Performance, stretch board-shorts have been all the rage the last few years, adding to the tech battle between surf brands that has been going strong in the wetsuit category for decades. For some it’s a bit of a mind fuck trying to figure out which ones are best for you, so we’re going to take some of the pain out of it.

It’s been a pretty crazy decade for technical boardshorts to the point that now even the mid-range ones are pretty legit, but we’re here for the top of the class. Everyone has stepped up their game, with a handful of brands really breaking through key aspects of what makes an amazing pair of boardshorts to surf in.

Below is our pick of the best technical boardshorts that are available right now…

Outerknown Apex

$250

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Technical Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Outerknown Apex by Kelly Slater

“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.”

I like Outerknown, and what they’re doing. These Apex shorts look good, the price tag does not. But I’d take a hit on the price knowing they’re doing their part around sustainable/environmental practices.

Plus, 31 five star product reviews can’t be wrong…

Quiksilver Highline Pro

$200

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Technical Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Quiksilver Highline Pro

“Constructed with a new wave block (19inch), designed in Highlite® 4-way stretch fabric, and finished with a DryFlight® water-repellent hydrophobic coating.”

The Highline looks like a new silhouette/material combination and runs, imo, the perfect length of 19inch.  The short is most likely really light given how thin it looks (which may also result in a dick drape). Video and extra info on the product page should answer most questions.

Hurley Phantom Hyperweave

$150

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“The Hurley Phantom Hyperweave Men’s 18″ (45.5cm approx.) Boardshorts are created for endless comfort in the water, delivering a lightweight, adaptive fit that won’t slow you down.

Not a lot of info on the product page, but Hurley have a solid rep in boardshorts with the Phantom range so you’d be shocked if these actually sucked. Digging the red colorway too…



O’Neill Hyperfreak Hydro

$150

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Technical Boardshorts Buyers Guide - O'Neill Hyperfreak Hydro

“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, but if I’m spending $150 I’d love a little more info on what/why I’m spending that much on the product page.

Rip Curl Mirage Mick Fanning

$120

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Technical Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Rip Curl

“The Mirage Mick Fanning React Ultimate 20″ is part of 3x World Champion Mick Fannings exclusive collection. Make of an advanced tech ES5 fabric, fitted with Surf Grip and finished with welded critical seams.”

Maybe not the most tech’d out shorts here, but I can tell you these will most likely be the best all-round technical boardshorts you’ll own. The last two pairs I’ve tested were a good, comfortable short I could wear and surf in all day.

Billabong Fifty50 Airlite

$105

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Technical Boardshorts Buyers Guide - Billabong Airlite

“Airlite engineered multi-tier stretch fabric boardshort in our signature 19″ Performance fit. Featuring micro repel, silicone hip grip detail, welded seams, silicone locking drawcord, engineer print, lazer cut pocket, die cut heat transfer at pocket, wave mark transfer at bottom leg and internal waist.”

On a purely visual point of view, I like these the most. Clean with a little bit of color. Tech-wise there’s not much info outside what we included above, but considering they’re $105 (down from $150) I’d be less concerned about the info and more stoked on the price.