As soon as the summer arrives, take out your board, load that onto the back of your truck and start driving, straight to the beach. Because after months of waiting, it is time to surf!
And, as we all know, the only two things you really can’t do without are your surfboard and your single piece of garment, the board short.
Board shorts are easy to pop on, vibrantly colorful, easy to dry and they just compliments your beach persona.
But what makes the board shorts the absolute necessity that they are?
They say a board short, if made and worn properly, will make you feel that you are wearing nothing. The best boardshorts are flexible, lightweight and have a lot of room for movements. They may or may not support your private parts with added liner, but they will protect your private parts none the less.
While the board shorts originated as an accessory to surfing, their versatile nature made them an ideal piece of clothing to be used as beach wear as well as casual wear in some places.
We have prepared a list of the best board shorts, so that you don’t go on buying your board short without knowing what you actually need and what is the best you can get with your bucks.
Top 8 Best Boardshorts Reviewed
- Hurley Phantom Block Party Boardshorts – Best Overall Boardshort
- O'Neill Hyperfreak Boardshorts
- Billabong 73 Pro Boardshorts
- Quiksilver Highline Tijuana Boardshorts
- Under Armour Tide Chaser Boardshorts
- Volcom Deadly Plus Mod Boardshorts
We have taken all the leading board shorts into consideration, listed out the best among them and reviewed them extensively. The detailed reviews will help you better decide what your requirements are and which one is the best fitted for your use.
#1. Hurley Phantom Block Party – Best Overall Boardshort
- Material: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
- Length: 18″
- Recycled Phantom fabric features: 60% stretch and quick dry
- Machine wash
- Drawstring closure
- Scalloped hem for free movement
Be it any kind of water sports or activities, Hurley is a premium name in every segment of the clothing part. Their products are durable, comfortable, and always a perfect fit. Once owned by Nike, Hurley became quite famous for their sponsorship of Blink 182.
The Hurley Phantom Block Party board short is a premium board short designed and made by Hurley. The material, recycled Phantom fabric is a Hurley exclusive and is made out of stretch and quick dry material. The material feels premium and comfortable on your skin. The short itself doesn’t add any weight to your body and even in water it gives you almost no resistance.
The drawstring closure is durable and unlike button or Velcro closures, they offer more flexibility in terms of waist size. Also the scalloped hems let you have more room with your legs thereby allowing more free movement.
The premium look in the Hurley Block Party board short is an added benefit. The board short looks cool, and catches a lot of eye while you are maneuvering on your surfboard.
|Flexible snug fit||For some people, the snug fit feels too tight|
|Flexible material||No mesh liner
- Material: 89% Polyester, 11% Elastane
- Length: 21″
- Long length: 21 inch outseam
- Proprietary hyperfreak stretch material
- Anti-rash hyperdry fabric
- Side zipper pocket for safekeeping
O’Neill was the world’s first surf shop in 1952 and was dealing in surfboard shaping and waxing. The company went on to become a leading name in the surfing clothes category championing the wetsuit segment. They maintain the same top notch quality in all their products.
The Hyperfreak boardshort by O’Neill is a versatile boardshort. The length and comfort makes this a comfortable beach wear too. O’Neill was stared for surfers and it still puts a lot of effort in the design and quality of the surfing clothing. The boardshort receives continuous good reviews from the users and that is what made them so important in this list.
|Anti-rash hyperdry material||No side or back pockets, only pocket on the leg|
|Welded zip pocket||No mesh liner|
|Flex tie drawcord|
#3. Billabong 73 Pro
- Material: 80% Polyester, 13% Cotton, 7% Elastane
- Length: 20″
- Tie closure
- Machine wash friendly
- Scallop hem ending for better leg movement
- Four way stretch flexibility
- Micro repel coating to repel water
- Pocket on the back right
Australia has a lot of rich coastline, hailed by surfers around the world. Billabong, the Australian surfing company, which licensed their initial US distribution to Hurley, saw massive growth in very limited number of years. They were arguably the industry leaders for a considerable period of time.
The Billabong 73 pro, a tribute to the origin of the company in 1973, successfully holds the company name atop. The signature 73 split binding detail, the gradient stripe print design, contrasting colors at bindings and waist, all these help this boardshort stay true to Billabong’s tradition and spirit.
The boardshort looks premium and just about reaches the knee. It is neither short, neither too long and fits an average person perfectly.
