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Saturday, July 30, 2011
Updated: August 5, 9:57 AM ET
O'Neill Superkini ($99)


O'Neill's Superkini, for when you want to show off your skills, not your bum.

Every girl surfer has had to make that choice: a mid-paddle bottom fix vs. blatant crack and/or cheek exposure in the lineup. Most of the time, I personally choose the latter, even though I'm sure it does not serve my "take me seriously" campaign very well, because I'm not a fan of being swamped in the impact zone. Fret no more, ladies. Thanks to O'Neill's Superkini, we can stop worrying about accidental nudity and start worrying about concrete tan lines.

What it is: The O'Neill Superkini is a high-tech bikini. It's made from this amazing fabric called Nanofront that feels, almost, like nothing at all. It is quick-drying, comfortable, non-chafing -- and most importantly, it stays put. Nanofront fabric claims to provide 200 percent more grip than typical lycra -- and that's when it's dry. The inside of the Superkini feels kind of sticky, like running your finger over plastic wrap. That may not sound breathable, but it is. With an even greater "frictional force" when wet, this swimsuit would be wasted on a girl who doesn't want to mess up her hair -- especially when the going rate is a cool Benjamin. The cross-back triangle top and string bottoms are both sexy and sturdy, and they're available in black and an eye-catching coral called Cayanne.

Why it rules: It doesn't mess around. Paddling, duckdiving, drop-ins, bottom turns, and wipeouts (naturally) are no problemo in the Superkini. On a Friday morning when New Jersey was supposed to get bump in swell, the air was exceptionally hot (100 degrees) and the water inexplicably cold (61 degrees), I took the Superkini for a test drive. I decided that I wouldn't fix the suit during the surf, just to see how out of place it could get. I thought, "if I indecently expose myself, so be it."

I did not.

Superkini vs. "Big Splash." Winner: Superkini

I also didn't feel like this was truly the best lab to test the Superkini's ability. Then a friend at Breakwater Beach Water Park in Seaside Heights, hooked me up with the ultimate bikini test: the water slide. I had designs of pitting Nanofront's grip against the 25-foot drop I remember from my childhood, but as it turns out, those slides must have drawn some law suits, because they don't exist anymore.

I settled for the Patriot's Plunge, which is that long, hilly one you ride on your stomach, on a mat (just like prone paddling.) Superkini was bored. My best bet for a wipeout/spin cycle simulator came in the form of the Big Splash, a "deep water" slide. The suit, admittedly, scrunched a bit, but still revealed less skin than Alana Blanchard at Rio. (Good thing, since there were lots of small children around.) And conveniently, that Cayanne color looks great with a tan.

Where to find it: The Superkini collection is set to expand in the Spring of 2012. It'll include new cuts, prints, and colors. Buy one at shopO'Neillusa.com or your local surf shop.