Winter is almost done, and it’s close enough for us to be peeling off the layer of neoprene and start thinking about sliding on boardshorts as the water warms up – unless you’re in Vicco or somewhere. This Buyers Guide for Boardshorts should help with what choices are out there for you.

We generally split up our Buyers Guide for boardshorts between tech and ‘regular’, but given the difference between top line tech and run of the mill boardshorts are negligible at best we figured we’d lump it all into one buyers guide for boardshorts. And that’s what we got right here, it’s lengthy with 15 pairs to choose from, and they run from $250 for Outerknown to $50 for needessentials – should have everyone covered.

We’ve picked these boardshorts based on a few factors –
*Stretch/tech – its still important – don’t want your nuts falling out mid-surf
*Price – given current economic climate, we all need to be smarter with our cash
*Brand Rep – history shows the reliable brands always show up.
*Fashion – do like the look of them. A subjective point at best, so what we picked might not vibe for you, but it’s what we think is the best for the wide ranging tastes of the consumer out there these days…

Time to dig in below –




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boardshorts buyers guide outerknown

“Designed and tested by Kelly worldwide on more than a few knee-highs. We’re saying goodbye to overflowing landfills, and hello to next-level recycled materials.”

The Apex (Kelly Slater) trunks from Outerknown won our light hearted ‘boardshorts of the year’ award back in late Dec. Why? Because they are, in my opinion, the best boardshorts on the market. They are also the most expensive by a long shot and if the award was for best value boardshorts, these would not have won (hello, Rip Curl).

If you have the cash to splash and want the best, then get these.




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“The Florence Marine X Weld Boardshort is an ultra-minimalist, 4-way stretch trunk made from quick-drying recycled polyester. A thin, welded waistband hugs the short to the body, while a smooth cire interior helps reduce chafing during long periods in the water.”

These look good on paper, in images and of course John rips in them but I’m not yet sold on them. So I bought some, they should be here next week to test/review. Will let you know more then. Specs look good tho and I can’t imagine after years of having to wear 22inchers that John is going to make a shitty pair of trunks now that’s more in charge…

Rip Curl



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Buyers Guide for Boardies

“The 10M Ultimate Mirage Boardshort is made for you know who. Apex competitor, freakish talent, and Mick Fanning verified good-guy to boot… “

While we claim those Apex boardies from Outerknown as the best in market, I’d gladly say that Rip Curl have been making the best value boardshorts for a hot minute. While I haven’t tried these Medina ones, the MF ones I’ve used are always comfortable, functional and do whats needed. I’d say for $120 it’s a steal, but spending over $100 on boardshorts today is a wild scene in my mind these days.




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“Hyperfreak 4-Way Super Stretch. 20″ Leg Length. Water Repelling SIGMA Fabric”

These look nice enough and if I’m going off previous O’Neill shorts I’ve used odds on they’re pretty good, and these have been updated this year with the new O’Neill ‘No Tie Fly’ which looks interesting (haven’t used though).

We’ve been testing a pair of these for a few months now and are suitably impressed. The ‘No Tie Fly’ is interesting and you’re fit needs to be spot on to maximise the comfort, but it’s all something we’ll expand on later in the actual product review for these boardshorts.




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Finisterre

“The Badlands are our go-to boardies for summer surf and long days spent on the beach. Named for our rugged home stretch of coastline, the Badlands are made with a quick drying 100% recycled Nylon fabric, to help you dry out ready for the next session. With an 18″ leg, secure rear pocket and adjustable draw cord waist, the only other thing you’ll need is decent waves.”

Newcomer to the boardshorts guide, Finisterre is a brand that’s long been on my radar but I haven’t done a lot around them on this site. Their boardshorts aren’t groundbreaking in anyway, but they are recycled fabric and look good. And if you’re in Europe are more affordable then if buying from Aus.




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Roark

“The ideal combination of 4-Way stretch body paneling with non-stretch durable Nylon in the back and through the waistband. Nylon Cordura ® adds durability for extended wear. The Boatman exceeds the demands for any abrasive situation in the surf without sacrificing mobility.”

I’m a Roark fanboy, not scared to admit it. I’m digging them the last couple of years. I love, probably more so today, the travel aspect they slice into their narrative and apply it through garment production. Their Boatman trunks are built strong – 4 way stretch with Cordura – so will no doubt last a while. $110 feels like good value, but if you’re buying because of the cordura, maybe check Rip Curl 3-2-1 at $10 less.




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Buyers Guide for Boardies

“Built for pinnacle performance in the water, our most technical boardshorts are fast-drying, superlight and feature four-way stretch for unrestricted freedom of movement while surfing, kitesurfing or bodysurfing. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.”

These are a pair of super well thought out boardshorts. Amazing fabric, great cut, environmental considerations. If you consider the high performance of these things, they should be up there with your first thought when wanting to buy a new pair of shred shorts.

We reviewed these last year, and since there doesn’t seem to be an update I imagine this review still sticks – if you want to know more, head here for the review.




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Billabong

“Built to the way you surf, the D Bah Airlite Boardshort features three unique performance fabrics seamlessly engineered into one, to give you stability, flexibility, and comfort where you need it most. Made with airlite recycler stretch fabric in a jacquard weave and reduced seams for an enhanced, comfortable fit.”