The micro repel coating is effective in repelling water and thus the material takes very little time to get dry.
|Micro repel coting for more less absorption of water||Patch pocket in the back right, no water protection in pocket|
|Scallop hem for better movement||No mesh liner|
|Tie closure for better flexibility
|Ideal 20 inch length
- Material: 91% Polyester, 9% Elastane
- Length: 19″
- Recycled polyester from plastic bottle
- 4 way stretch
- Yarn dyed
- DryFlight water repellant hydrophobic coating
- Quiksilver Trim package
Quiksilver, a brand currently owned by Boardriders Inc., focuses on all things surfing. From a billion dollar revenue company to bankruptcy, Quiksilver have gone to the dust and came back. They are still a big name in the market after multiple ownership changes due to their strong product line up and quality of products.
The Highline Tijuana is a premium boardshort from Quiksilver and unlike the everyday one’s from Quiksilver, they have 9% of elastane in their cloth material. The rest 90% polyester comes from recycled plastic bottles, saves us a lot of discarded plastic which otherwise would end up in the ocean. The elastane makes them more flexible than the Quiksilver everyday boardshorts. Also, the Dryflight coating doesn’t let the cloth get too wet. So, you get a lot of surf time without feeling too wet.
You get a pocket in the back with a patch closure, so no zip closure there.
|More durable than other boardshorts||No zip closure pocket|
|Comfortable 19" length||No mesh liner
|Recycled plastic made
- Material: 84% Polyester, 16% Elastane
- Weight: 19″
- Water repellant with UA Storm technology
- 4 way stretch construction
- Chlorine and salt resistant material
- Stain resistant finish
- Quick dry construction
- Zip cargo pocket
Under Armour is a specialty company which specializes in sports clothing, shoes and accessories. The Under Armour Tide chaser series features a number of long sleeve and short sleeve shirts and the boardshorts under its name.
The Tide chaser Boardshorts is stretchable due to its 4 way stretchable construction and the Zip cargo pocket gives a lot of protection for your belonging. The salt and chlorine resistant material reduced fading and decay. The product is pretty durable and the stain resistant finish doesn’t let any stain of blood or dirt stay on the shorts.
The UA storm technology repels water effectively without sacrificing breathability. They are designed to let you stay in the water for a long time and very effective in doing so.
|Secure zip lock pockets||Gets a little see through when wet
|Quick dry construction|
- Material: 94% POLYESTER / 6% ELASTANE
- Weight: 20″
- Stone shield stretch-better water repellant
- High density heat transfer logo
- Welded zip pocket on the side
- Cinch fly technology
- Modern fit
The Volcom Company aims to be the most technologically advanced apparel maker and the Deadly Plus Mod is a testament to that. It has all the features that a boardshort needs, perfect fit, moderately long, and well designed.
The inseams and outseams are welded and are therefore significantly more durable. The zip closure is also welded so the pocket gets two way protection and durability.
However, the Stone shield stretch technology is a game changing technology. It repels water much effectively than most boardshorts and also provides sufficient flexibility. Moreover, it reduces friction with your body.
The technologies incorporated in these pair of boardshorts give them a unique standing among the other boardshorts. And, those are interested in new technology apparels, will feel inclined towards this.
|Welded seams and inseams leading to more durability||A little less flexible due to less elastane|
|Welded zip pocket for secure belonging|
|Highly water repellant
- Material: 91% Polyester, 9% Elastane
- Weight: 20″
- Designed for: Recreational Scuba Divers
- Available in multiple fabrications
- Standard fit for comfort in and out of the water
- 20″ outseam i.e up to knee length
- High hip zipper
- Machine washable
Rip Curl is a surf-apparel and accessories manufacturing and retailing company. With a vision to become the ultimate surfing company in all the segments they cater to, Rip Curl became one of the leading surfing companies across 5 continents.
The Rip Curl Mirage Core boardshort gives a lot of choice to the buyer. You can choose solid uniform colors as well as patterns with contrasting waist bands. Also the high polyester content provides more durability that survives the roughest sands and waves.
The waterproof zippered pocket keeps your accessories secure. And, the 20″ length makes it ideal even for swim. So enjoy your beach day regardless whatever you do in these shorts.
|Multipurpose use: swim short or boardshort||Less elastane, less stretchable|
|High polyester content, so more durable
|Waterproof zippered side pocket
- Material: 85% Polyester, 15% Elastane
- Weight: 20″
- Designed for: Amateur to semi-professional Scuba Divers
- 4 way performance stretch fabric
- DWR water repellant coating
- Throwback scalloped leg
- Contrast solid waistband
- A lot of color options
RVCA is a brand owned by Boardriders Inc., which also owns Billabong. The Boardriders quality is maintained across their brands. The water repellant coating keeps the water away from the shorts.
The design follows industry top standards, with scalloped leg, and side pockets. But, there is no zipper to protect the pockets.
The material itself is comfortable and feels nice on skin. They stretch when you need them to stretch. The length is very appropriate and fits well. A lot of people have been using RVCA products for a long time and they are more than satisfied with their purchase.
