Boardshorts are designed to be quick-drying and are generally made from smooth polyester or nylon material. They are durable and hold up to wear from contact with a surfboard, yet are comfortable and light-weight.
Boardshorts are normally longer than the common shorts or form-fitting speedo styles of swimwear and sometimes have a baggy appearance. They extend to the knee area or slightly above it in length. Many designs feature vibrant colorful patterns, Hawaiian floral images and highlighted stitching, however not all boardshorts have these designs.
Boardshorts are especially popular in North America and became very popular outside of board sports especially as the skater punk fashion trend got underway. They are also typically worn in men's beach volleyball. They are less popular in other parts of the world where other suit styles are preferred.
Although the basic boardshort design remains largely the same, some manufactures have taken advantage of new technology. Because surfers and other water-sports enthusiasts commonly wear boardshorts without underwear, one of the major complaints has been about the use of velcro for the fly closure which tends to entangle body hair. A solution that some manufactures have come up with is to use a neoprene fly, which does not allow the fly to completely open, but provides enough stretch so that the shorts can be easily pulled on and off. Body hair does not get caught on the neoprene fly. To remedy another common complaint, about boardshorts stitching in the inseam area which would rub directly against the wearer's skin, many manufacturers switched to a seamless design, or use welding or glue, rather than stitches. Many boardshorts designs also utilize a light, net-like material stitched to the inside of the shorts that is designed to be a substitute for underwear. Some wearers prefer to wear boxers, a jockstrap or briefs under the boardshorts.
Almost all swimsuit manufacturers and many designer brands now produce boardshorts. Some companies that specialize in the product include Billabong, Quiksilver, Kanvas by Katin, Killer Dana, Rip Curl, Speedo, surfstitch, Hurley, and Volcom. There are even boardshort-specific retailers, which offer an assortment of boardshorts to the surfing public.