You may have heard the term sarong before, but many people don’t understand what the piece of apparel is or does. Sarongs have become widespread surf attire today, given their adaptability to the sport and culture.

They are large pieces of fabric, airy and lightweight, and are wrapped around the waist – often found in vibrant colors and striking graphics. So what is the significance of the sarong?

History of the Sarong in Asia

The sarong was the local dress of peoples in many Southeast Asian regions. Locals in the Malay peninsula and Java and Sumatra – typically found in these dresses as they adapted well to their seafaring ways and the hot, tropical climates. As sea traders, many outsiders would visit these regions to find the villagers wearing sarongs.

Locals wearing sarong during ceremony

The ideas of sarongs then spread internationally, with traders introducing the attire to regions like India and the Arabian Peninsula. As the popularity of the sarong grew, the use of the material and identity came with it. Sarongs saw national colors and designs incorporated into the fabrics, with people worldwide applying their vibrant flair – especially in Indonesia, where it has become a national dress.

When tourism opened up in Asia – products associated with fascinating cultures were sought after by visitors. The sarong became one of the most popular, considering its versatility and function as attire. 

Both men and women can wear a sarong and enjoy the many uses it provides. Sports such as surfing incorporates apparel into the culture today.

Uses of the Sarong for Surfing and Travel

The sarong is a simple, easily packed piece of clothing – and that allows it to have nearly limitless uses. Should you be traveling to a warmer climate, the sarong is considered essential for many reasons. Especially for surfers! We’ve listed a few functions for the sarong below during a surfing holiday:

  • The sarong can be used as a beach skirt
  • Tying it to the top of your chest can make it a dress
  • It can be worn as trousers
  • It may be used as a bandage in case of injury
  • It makes a great looking and practical beach mat
  • It can be used as a shawl
  • It works well as a picnic blanket
  • It can be used as a sling
  • You can use the sarong as a bag to pack your things

It’s lightweight and easy to get in your bag and to carry around. Surfers worldwide often have one stashed in their bag to be prepared for any occasion, whether it’s an emergency, social affair, or something to relax on.

Where Can I Get a Sarong?

The popularity of the sarong has made the clothing widely available worldwide. Many surf apparel companies have their own designs available, given their prominence with surfers. Traveling to places like Indonesia is the most rewarding experience, however. You can get authentic ones from the local marketplaces that celebrate its origins and history!

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