Long gone are the days that Billabong are dropping $200 tech trunks (remember those jacquard ones?). The Dbah Airlite at $90 is pretty increase in value for you, the consumer, I like to think anyway. The Airlite program from Bong is solid and you’ll get a good pair of trunks.

No word if using these will have you surfing like Ethan though, sorry




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Quiksilver

The Highlite from Quiksilver is their pinnacle performance boardshort at the moment. They have 4 way stretch fabric, are made from recycled plastic bottles and have a plant-based hydrophobic coating.

These ones in particular were the same trunks Kanoa surfed in on his way to a Bronze Medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Part of a collaboration with Mr Tokolo that encompassed not only boardshorts, but also caps, jackets and more.

This collection is designed to celebrate the connection between all the mountains, waves and individuals that make up the whole of boardriding culture.




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Vissla

“There’s no saying goodbye to Hawaii when you keep it with you everywhere you go. Here’s the trunks to remind you, a premium 4-Way stretch boardshort made with recycled polyester Repreve and coconut fibers. Styling includes an island vibe fabric with back pocket and integrated key rope and a 18.5″ out seam”

I like what Vissla are doing, in and out of the water. You should buy more of their stuff to keep them growing and able to re-invest into shapers, surfers and grass roots events. Start with these boardshorts – $90 – made from Repreve and Cocotex they come with a tethered waistband, 4 way stretch and a DWR coating that 100% PFC and Fluorocarbon-free.




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Volcom

“Look to the lighter side of summer with the Treader Stoneys. These sustainably epic surf trunks are made with the eco-friendly wonder Fibre that is hemp, this 19″ medium length outseam, 4-way stretch boardshort features signature double woven patches, back flap patch pocket, and Stoney Cinch Fly.”

Volcom make good boardshorts, can’t argue that fact. So you should feel comfortable knowing if you buy a pair ($80 is value) that you’ll get a solid pair of trunks to surf, sloth, swan about in. They have the typical performance metrics all trunks are measured on these days – 4 way stretch, uniquely named fly and eco-fabrics.




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Banks

Banks Journal took the win in Stabs Best Boardshorts of the Year earlier this year. So while I hadn’t ever thought of them of true performance trunks, other people did. I’m happy to admit my faults and can honestly say after going out and getting a pair, these boardshorts are quite, surprisingly, very amazing.

The pair I bought aren’t these ones on show, but going off the tech specs they’re all roughly the same pair of boardshorts just with slight differences/names. You’ve got fabric that is 90% Recycled Polyester 10% Elastane, and recycled polyester drawcord, recycled polyester woven labels.

For $80, you’re doing pretty good here. Especially if you’re chasing something that isn’t big brand labelled.


Still Surfing


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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Rusty

“Joining the planet friendly range, are the still surfing boardshorts. Made from recycled x-flex tech, doing your bit. A solid dye keeps it simple and our tie waste keeps them on the hips. With taped internal seams, all of 18inch out seam keep you chafe-free.”

I’ll be honest here, I’d forgotten about Rusty as a brand who made boardshorts. I’d just thought of them as boards, but these ‘Still Surfing’ boardshorts are impressive. Simple, clean and to the point – 4 way stretch from recycled materials and taped internal seams – these shorts are hard to pass up on paper. If you’re chasing something pretty clean looking, it’s hard to pass these up and at $80 they offer some pretty good value.

Project Blank



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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Project Blank

“Made from 93% recycled material, our high performance 4 way stretch fabric is constructed with 8 plastic bottles recycled into every pair. A classic regular fit and 18 inch leg length will see them sit just above your knee. They have a rear pocket to stash your goods so you can live in these boardies all day.”

Project Blank is the newest brand in the price point space that needessentials first started playing in a while back. They’ve been making inroads with their wetsuits – have heard they’re pretty good from friends who’ve used them – and I would assume their boardshorts are in a similar space. Good value, good price, good product. These ones tick all the basic boxes of stretch, eco-materials and a clean look/cut. If you’re at this price point it’s either PB or NE, choice is yours.




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Boardshorts Buyers Guide - needessentials

“The needessentials Lightweight Boardshort is designed for comfort and freedom while you’re surfing. Featuring the highest quality non-abrasive lightweight 4-way-stretch fabric for comfort and flexibility, a 19” leg length and adjustable waistband with multiple eyelets. The foldaway pocket allows you to pack these boardies into their own pocket for when you’re travelling light or just want to have a pair of boardies stowed and available.”

You know we’re big fans of needessentials and their play in the price point space of surf gear. From suits to boardshorts they really have you covered these days. These shorts have you covered with the majority of what you’re chasing in shorts when surfing – 4 way stretch, recycled fabric and a simple no fuss look. At $50 these are the most affordable option in our guide and are probably up there with the more expensive options in terms of performance. Review to follow…

If reading our Buyers Guide for Boardshorts hasn’t quite tipped you over the edge into warmer water thoughts, here’s something to give you some extra froth about surfing in the warming, flexible vibes that summer brings. The latest ‘life is better in boardshorts’ clip from Billabong.

These clips are always entertaining due in part to the all star team line up that Billabong runs at the moment, that and the waves they get in this clip as well. Enjoy