Finding that perfect pair of boardshorts seems easy at first, right? Just find a color and the right waist size and go for it? Well, there are more aspects to a boardshort than just color and waist size. A wide range of styles can be found across different boardshort brands that all fit and perform different. Let’s breakdown some of the the technical aspects of a boardshort. 

fit and length

This mostly comes down to personal preference. Generally the fit is relative to the lenght. While for years it was standard to have a 22″ boardshort, a lot of brands have starting making varying lengths and fits. The waist is still generally measured in inches and should be similar to your jean size. In some cases you might see a S-M-L-XL size range, so look for an appropriate size chart to see what waist size matches.

  • Shortie/Modern Fit: These are generally 18 inches or shorter. The leg will generally be slimmer as well to give a more tailored fit. 
  • Mid Fit: Generally between 19 and 21 inches. You are getting to slightly wider opening on the leg and adding length. This provides more mobility while maintaing a little more of a fitted look.
  • Long Fit: These are your 22 inch boardshorts. They provide maximum movement and mobility. They will be looser fitting throughout the leg as well as have the additional length. 


The most common material is a microfiber polyester. This is a lightweight and quick drying material. Also very comfortable to wear. Some brands will also have a super suede which also be quick drying but not as light of a material. Brands that exploring the bounds of stretch material will also include spandex to increase this. Eco friendly materials such as bamboo and recycled polyester are also on the rise.

Some companies add a antimicrobial coating to the polyester that helps keep your boardshorts smelling sweet. This helps fight odor causing bacteria from building up on your boardshorts in between washes. You find this on some of the higher end boardshorts. 


Stretch enhances the comfort and range of motion of the short. Surfers and active people alike need that extra range of motion without the short constricting their movement. Brands have taken stretch to a whole new level. From 2 way to Volcom’s 6 way stretch you have a lot of options out there. Different brands will have different levels of stretch. Here are two key types:

  • 2 Way: The boardshorts will stretch horizontally to add mobility. 2-way stretch can be found on less expensive shorts. 
  • 4 Way: The boardshorts will stretch both vertically and horizontally giving you a full range of stretch motion. 4-way stretch is found on more expensive boardshorts.

Some shorts will have a percentage value such as 120% percent stretch. The number simply means how much the material can stretch. The higher the number then the more it can stretch. This can help increase comfort and mobility. If you haven’t worn a pair of 4-way stretch shorts yet, you owe it to yourself to try it. You might put them on and not wear anything else all summer long.