprietary neoprene and lining materials to create high-performance and comfortable wetsuits. Their boardshorts incorporate innovations like wider-angle stretch fabric.
Protest is a Portugal-based surf clothing brand founded in 2000. The brand focuses on sophisticated style fused with functionality. Protest uses eco-friendly materials including recycled polyester in many of its designs. Top products from Protest include bikinis, one-piece swimsuits, wetsuits, and beachwear. Protest pieces have clean lines and sleek silhouettes along with details like gold hardware for an elevated, fashion-forward look.
Though known for its iconic skate shoes, Vans also produces quality surf apparel and boardshorts. The brand was founded in California in 1966 and came to Europe in the 1990s. Vans surf clothes incorporate the brand's signature edgy styles along with quick-drying and stretch materials ideal for surfing. Top products include volley boardshorts, t-shirts, and fleece jackets, often showcasing Vans' creative prints and designs.
Founded in California by two Argentine brothers, Reef draws inspiration from the relaxed culture of surf destinations. The brand launched in Europe in 1995. Reef focuses on producing high-quality and comfortable sandals along with boardshorts, swimsuits, and apparel. Reef boardshorts use lightweight and quick-drying synthetic materials along with designs tailored for surfers. Reef also incorporates recycled materials into many of its products.
Hurley emerged from California in 1999 with a focus on innovation. Nike acquired the brand in 2002 to bolster its surf/action sports profile. Hurley employs top technologies like Phantom rubber for wetsuits and recycled Eco Yarns. Top products include high-performance boardshorts, rash guards, and sportswear with good stretch, quick drying capabilities, and UPF sun protection. The brand also produces quality surf leashes, backpacks, and accessories.
Founded in the UK in 1987, Animal caters to surfers seeking loud prints and edgy styles. The brand emphasizes stand-out designs across its clothes, wetsuits, backpacks, watches, and accessories. Animal incorporates its signature prints, colors, and details across its product range. Top items for surfers include boardshorts, bikini tops and bottoms, and rash guards. The brand uses soft flexible materials that are ideal for surfing.
Europe is home to a highly competitive and innovative surf clothing and apparel market. The top brands stand out for their high-performance technology paired with stylish designs catered to surfers. From heavyweight names like Quiksilver and Billabong to smaller brands like Protest and Animal, European surf companies continue to churn out products suited for riding waves across the continent and globally. Surfers in Europe are sure to find durable, functional and aesthetically appealing surf garb from one of these stellar homegrown brands.