What Are Board Shorts Used For?

What Are Board Shorts Used For

What are board shorts used for? All types of swimwear have different purposes, some are designed for competitions, and others are for lounging around. When it comes to board shorts, they have traditionally been used for surfing. This has changed in recent years as board shorts are gaining mainstream acceptance as everyday attire during the summer months.

You will see people wearing board shorts for social functions and casual events when the weather permits it. Board shorts have come a long way from their original purpose of being used for surfing.

So what are board shorts and what can they be used for? Board shorts offer the perfect combination of comfort, style, and functionality when you are looking for clothing options during the hot summer months.

Let’s take a look at the different areas in which board shorts have gained popularity and acceptance.

What Are Board Shorts Used For?

Although traditionally used for surfing, board shorts are now being used for many different activities and social settings. You will find board shorts being worn casually, for fitness events, physical activities such as beach volleyball, and of course, surfing.

In an effort to find the perfect pair of board shorts for a vacation or the upcoming summer months, you’ll need to know their purpose and how they can benefit you. Board shorts come in many variations and styles to cater to the growing popularity of swimwear being worn for more than just the beach.

Board Shorts for Surfing

It’s no surprise that board shorts were originally developed to assist with flexibility and movement while swimming. The very first pairs were photographed in Hawaii and worn by professional surfers who were the risky individuals taking on the biggest waves in the late 40s and early 50s.

Before then, swimwear was obnoxiously conservative, so much so that police would patrol the beach and measure the length of swimwear to ensure it was appropriate for public wear.

Unfortunately, this highly restrictive swimwear didn’t serve any benefits to the people heading out onto the water to catch big waves.

Today’s board shorts are still most commonly used by surfers, though they have also become a staple in most people’s wardrobes. There are many reasons as to why surfers prefer board shorts over any other type of style, including:


Board shorts have a fit that is unlike any other type of swimwear on the market. They have enough slack in the legs for optimal movement without being too baggy, like swimming trunks are.

Also, they have a tighter waist that is designed to sit comfortably on your hips without the worry of slippage or falling off entirely.


As mentioned, the legs on board shorts are designed to give you full control over your movements, but the fabric also has a lot to do with their flexibility.

Mostly designed using polyester, cotton, spandex, and nylon, every part of your board shorts will be highly flexible. Many even have a four-way stretch, which is designed to move with your body.

UPF Protection

When you’re surfing, you’re at the mercy of the sun, especially if it’s an overcast day. It’s imperative that you have the most protection possible, especially on your legs, as they are equally as exposed as the rest of your body.

More often than not, board shorts will come with a high UPF protection rating of 50 or higher.


Compared to any other style of swimwear, board shorts will have the longest lengths. This is because they need to protect your skin from the harshness of your surfboard.

You can easily find board shorts with inseams as long as 22 inches, meaning they’ll fall well below your knee. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about your skin chafing or getting a rash from your legs constantly grinding against the surface of your surfboard.

Board Shorts for Everyday Wear

Even though they were originally designed for surfers, board shorts can be useful in numerous ways, such as wearing them daily. If you’re the type of person who is searching for a fashionable pair of shorts to wear during the summer, these are a great option to have in your wardrobe.

The most notable development in board shorts recently has been the growth in popularity of hybrid board shorts. Hybrid board shorts combine the casual look of a traditional short with the functionality and fast-drying technology of a traditional surfing board short.

Some of the most notable advantages to using board shorts for everyday wear include:


There’s something about the style of these shorts that makes them easily adaptable to both water activities and land-based activities. Their sleek and modern fit accentuates all of your best features without being too over the top.

In addition, they typically come in an array of colors, patterns, and prints to choose from. Depending on the type of board shorts you choose, you can easily pair them with any shirt. Some styles are worn best with button-down shirts, and others work perfectly with a casual t-shirt.

Moisture Wicking

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than going out on a hot day and sweating right through your shorts. This is where board shorts prove the most useful, as they are made from materials that wick moisture away from your skin.

Not only does this feature prevent you from feeling wet and uncomfortable, but it also keeps you feeling cooler.


Likely, you don’t want to invest a lot of money into your summer wardrobe every year. Board shorts are incredibly affordable, especially if you choose brands that are known for their high-quality yet inexpensive board shorts. You’ll find that they are far less expensive than traditional cargo or chino shorts.

Board Shorts for Fitness

Board shorts are becoming more popular with the fitness crowd. You will find people wearing board shorts while doing CrossFit. Due to the newer stretchable fabrics on the market, board shorts are easily adapted to the gym.

If you are looking for board shorts that allow for more freedom in movement, then E-Board Shorts would be a good option. All of the major sportswear companies such as Nike, Reebok, and Under Armour make E-Board Shorts.

Another option for the active beachgoer is volley shorts. Similar to swim trunks, volley shorts offer plenty of legroom and comfort for beach activities such as volleyball as well as surfing.

Board shorts have even made their way into men’s physique competitions where legs take a backseat to the upper body. Wearing a pair of board shorts that complement a man’s physique is the goal of the competitors.

Board Shorts for the Versatile Swimmer

The last group of people that will benefit from the perfect pair of board shorts are versatile swimmers. These are the people who love spending time in the ocean or pool but also want a versatile pair of shorts to wear every day.

As a versatile swimmer, you’ll benefit the most from the following features:

Quick Drying

Similar to how board shorts wick away moisture and sweat, they are also quick drying. Polyester and nylon are known for their quick-drying capabilities, which means that you won’t have to wait an hour to be dry enough to get into the car after swimming.

Most board shorts will be completely dry in under 10 minutes.

Closure Options

Another feature you’re likely to notice is that board shorts come with different closure options. You can find shorts that have Velcro closures, zippers, drawstrings, or a combination.

As someone who regularly goes from the water to land, you’ll want to choose a closure that is comfortable for lounging around, but that is also secure enough for water activities.


It’s also important to consider the style, as you’re going to need a pair of shorts that look great in the water and on land. Board shorts are the most versatile type of swimwear that works for any occasion and helps you to look your best before and after swimming.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, there are many ways to answer the question, what are board shorts used for? Board shorts have come a long way from being used exclusively for surfing. There are now many different styles of board shorts to meet the growing popularity of board shorts as everyday attire.

There are hybrid board shorts that are perfect for casual wear in and out of the water. There are board shorts you can wear during physical activities such as volleyball and Crossfit.

No matter the occasion, you can be guaranteed that there is a style of board shorts that you can wear to it, and look good at the same time.

As the most versatile type of swimwear you can get your hands on, it’s easy for you to find the perfect pair for any occasion.