The Best Boardshorts for Surfers in 2024: Top Picks for Performance and Style

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At we’ve been at the forefront of testing and reviewing surf products for over two decades! One of our favorite surf items is boardshorts.

Boardies mean warm water sessions, travel to exotic destinations, freedom, and back-to-basics hardcore surfing. But for many surfers, boardshorts are even more: they’re our identity, our go-to shorts, a way of reminding ourselves (and maybe signaling to others) that we’re not squares who wear regular shorts. In our spare time, we slide down peeling walls of water. That’s what boardshorts say.

When in an airport terminal or shopping mall, surfers give each other a knowing look when they walk past each other wearing functional boardshorts and a surf tee. It’s kind of like when two old-school VW Kombis pass each other, and the drivers throw a peace sign or nod.

So when it comes to purchasing boardies there are many choices out there. You have to ask yourself:

  • Do I want these boardies for fashion or functionality?
  • Do I care about eco-friendly options?
  • Do I prefer any particular brands, or am I open to new options?
  • How long would I like these boardies to last?
  • How much am I willing to spend?

For some of us who live in colder climates the reality is that boardies may only be used for surfing a few times a year or on a surf trip. In this case, choosing style over functionality makes sense. But you may not have to make such a sacrifice because we’ve selected the best of the best in this article.

Best Overall Boardshorts: Outerknown Apex Trunks by Kelly Slater

Outerknown is our favorite surf brand for 2024, so it’s no surprise that we’ve featured them at the top of this list. These boardshorts are more than sustainable; the company is committed to ethical practices at every step of the manufacturing process. While they are an expensive option, they are undoubtedly one of the best-quality boardies I’ve ever had. They still look great after three years and counting.

  • Material: 100% Recycled Polyester
  • Price: $279
  • Features: Four-way stretch, secure zip pocket, performance fit
  • Description: Designed by Kelly Slater, these eco-friendly boardshorts offer durability and flexibility. Perfect for environmentally conscious surfers looking for high performance.

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Best Performance Boardshorts: Xcel Men’s Drylock 18.5″ Boardshorts

Being the owner of many boardshorts, I wasn’t sure what to expect when Xcel threw a pair into the ring. The truth is: these are amazing boardshorts. They’re obviously made by surfers who spend a lot of time in the water (it’s true, Xcel is Hawaiian). They have a grippy waistband, ultralight fabric, a side-welded pocket, and a key loop. Xcel has been producing some great products, including excellent wetsuits in 2024.

  • Material: Four-way Ultra Stretch Fabric
  • Price: $69.95
  • Features: Griplock “anti-slip” waistband, 4-way channel flex action panel, welded seam technology, lasso waist lace, side welded pocket with key loop, laser cut leg hem
  • Description: Our most technical boardshorts for surfing, the Drylock boardshorts are engineered to fit, stay on, perform, and dry fast. Featuring a Griplock “anti-slip” waistband, welded seam technology, and a side welded pocket with a key loop, these 18.5-inch boardshorts offer superior fit and performance for serious surfers.

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Best Versatile Boardshorts: Orca Bossa Boardshorts

  • Material: Lightweight, Quick-Dry Fabric with Four-Way Stretch
  • Price: $79
  • Features: Lightweight, four-way stretch, quick-drying, back zippered pocket
  • Description: Maximize your beach days with the Bossa Boardshorts. These comfortable, quick-drying, and lightweight shorts are ideal for any aquatic adventure. With a convenient back zippered pocket and super light fabric, they provide maximum comfort and versatility for a full agenda of outdoor activities.

Orca is not widely known in the surf world — yet. However, with a huge following in the swimming, triathlon, and freediving worlds, you know they have mastered the art of excellent wetsuit design — we actually tested their tango wetsuit with great results! Beyond wetsuits, however, they’re producing some great surf apparel like the Bossa boardshorts. These really are your single-boardshort-quiver being perfect for yoga, running, surfing, or the mall. Mine are so light that I forgot I was wearing them.

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Best Eco-Friendly Boardshorts: Patagonia Men’s Hydrolock Boardshorts

  • Material: 87% Recycled Polyester and 13% Spandex
  • Price: $129
  • Features: Four-way stretch, durable water repellent (DWR) finish, contoured waistband, bonded seams, zippered thigh pocket with key loop, Fair Trade Certified™ factory
  • Description: Developed and tested in the world’s best waves, the Hydrolock boardshorts are made from lightweight, quick-drying recycled polyester/spandex fabric. With a contoured waistband and an innovative locking system, these 19″ outseam shorts stay in place even in heavy surf. Bonded seams prevent chafing, and a zippered thigh pocket with a key loop provides secure storage. Made in a Fair Trade Certified™ factory, these shorts support the people who made them.

