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By Mary Awosika
Herald-Tribune/Sarasota Florida

Hot Buys: Functional, fashionable waterwear

Functional swimwear is almost a thing of the past, but Kim Ruby plans to fill the void. She wants her clothing line Girls4Sport to combine function with fashion for girls and women who play water sports. She's tired of wearing streamlined versions of men's attire.

"We're keeping it functional to sport and it'll have a fashion flair," said Ruby, a long board amateur surfer.

In Girls4Sport, Ruby has set to design clothing for all water sports, including surfing, rowing, and wakeboarding. Clothing for dry land sports such as soccer and cycling will also be available. The company's competition will be well-known companies like Roxy, the women's clothing line from Quicksilver.

"Roxy tends to target the junior marked and does more fashion-oriented things," said Ruby. "We target the girl's and women's market. Our sizing goes from extra small to double XL."

So far the clothing line offers the basic necessities for girls and women who stay waterlogged. Among the options will be board shorts, long-sleeved shirts and tank tops. Girls4Sport's main focus is to create clothing from beginning to end with the female body in mind, and use materials that are more conducive to the female physique while in action.

For example, the Rash Guard, a long-sleeved shirt worn to protect the body from getting rubbed raw by a surfboard, is made with a built-in shelf bra. Currently, the Rash Guards are made from a 80% Nylon and 20% Spandex, and offered as a matching set with bikini bottoms. A matching headband protects ears from the harsh wind and keeps the hair out of a surfer's face.

Most of the swimwear is made with the Nylon/Spandex combination. Some items are made of neoprene, a rubbery material that insulates the body and traps head like a wet suit. Surfers have already tested the clothing.

"When I was in Florida, I wore a neoprene vest," said Ruby, who lives in Santa Cruz, Calif.. It doesn't matter who warm it is, if it's windy and you're wet you'll get cold.

Girls4Sport will be sold in select boutiques such as Beach House Swimwear. For more information call 831-464-1862 or check the Web site at .