The design particularly feels very premium and catches a lot of eye.
They have a lot of repeat customers who own other RVCA products as well and they are pretty vocal about their good experiences with RVCA.
Some users complained that the logo peels off after some period but they are not very common.
|Very comfortable with ideal polyester elastane ratio||The logo peels off after prolonged use|
|Good looks and defining style||Dated velcro closure of pocket
Top Pick – Our Favorite Boardshorts
All the best boardshorts are durable, lightweight and the materials are water repellant and quick dry. They all provide a varied degree of flexibility with their elastane mix and polyester material. Also the design provides a great deal of comfort and flexibility. Like Hurley’s Phantom Block Party’s scalloped hem allows more free movements of the leg.
Some companies, being environmentally responsible, are making boardshorts from recycled PET. Billabong announced they will be switching to 100% recycled PET for all of their products in coming days.
The 4 way stretch is also becoming a necessity in the boardshorts and all the leading boardshorts are stretchable.
Considering all the features, the Hurley Phantom Block Party seems the ideal choice for a boardshort. This one is a little snug to the point that it sits perfectly around your waist and legs and stretchy enough that feels comfortable around your legs.
The Hurley boardshorts have always been famous for their perfect fit, and distinctive sober colors. The block party boardshort carefully follows the Hurley specific features and delivers on it.
While acknowledging that Hurley Block Party boardshort is the best among the lot, we cannot rule out the O’Neill Hyperfreak and Billabong 73 Pro. They both provide utmost comfort and all the best features.
Best Boardshort Brands
While Hurley Block party boardshort is our top pick, Billabong and O’Neill is not behind at all. The Hurley brand originally used to sell all the Billabong USA products and from there the Hurley brand came into being.
Billabong still leads the market with their stylish, fit and environment friendly boardshorts. They are in the headlines again as they announced they will be switching to 100% recycled PET for all the boardshorts production.
Billabong is owned by Quiksilver who also has its own line of beach and surf wear. The Highline Tijuana from Quiksilver is one of the best boardshort in this list and all the products from Quiksilver conform to the best industry quality.
Patagonia is another new age company who deals in activity clothing and has a range of high quality boardshorts.
While you may have personal brand preferences, all the leading brands have extremely high quality products in varied price ranges. With Quiksilver, Billabong and Hurley leading the pack, the boardshort industry is full of reliable brands.
Buying guide to Boardshorts
If you are trying to buy a boardshort, wait!
Don’t just go about buying the first thing in sight. Read our detailed review of the top products and then decide. In our reviews we have mentioned all the technical and user details, so that you can compare between boardshorts of different companies and choose for yourself. The boardshort mentioned here have different lengths and you should decide what length you are comfortable in. Also the seams and hems are of different design and you should also decide what kind of design suits you.
All the top boardshorts are available in different colors. Choose one that goes with your personality and compliments your physique as well your surfboard, if you are going surfing.
Material: The 100% polyester product is rigid and leaves almost no room for flexibility. They are more durable and if used for every day, they provide better value. However, it is now industry standard to use some quantity of elastane to increase flexibility.
Flexibility: Some percentage of elastane present in the material provides some degree of flexibility. More the elastane, more flexible the boardshort is. However more elastane leads to shorter life of the material. Hence a fine balance of elastane and polyester is needed for optimum comfort and durability.
Closure: Drawstring closure is now industry standard for the flexibility it provides in the waist region. The other kinds put unnecessary pressure on your waist line or feel loose because of the fixed waist measurement.
Length: The length of the boardshort varies between 19″ and 22″. While the sub 20″ boardshorts are just above the knee, those with more length cover the knees as well.
Before you take the plunge and buy yourself a new pair of boardshort, remember to follow the buying guide. Check all the key factors first, and then check if that fits you properly, is not too tight or too baggy. Check the available colors, find what suits you and you got yourself a fantastic new pair of boardshorts which will serve you well in years to come.
And a new boardshort will definitely lift your mood up and motivate you to work out and don the perfect body while surfing.
Happy Boardshort, happy surfing!
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):
Q1: What should I wear under the board shorts?
A1: The mesh liner, if fitted in your boardshort, gives you all the required support, so you don’t need to wear anything under your board shorts.
Q2: Is the waist band elastic in all the boardshorts?
A2. Although you can find boardshorts with elastic waistband and Velcro closures, the best ones are usually not fitted with elastic. They have a drawstring closure for more custom fit with increased durability and flexibility
Q3. Are they too tight fit?
A3. The best boardshorts are form-fitting and are a bit of a snug. But, the elastane provides enough flexibility so that you don’t feel too tight wearing those boardshorts.