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Best Durable Boardshorts: John John Florence F1 Burgee Cordura® Boardshorts

  • Material: 64% Cordura®, 26% Nylon 66, 10% Spandex
  • Price: $80
  • Features: High tensile strength, four-way stretch, quick-dry fabric, scalloped hem, C0 DWR finish, triple-needle construction, side zip pocket, key cord loop, reflective heat transfer, bluesign® certified
  • Description: The Burgee Cordura® Boardshorts are designed for surfers who demand the most from their gear. Made from a proprietary blend of Cordura® and spandex, these shorts are incredibly durable yet soft and chafe-free. Featuring a contoured waistband, quick-dry fabric, and a scalloped hem for ease of movement, these shorts transition seamlessly from sea to land. The side zip pocket and key loop provide secure storage, while the yellow utility loop serves as a handy spot for hanging sunglasses or keys. Tested extensively on the North Shore of Oahu by John Florence and his crew, these shorts are built for critical conditions.

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Best Jack-of-All-Trades Boardshorts: Free Fly Men’s Reverb Short

Material: 40% recycled polyester, 34% polyester, 17% cotton, 9% spandex
Price: $68
Features: Quick-dry, UPF 40+ protection, 4-way stretch, water-resistant, elastic waistband with drawcord, mesh-lined hand pockets, back patch pocket
Description: The Free Fly Reverb Short is a jack-of-all-trades performance short, perfect for a variety of activities. Part athletic short, swim short, and casual everyday short, it’s ready for anything from hitting the trails to an impromptu dip in the local creek. With quick-dry, water-resistant construction, these shorts dry super quickly, so you can head straight to post-hike beers without an outfit change. The ultra-soft fabric with 4-way stretch ensures comfort and freedom of movement, while the UPF 40+ offers sun protection. The adjustable elastic waistband and roomy leg openings make these shorts a warm-weather staple.

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Best Innovative Design Boardshorts: Hurley Phantom+ Block Party Renegade Boardshorts

  • Material: 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex with DWR Coating
  • Price: $79.95
  • Features: 360-degree waistband, four-way stretch, quick-dry fabric, welded seams, scalloped leg vent, reflective branding, packaged in recycled poly bags
  • Description: Our best-selling silhouette, the Phantom Block Party, just got a major upgrade. The Phantom+ Block Party Renegade 18″ boardshorts feature a 360-degree waistband for a secure fit, no matter the conditions. With four-way stretch material, welded seams to keep sand out, and a DWR coating for durability and quick drying, these shorts are built for maximum mobility and longevity. The 18″ outseam with scalloped leg vent enhances movement, making these the perfect choice for carving and boosting in the surf.

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Best Crossover Boardshorts: Lululemon Current State Board Short 9″

  • Material: 65% Recycled Nylon, 30% Nylon, 5% Elastane; Pocket Lining: 77% Recycled Polyester, 23% Elastomultiester
  • Price: $98
  • Features: Water-repellent, lightweight, two-way stretch, natural hand-feel, secure side pockets, hidden pouch with key loop, no seam on the inner thigh to reduce chafe, silicone artwork on drawcord for extra grip in water
  • Description: Designed for versatility, the Current State Board Short 9″ combines functionality with comfort. The lightweight, two-way stretch fabric made from recycled nylon ensures freedom of movement and quick drying. With secure side pockets, a hidden pouch with a key loop, and a seamless inner thigh to reduce chafing, these shorts are perfect for both water and land activities. The silicone artwork on the drawcord provides extra grip in water, making them an excellent choice for all your summer adventures.

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Best Budget Boardshorts: Billabong All Day Overdyed Layback 17″ Elastic Waist Shorts

  • Material: 100% Recycled Polyester
  • Price: $49.95
  • Features: Recycler 4-way stretch fabric, Micro Repel water-repellent coating, elastic waist with lasso drawcord, side pockets, back patch pocket
  • Description: Part of Billabong’s Still Filthy Collection, these All Day Layback shorts are overdyed for rich, lasting color and made from Recycler 4-way stretch fabric crafted from recycled PET plastic bottles. Featuring an elastic waist with a lasso drawcord for a secure fit, these shorts are perfect for beach lounging or catching a quick wave. The Micro Repel coating ensures they dry quickly and remain lightweight. With side pockets and a back patch pocket, these 17″ outseam shorts offer convenience and performance at an affordable price.

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Choosing the right boardshorts can make a significant difference in your surfing experience. These options from Outerknown, Xcel, Orca, Patagonia, John John Florence, Hurley, Lululemon, Birdwell, and Free Fly offer a range of features to meet the needs of every surfer, from beginners to pros.