The 1950s were the heyday of older-generation snorkel-masks, first for the pioneers of underwater hunting and then for the general public who swam in their wake. One even-minded authority of the time declared that "the advantage of this kind of mask is mainly from the comfort point of view. It fits snugly to one's face, there is no mouthpiece to bite on, and one can breathe through either nose or mouth". Another concluded with absolute conviction that "built-in snorkel masks are the best" and "a must for those who have sinus trouble." Yet others, including a co-founder of the British Sub-Aqua Club, deemed masks with integrated snorkels to be complicated and unreliable: "Many have the breathing tube built in as an integral part of the mask. I have never seen the advantage of this, and this is the opinion shared by most experienced underwater swimmers I know". Six decades on, a new generation of snorkel-masks has come to the marketplace (see Figure 3).
In post-World War II Europe, Western Europeans enjoyed their first war-free summer in many years. French designers sought to deliver fashions that matched the liberated mood of the people. Fabric was still in short supply, and in an endeavor to resurrect swimwear sales, two French designers – Jacques Heim and Louis Réard – almost simultaneously launched new two-piece swimsuit designs in 1946. Heim launched a two-piece swimsuit design in Paris that he called the atome, after the smallest known particle of matter. He announced that it was the "world's smallest bathing suit." Although briefer than the two-piece swimsuits of the 1930s, the bottom of Heim's new two-piece beach costume still covered the wearer's navel.
A bikini is typically a women's two-piece swimsuit featuring two triangles of fabric on top, similar to a bra and covering the woman's breasts, and two triangles of fabric on the bottom, the front covering the pelvis but exposing the navel, and the back covering the buttocks. The size of the top and bottom can vary from full coverage of the breasts, pelvis, and buttocks, to very skimpy designs like a thong or G-string that cover only the areolae and mons pubis, but expose the buttocks.
People head out to OB for the nice, wide, swath of sand. There's also the Ocean Beach pier—the longest pier on the West Coast—where you can try your hand at pier fishing. If you have a four-legged friend, go to Dog Beach, just north of the main beach, and unleash your pup to romp in the sand and surf. Or, stroll along Newport Avenue, the main drag in OB's business district, and take in the small-town feel.
Spend a bit more and rent a dry snorkel, or at the least, a snorkel with a splash guard. One of the least pleasant experiences is having a flood of water come down your snorkel. A dry snorkel has a special valve on top that seals shut when your snorkel goes underwater (like with a wave, or when you tilt your head to the side). It will also have a special purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel so that it is easy to blow water out of the tube. For a first time snorkeler we find this piece of equipment essential (we use them ourselves). It is worth whatever additional rental costs. Learn more about different types of snorkels here.
Our women's bikini swimsuits are perfect for swimming or just catching some rays, but you'll need a few other things to complete your look. Grab a trendy tote to hold essentials like sunblock and a good beach read. Protect your eyes from UV rays with some new sunglasses, and make sure that your face stays free from sunspots with a wide-brimmed hat. The right accessories can upgrade your bikini from cute to must-have status.