Cool Boardshorts That Will Make You The Coolest Dude On The Beach

Though your surfing may stink, there’s no excuse for looking shabby between the car park and the water. And while the right pair of boardshorts won’t improve your wobbly cutback, the wrong pair will bring unnecessary attention to it.

So frame them if you must, but it’s time to remove your 1999 below-knee board shorts from wardrobe circulation (same goes for the ‘high performance’ fluro monstrosities you were rocking in 2015). Sorry: the market’s moved on, man.

Fortunately, thanks to a welcome changing of the surf brand guard, you can now get all the ‘performance’, stretch, comfort and durability you could ask for, hidden away in a stylish package, if you know where to look. And as summer rolls around, there has never been a better time.

What Makes A Good Board Short

We could go into Swiss Army Knife comparisons and boring technical details, but let’s be honest. It’s pretty simple what makes a good pair of board shorts.

You want a comfortable, flexible, durable and quick-drying companion that makes you feel cool both in and out of the water.

Fortunately for you, in this selection of board shorts we’ve taken care of all that, so all you have to do is pick a pair you think looks cool (you could practically shut your eyes and point to any).

On Trend Board Short Styles

From anti-establishment designs to world-title winning trunks, there are a lot of board short designs tickling surfing trendsetters’ thighs at the moment.

Eco Friendly

Rocked by Kelly Slater and classy gents who want it all – comfort, style, environmental karma and high-performance capabilities – brands like Outerknown and Patagonia are the eco warrior’s board short of choice.

Subtle High Performance

While the likes of Hurley have previously been owned by sportswear giant Nike and took incredible advantage of the company’s fabric technologies in the process, most pairs of boardshorts these days will offer levels of performance unrivalled by other sports shorts.

Flashy High Performance

Popular with Italo Ferreira and Mason Ho, colourful high-performance board shorts from the likes of Rip Curl, Billabong and O’Neill are for the man who believes himself capable of surfing low tide rock piles, and who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Muted Colours

From Need Essentials’ dark navy offerings to Banks Journal’s jaundice-coloured swag, muted colours are to 2020 what three-quarter-leg length monstrosities were to the early 2000’s. Popular with chain-smoking undergrads and intrepid adventurers alike.

Dual Tone

Hurley, Rip Curl, Quicksilver, even Outerknown are now doing it. If you know how to throw an air reverse (or want people to think you do) you have at least 3 pairs of these in your wardrobe.


If you’re a city slicker too cool to associate with surf brands (but who still wants to be able to perform when it’s pumping) check out Vissla’s understated offerings.

Laid Back

If you like Alex Knost, Costa Rica and slow-moving point breaks have a squiz at RVCA’s top models.

Anti Chafe

If you are a man of creature comfort (and 8-hour shred sessions): you would do well to make sure your board short of choice has anti-chafe technology.

Men’s Board Shorts FAQ

Are board shorts meant to be worn with underwear?

You do not wear underwear with board shorts with built-in liners. These liners will fit snug just like briefs and provide added support. For shorts without liners, you can wear compression shorts or tight swimwear or regular underwear if you want.

What fabric is used for board shorts?

Most board shorts and swim trunks are made of polyester microfiber. This fabric is quick -drying and soft to the touch, plus it does not absorb water.

How tight should board shorts fit?

Your board shorts must be loose-fitting, but not baggy. They should be tight enough to stay up even without a drawstring so you will not have to worry about them floating away when you swim or dive.

What Are Board Shorts?

They're a longer swim short often used for surfing. They commonly come to the knee or a touch longer.

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