Darn, I love these things! Spotted them in the Billabong shop, and was like, these are coooool. They're part of Billabong's Surf Capsule range, and are officially known as Skinny Sea Legs, or just flipping lekker leggings in plain English.
They're 1mm neoprene, so are perfect for keeping the chill off, as well as giving you some protection from the reef if you're surfing somewhere tropical. Always nice to know when you're paddling over the lip on a late take off that you can land on ya butt no probs cos you aren't gonna donate any skin to the reef. Get rag-dolled with confidence!
Another plus is that they keep the sun off your legs, which is a bonus when you're putting in some long summer sessions. Avoid getting sunburnt, and the other more gnarly things that happen from too much sun exposure.
Bought mine just before heading over to Indo for 5 weeks, and was so stoked that I had. They turned out to be the best things ever to surf in day in and day out. Incredibly comfy, cos only 1mm neoprene - so stretchy you could happily do yoga in 'em.
Didn't feel too warm in them at all. A couple of the girls I was surfing with were like "aren't you hot in those?" Nup, not at all. Also, felt so much safer knowing that I could get bounced along the reef and not get cut too shreds. Funny how a 1mm wettie legging can impart a sense of invincibility! Quite a few times I wished I had a neoprene top as well! Coral heads don't look so mean if you know they can't eat you.
So nice not to have the hassle of putting sunscreen on your legs. Really annoying when it rubs off your legs and onto your board and you slip slide all over the place. The little bit of padding on your hip bones from the neoprene is a bonus, cos no longer get the lil bruises that inevitably come from hours and hours and day upon day lying on your board. My hip bones are normally bruised black by the end of a trip, and this time no probs at all.
Skinny Sea Legs have a mid-rise cut, which means good coverage on your back - you won't get caught out with that burnt stripe across your lower back where boardies normally end and your rashie starts. Consider going one size smaller than you think you might need as they do have a good amount of stretch. Same as normal wettie sizing I guess, you always want it to be a wee bit tight when you try it on on the shop cos once it's wet it stretches.
They fit well in the waist meaning no water sneaks in and gives you the jello-leg look. Snug ankle seams means no flush up that way either. There's a small key pocket inside the bottom of your left leg.
The denim print is really realistic. Complete with zipper detail and some pseudo rips. Lost count of the number of peeps that asked me why I was surfing in my jeans! Cos yip, they look exactly like jeans. You'd probably get away with wearing them on a casual night out!
One of the ou's I met worked at a surf shop in Aus and said they'd even sold a few pairs to guys. Ok, that's a bit sketchy! Although, having said that, don't see why guys wouldn't want to benefit from the full leg sun protection as well?
If you're looking for something to surf in during summer, or to take on that tropical surf trip, Billabong's Skinny Sea Legs should be at the top of your shopping list. Love mine! Gonna buy some more for sure!
Yoh, I love my Surf Capsule!
Ladies - your prayers are answered. Finally we get some chick's surfwear made for fashion and function, instead of just fashion. Fashion is great - but not all of us still have the bean-pole legs and the perky butts of youth! Up til now I've had to resort to guy's wetties and boardies cos the girl's stuff is just nowhere near as functional, so am uber-stoked to at last be able to surf in something made for surfing girls instead of boys!
It's taken a while, but the ou's in the design department have finally worked out that girls actually surf and don't just loll about the beach all day. Which means we now get some beautiful wetties that work.
One of the big drivers for more functional surf wear is Rasta's lady, Lauren Hill. She's been giving Billabong lotsa feedback during the development of the Surf Capsule, and is one super styling logger. We shared a solo session with her and Rasta in the Maldives last year, and she was trying a whole lot of different Surf Capsules out. So every hour she'd pop off back to the boat, change into another suit to give it a test-drive, or rather, test-surf.
Got chatting to her about them and she was just frothing on how great they were.....so first thing I did when I got back was find out from the Bong peeps when they'd be hitting our shores. Soon as they arrived in SA I dashed off to the shop to grab one.
Turns out they were all so kiff I couldn't decide which one to get, so with true chick logic I bought three. However, buying spring suits in winter means you unfortunately don't get to surf 'em. So they sat in the cupboard until our recent trip to Indo.
I nearly didn't even take one with, thinking "why would I need rubber in Indo?" Shew, just as well I did. A thin layer of neoprene can be your best friend in the tropics for many reasons.
The obvious one is to keep you safe from the sun (tick #1 for the Surf Capsule). But then there're other advantages too - like no sore ribs - which you get pretty quick if you're paddling about in a T or bikini all day. Nothing worse than about a week into your trip and you can't even lie on your board cos your chest is so eina. So that problem solved. Tick #2 for the Surf Capsule.
Speaking of things that get eina from lying on your board.....hip bones! Mine stick out and get bruised so quickly if I'm in boardies all day. Enter the Surf Capsule - nice lil layer of rubber over the pointy bits, and bruises no more. Tick #3.
Staying on things eina. Reef, rocks, coral. All sorts of things just waiting to scrape some of your skin off if they get the chance. The Capsule came in handy when I was surfing some super shallow spots, where a wipe-out usually meant a skin donation. One particularly shallow possie saw me bouncing off the reef on my ass, and was only too happy to have some rubber padding there to collect the coral scrapes instead of my skin! (Tick #4)
After being in Indo for a while you get pretty used to the sticky hot weather. Which means when the temperature drops to say 24C, well - you feel freezing! Add in a bit of rain and wind chill factor, and you're only to glad to have a Surf Capsule to keep the chill off. Also used mine whilst diving in Indo - definitely need a suit when you're down there, but no reason to schlep into a full suit - the Surf Capsule does the job just fine.
So there you have it - five reasons why your Billabong Surf Capsule should accompany you on any holiday to the tropics - and of course any summer session at home.
Sizing seems to run true - I'm normally a size 8 in full wetsuits and took and 8 in the Surf Capsule. The fit is super comfy. Plenty of stretch thanks to the 2mm neoprene.
There are a variety of option available, but my preference was for the swimsuit with long arms. You get the choice of zip at the back or at the front, depending on which style you opt for.
Don't be nervous of the zippered front - as the zip doesn't poke you anywhere and you aren't aware of it at all. One comment I'd make is that maybe the zip on some of the styles could have been that wee bit longer, as the shorter zip can make it tricky to be able to pull the shoulders off yourself when getting outta the suit. But you'll get plenty offers of assistence if you're struggling with it in the car park!
Depending on the style, you can choose to go for perky butt, normal butt or the hide-my-ass option. Nice to see that they're not only catering for the nimble 20 something's!
Now if only each Surf Capsule came with a voucher for some free sunny weather and warm water, life would be good!
Ladies - should you buy one? Abso-bloody-lutely.
Billabong Surf Capsule's available at all Billabong stores.
What's Gear Guide?
I hate shopping, but I LOVE buying surf stuff. So I'll be posting reviews of whatever new kit I lay my hands on. No sales talk fluff, just telling it like it is. If it rocks I'll say so. If it sucks I'll say so. Simple.