June 16, 2020

There are articles of clothing that have achieved iconic status as beachwear without a doubt. You can count board shorts among their number. Whether you’re serious about surfing or just out for a day of sun, these casual icons are the go-to swimwear choice for guys of all ages. They not only serve a functional purpose for surfing, but they’re also flattering to many physiques. When you are ready to expand your wardrobe of hoodies, rash guards, wetsuits, speedos, and volley shorts with a pair of new arrival board shorts for beach season, it’s important to consider exactly what makes great board shorts. 

Men’s Board Shorts: A Short History

When you’re spending a lot of time in saltwater waiting for a wave to ride, chafing and skin irritation is a problem that’s waiting to happen. So early on, surfers realized that it was important to keep sensitive areas like the insides of their thighs covered up. Astute California surfers in the 1940s bought navy surplus sailor whites and cut them off at the knees to create shorts that offered more protection than the swimsuits of the day offered. Voila, the first board shorts were born.

Board shorts have been with us in one form or another ever since. And since best seller fashion always seems to follow function, new product designs and aesthetics have come along with every new generation of surfers (and regular old beach lovers). So even if you’re wearing the latest style, made from the most advanced fabrics, you’re carrying on a proud tradition every time you slip on your favorite pair. 

The Four Elements of Great Board Shorts

There are four elements that will always be present in a quality pair of board shorts. Let’s dig in and take a look at what they are. 


Whatever you’re doing at the beach — catching a wave, kicking a boogie board, paddling a kayak, playing sports, or just hanging out — board shorts that stretch and move with you are important. Remember, board shorts aren’t just for show, they need to perform and move with you as well.


Your day at the beach probably includes more than just soaking up the sun. Factor in driving and hauling gear, then add your time in the water, playing volleyball, taking a walk, and more. Then, as the sun sets, there’s a trip to your local watering hole to admire the sunset. Your board shorts need to set the bar high for all-day comfort.


With a packed schedule like the one above, you want to be sure your board shorts are built to take it, day in and day out for the entire season and beyond. You’ll need shorts that boast durable materials and quality construction. And the materials in your board shorts need to hold up against the challenges of sand and sun, plus the rigors of chlorinated water in your local pool. Quite a challenge!  


Our fourth element is actually a combination of the previous three, namely performance. Shorts that move with you, are comfortable, and are built to last are shorts that you can count on to provide true athletic performance. That’s something we should ask of all the pieces of athleisure clothing we buy. 

The Details That Make a Difference

If your board shorts don’t incorporate the elements we just looked at, keep looking. But how do board short makers achieve these elements when they create a pair of board shorts? Keep your eye out for these important details. 

  • Skip the liner. Most swim shorts and swim trunks are made with a built-in liner. That’s something you won’t find on quality board shorts. The liner simply provides another opportunity for chafing, so out it goes. Pro tip: never wear underwear under your board shorts, especially cotton. It’ll just soak up water and weigh you down. Going commando is the only way to roll!
  • 4-way stretch. Keep an eye out for this feature. Just because the suit incorporates some lycra and an elastic waist doesn’t mean it will really move with you. Board shorts like Willy California’s 802 The Board Shorts incorporate 4-way stretch for ease of movement.  
  • Quick-drying fabrics with water repellency. Leave the water in the ocean, and don’t haul it around with you when you reach the shore. Quick-drying board shorts will be more comfortable when you’re strolling on the beach.  
  • UV protection. Board shorts with UV protection built-in will help preserve your hide through many sunny summers. Look for shorts with at least a UV 50 rating (and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen, too!)
  • Antimicrobial fabrics. Who wants to pull a funky pair of shorts out of the drawer? Antimicrobial fabrics will keep your new board shorts fresher for longer, and they won’t harbor nasty bacteria that could infect a cut or scrape. 

Board Shorts That Fit Your Style

If you’re associating board shorts with some of yesteryear’s garish designs, you should check out the many styles and looks now available from trusted athleisure brands like Willy California and others. You’ll find a variety of colors, styles, and inseam lengths. Follow these simple tips to pick a pair that looks good on you. 

  • Inseam length. Men’s inseam fashions rise and fall with the tides. Choose a slightly shorter inseam if you’re short to avoid accentuating your lack of height.   
  • Pockets. If you’re going to be wearing your men's swimwear out and about, and not just in the water, the addition of a pocket or two can be a handy touch. 
  • Fly or flyless? Traditional board shorts don’t have a fly to close the waistband, but as with pockets, you may want to consider men's swim trunks with a fly to make your beach shorts as versatile as possible. 

Board Shorts for the Win!

Whatever is on your wish list — shredding a wave or sipping a cocktail; spending the day to layback in the sun or a night at your favorite beach bar — great board shorts will keep you comfortable and looking good. Remember to check out your men's shorts for stretch, durability, and comfort, and the board shorts you select will perform for you.  

If you are a hyperfreak about your swim gear, and are ready to up your game at the beach or pool, be sure to shop with a brand that you can trust to provide you with quality gear. Visit Willy California for high-quality best selling athleisure wear that offers free returns, faqs, and updates on your order status.