Some boardshort basics.
What are the different parts of a boardshort? Here is a quick glossary:
The fly - There are multiple types of fly's on boardshorts, including velcro, zippered, and neoprene. Velcro has long been the standard fly material, though some customers experience mild chaffing or rashes. Velcro-free fly's are often made from neoprene or other soft materials, and are becoming increasingly popular. On some boardshorts, you will be able to find a zippered fly, which is non-corrosive and works just like the fly on your jeans. Though all are functional, find a pair of boardshorts with a fly that is comfortable for you.
The seams - Vital to the durability of your boardshorts, the seams hold your shorts together. Both the inseam and the outseam are usually sewn using either double needle or triple needle stitching. The outseam is the distance from the bottom of the boardshort (leg opening) to the waist. The inseam is the seam that binds the inner length of the boardshort (from the crotch to the leg opening).
The closure - The closure is usually some combination of velcro, buttons, snaps, and drawstrings. Most boardshorts have drawstrings, which tie off after the velcro is fastened.
The pockets - Since boardshorts are used not only as swimwear, there is usually a pocket or two on the short. Some companies have integrated full hip pockets, however most boardshorts will have a side pocket with a drainhole. Keep your car key, ID, or wax comb safe and sound.
What is a stitchless inseam? Much like a velcro fly, inseams can cause mild chaffing or rashes on the inside of the leg. This occurs because the thread used on the inseam rubs against raw skin, causing irritation. The stitchless inseam is created with a type of welding glue, which keeps the seam tight but is non-abrasive.
What are boardshorts made from? The list of boardshort materials seems to grow larger every year, as new technologies continue to emerge. The most common material used is a mircofiber polyester. It is lightweight, dries quickly, soft to the touch, and very comfortable to wear. Most of the big boardshort companies (Hurley, Billabong, Quiksilver, O'Neill, Reef) have some variation of a microfiber polyester material, but use their own name. If you see supersuede, dynasuede, supreme suede or anything similar in our item descriptions, you can bet that those shorts are a microfiber polyester. There are still some boardshorts made from nylon, however popularity has decreased because they tend to be heavier and less comfortable. Some companies are also starting to integrate spandex into their boardshorts using a polyester and spandex mix. These shorts have all the same features of a regular microfiber polyester short, with added stretch and flexibility. This means more comfort while getting in and out of the water. Hydrostretch and superstretch are great examples of this new material.
What's the difference between a boardshort and a swimsuit? Though both are made for the water, they do serve different purposes. A swimsuit or pair of swim trunks usually has a mesh liner, as well as an interior drawstring. They are typically used for light or recreational swimming. Boardshorts are typically made from more durable materials, because they have to withstand greater abuse from surfers. This doesn't mean that you can't wear boardshorts in a swimming pool, or a swimsuit in the ocean. If you like the fit and feel of boardshorts, wear em' anywhere!
Why all the different lengths? Boardshorts come in many different lengths. The standard length for boardshorts is typically 22", which puts the bottom of the short just above the knee. This is the most popular length, because no material gets in the way when you stand up to catch a wave. Short boardshorts (16"-18" in length) were very popular in the 50's, and are making their comeback on today's beaches. Usually more of a fashion short than a surf short, this style will sit around mid-thigh. Longer boardshorts come in lengths above 22", and will drop just below the knee. It is important to remember that the stated length of a short is based on a size 32 waist. Each additional inch that gets added to the waist adds half an inch to the total length. For example, a standard 22" short will actually be 23" in length if you moved from a size 32 to a size 34. This also works in reverse.
Should I wear anything under my boardshorts? Unlike a swimsuit, boardshorts do not have any sort of lining. Though you don't need to wear anything underneath, you certainly can. We would recommend staying away from any sort of cotton undergarment, as they will stay wet for hours after your boardshorts dry. Instead try a Lycra or spandex material. You can get the extra support you are looking for in a quick drying and comfortable material.
Will my boardshorts fade in a swimming pool? They shouldn't. Boardshorts are made to withstand some pretty harsh ocean conditions, so a little chlorine will not cause them to turn colors or fade.
Any tips on getting wax out of my boardshorts? If you surf, you know that your board wax will flake off onto your boardshorts from time to time. If a wash cycle doesn't take care of the problem, try some surfboard wax remover or some "Goo Gone". Just make sure whatever you use is free of bleach or other chemicals that could permanently stain your shorts.
There is a comb in my boardshort pocket. What is it for? That's called a wax comb. The straight side it for removing old wax on your surfboard. The jagged side is used when new wax is applied, to add texture to the wax for better grip. If you don't surf, feel free to ditch the comb.
Return to the 101 Tutorial Index