Surf shorts, also called board shorts, can be worn on the beach, in the water and around town. They are worn by female surfers to prevent the waves from pulling at their bathing suit bottoms, plus board shorts provide coverage and protection from sun and salt. Surf shorts are usually made of polyester or poly microfiber, though some are made with a small percentage of spandex for maneuverability. Leading surf brands such as Roxy, Volcom, Billabong and Patagonia have developed shorts in lively, colorful prints, and some shorts are reversible. Most have front-tie closures, and they come in three lengths.
Long board shorts have inseams that come to the middle of the surfer's knee when standing. A longer inseam helps to give extra protection from sun, salt and chafing. Patagonia's Girona Board Shorts are a fine example of function-meets-fashion shorts. It has a floral design, a 12-inch inseam and a zippered pocket with drain hole, and it is made with 7 percent spandex. (Average price in 2009: $60)
Regular surf shorts are midlength shorts that can be used not only for surfing but also sailing, kayaking and swimming. These usually come to the surfer's midthigh. They have a long enough inseam that they don't ride up while surfing but are at least half of the height of long shorts. An inseam of 4 to 6 inches is common for all-around regular surf shorts. Oakley's Flowering Surf Boardshorts, as seen above, are one example. (Average price in 2009: $45)
Short shorts are more of a fashionable item for surfers to wear. They still have the benefit of protecting your bikini bottoms from being pulled down by a wave, but they show quite a bit more skin. If you are working on a tan, then short surf shorts with an inseam of about 2 inches might be for you. These are also good when it's extremely hot out because they are usually lighter weight and dry extra fast. Roxy's Dreamweaver shorts are a perfect, colorful example with an inseam of 2 1/2 inches. (Average price in 2009: $35)
Article Written By Naomi Judd
Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.