Shorts & Boardshorts

The Technical Guide to Boardshorts
The Technical Guide to Boardshorts

Most perceive the humble boardshort as attire for swanning around beaches during sunny weather. But actually there’s a decent amount of technology literally woven into each design. Some manufactures put as much time and effort into boardies as they would a wetsuit.

Of course, if you only laze about on sunny days no one’s going to stop you but for those requiring ultimate performance here are some points to consider...

Explore the Technical Guide to Boardshorts by clicking the images below or using the left and right arrows.

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Susceptible Areas
Susceptible Areas

The John Wayne Walk is common among boardshort wearers spending time immersed in saltwater. Rash and irritation can develop in certain areas – an issue brands now take into account.

WAISTBAND
Salt, sand and wax can become lodged between bare skin and material – it’s the quickest way to get a nasty and unwanted rash. The waist band area of your boardies is particularly susceptible.

GROYNE
The groyne and inner thigh are key areas where ‘nappy rash’ can occur – mostly due to the abrasive nature of sand and salt. Walking legs akimbo is usually the result.

BEHIND KNEES
Behind the knees is another niggly area wearers can suffer irritation. Loose, flappy and wet material aggravates exposed skin causing issues. Over time this can become quite painful.

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Manufacturing Materials
Manufacturing Materials

Boardshort manufacturing methods and materials have improved over the years with many brands pouring considerable amounts of time and money into research and development. Combatting UV and irritation caused from prolonged bouts of exposure to the elements, top spec boardies are now a world away from what they once were.

Satin backed polyester, for instance, ensures quick drying after dunking’s while remaining smooth and soft to the touch. Using recycled plastics increases green credentials and helps the environment.

Boardshorts are now offered in a four way stretch option, reacting to rider movements and being less restrictive – a good thing when powering through a cutback or hacking one off the top.

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Cut and Manufacturing Methods
Cut and Manufacturing Methods

The cut of your boardies dictates how they perform and ultimately how they feel. Many brands opt for a progressive cut that follows contours and body shapes. (Big baggy shorts are now generally a thing of the past).

In the water this reduces excess material flapping about causing irritation. Reducing drag during paddling is also a plus.

Some brands produce their boardies in 3D fashion. The material is lathed out of a single piece of fabric ensuring the wearer has a proportionally balanced and comfortable fit. This makes for a higher performing and more efficient product when in the surf.

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Seam Type
Seam Type

GLUED
Glued seams are smooth interlocking pieces of fabric that have a sealing strip laid on top. Although super comfortable there can still be unwanted skin/glue contact. Glue can break down and weaken.

LIQUID WELD
High end boardshorts these days tend to use either liquid weld or seamless technology. Welded seams have material edges pressed together creating an almost indiscernible join.

STITCHED
Stitched seams are at the budget end of the market – although perfectly adequate it’s the least performance orientated binding technique. Stitched seams also cause the most amount of irritation.

SEAMLESS
Seamless technology is where it’s at. Manufactured as one whole piece of fabric (see 3D cut
explanation) the reduction increases comfort, fit, longevity and performance. Stretch properties are built in without tensile strength loss.

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Fly Type
Fly Type

Depending what fly you have will dictate levels of comfort and performance. The more material used the more likely of developing irritation and discomfort when in the surf.

CLOSED
Closed/no flys are the most comfortable – especially why lying prone and paddling. No fabric lumps to dig into vulnerable areas means a more pleasurable experience. You’ll have to release your tie ups though when visiting the bathroom.

VELCRO
Velcro rip flys are great when you get caught short but are pretty uncomfortable in the surf when paddling. They can also cause irritation if not secured correctly.

NEOPRENE
Neoprene flys are half way house between Velcro and closed. They’re obviously softer against bare skin than rip flys but not quite as comfortable as closed.

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Stretch Properties
Stretch Properties

Boardshorts are required to stretch at certain times – particularly during exertive surf moves. Styles of shorts have changed over the years and we’ve now done away with excess material and baggy fits.

The requirement for boardshorts to ‘give’ is now a necessity, otherwise there could be tearing. It’s important though that your shorts retain their ‘memory’ and return to original form. If they start to lose shape it’s could time to replace them.

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Anti-UV/Coating
Anti-UV/Coating

Boardshorts are designed to be worn in warmer temperatures – this is no secret. They need to offer a protective barrier again harmful UV rays. The sun can easily penetrate thin material and cause sunburn as well as discolouring and fading the actual garment. Coatings are usually applied to help prevent UV damage.

Anti-slip covering is sometimes added – although it’s ultimately the wax on your surfboard that provides traction.

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Accessories
Accessories

POCKETS
Pockets are useful for carrying small items on land and the classic cargo style pouch has been employed by brands for a while. It’s now more common to find just one single back pocket.

KEY STORAGE
Some brands design pouches for stashing car keys – although this isn’t extensive. As with any added extras excessive detailing will ultimately prove uncomfortable while paddling – keys a case in point.

WAX COMB
The trusty wax comb is a must have essential item and boardshort brands have been including these for ages. They’re usually worth leaving ashore – for the same reasons described with keys.

FIN KEY
Another handy little tool, that’s forever going walkies, brands incorporate fin keys separately or as part of the wax comb. Uncomfortable to lie on when paddling prone, leave it on the beach.

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The Technical Guide to Boardshorts
The Technical Guide to Boardshorts
Susceptible Areas
Susceptible Areas
Manufacturing Materials
Manufacturing Materials
Cut and Manufacturing Methods
Cut and Manufacturing Methods
Seam Type
Seam Type
Fly Type
Fly Type
Stretch Properties
Stretch Properties
Anti-UV/Coating
Anti-UV/Coating
Accessories
Accessories