Though your surfing may stink—there’s no excuse for looking shabby between the carpark and the water. And while the right pair of board shorts 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 ’round, there’s never been a better time.
Here’s our guide to the most on-trend board shorts right now.
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.
On Trend 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. Here’s the best of the best.
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
A few years back, Nike realised the modern-day surfer wants the pinnacle of high-performance gear, without looking like a jock. So they created Hurley, the board short of choice for John John Florence and anyone who wants to surf well without looking (too) sporty.
Flashy High Performance
Popular with Italo Ferreira and Mason Ho, colourful high-performance board shorts from the likes of Rip Curl, Billabong and O’Neil are for the man who believes himself capable of surfing low tide rock piles, and who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
From Need Essentials’ dark navy offerings to Banks Journal’s jaundice-coloured swag, muted colours are to 2019 what three-quarter-leg length monstrosities were to the early 2000’s. Popular with chain-smoking undergrads and intrepid adventurers alike.
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.
If you like Alex Knost, Costa Rica and slow moving point breaks have a squiz at RVCA’s top models.
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.