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Woman surfing in board shorts

Board shorts are typically associated with men, but women love a good pair of boardies as well! Photo: Barbara Rezende//Unsplash


The Inertia

When I first got into surfing, I wore board shorts religiously. I was a big fan of the style and I liked that they helped prevent my bikini bottoms from falling down. As I invested in better bikinis I slowly stopped wearing board shorts, but recently I’ve found myself reaching for them for all the reasons I fell in love with “boardies” in the first place. Board shorts are cute, comfy, keep my bikini bottoms in place, and they often include pockets for stashing keys and wax. Here, I took into consideration what makes a good pair of board shorts and rounded up seven of my favorites.

Best Overall
Best Overall

Patagonia’s Barely Baggies Shorts are a timeless classic, and currently are all the rage in multifunctional outdoors shorts. They come loaded with features, dry fast, look good, and are easy on the environment.

Price: $59

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What Are the Best Women’s Board Shorts?

Best Overall: Patagonia Barely Baggies Shorts ($59)
Most Comfortable: Sisstrevolution Cora Boardshort ($50)
Best High-Performance: Dakine Roots Boardshort ($49)

What Makes a Good Pair of Women’s Board Shorts?

Board shorts are typically associated with men but women love a good pair of board shorts as well! All board shorts are not created equally and as such, there are a few things I take into consideration when purchasing a new pair. In my book, a good pair of board shorts are comfortable, first and foremost, since they can double as shorts or workout gear. Additionally, I want them to be cute, dry quickly, and have pockets or somewhere to store keys or wax.

Most Comfortable
Most Comfortable

Sisstrevolution’s Cora Boardshort is great for the ocean, land, and everything in between, with a comfortable elastic waistband (as well as a drawstring for heavier waves) quick-dry material, and more. I can’t stop wearing them.
Price: $50

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Comfort
When it comes to any type of clothes, especially if it’s something I wear while exercising, I’m all about comfort. Board shorts should be lightweight and breathable, both in and out of the water.

Style
Whether they sport a retro style or a more modern look, I want board shorts that look good because I plan on wearing them a lot. I often wear my board shorts as regular shorts, so I want them to be something I feel good about wearing in the water and to lunch with friends.

Drying Time
Ideally, I want to wear my board shorts in the water and keep them on for whatever I’ve got going on after surfing. And wet board shorts clinging to your skin is uncomfortable, so I want a pair of board shorts that dries quickly.

Storage
When you surf in a bikini, there’s no place to stash anything. One of the perks of board shorts is that they often have pockets or a way to attach your key – when buying a new pair of board shorts, this is something I look for.

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Some other great women’s surfwear for warmer waters includes wetsuit jackets, to layer on when the breeze kicks up, rashguards and surf suits for sun protection, and for colder waters, here’s our guide to the best women’s wetsuits.

Patagonia Barely Baggy Boardshorts

Best Overall: Patagonia Barely Baggies Shorts ($59)

Comfort: 5/5
Style: 4/5
Drying Time: 5/5
Storage: 5/5
Total: 4.75/5

Created with the environment in mind, Patagonia’s Barely Baggies shorts are made from NetPlus 100 percent post-consumer recycled nylon made from recycled fishing nets. The Barely Baggies sport a 2.5” inseam and a regular rise cut, with an elastic waist and drawcord for a customizable fit. Additionally, they feature side slits for added comfort, a hidden top-entry mesh pocket, side-entry pockets with polyester mesh for drainage, and an elastic key loop, so they’ve got storage covered. The fabric feels soft and comfortable against the skin and dries quickly.

If you prefer more coverage, Patagonia also offers Baggies shorts, which have a 5” inseam. Both of these shorts are baggy as the name suggests, so they look a bit like “mom shorts” but they still manage to maintain a stylish outdoor appeal. And for a more high-performance surf option that still looks great out of the water, check out the Patagonia Women’s Wavefarer.

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Sisstr core boardshort

Most Comfortable: Sisstrevolution Cora Boardshort ($50)

Comfort: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Drying Time: 5/5
Storage: 3/5
Total: 4.5/5

Available in three different fun patterns, the Cora boardshorts provide minimal coverage and maximum comfort. The boardshorts are made from a blend of recycled polyester and spandex and feature an elastic waist with a drawcord, so they’re easy to slip on and off. The shorts run true to size and include a back pocket for stashing essentials (it doesn’t seal so probably best to store your keys elsewhere). I’m a big fan of the elastic waistband because it’s super comfortable and the drawstring allows you to create a custom fit. Plus, they dry super quick—I’ve been wearing mine pretty much nonstop since I got them.

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Dakine Roots Boardshort

Best High-Performance: Dakine Roots Boardshort ($49)

Comfort: 4/5
Style: 3/5
Drying Time: 5/5
Storage: 5/5
Total: 4.25/5

Designed to combine comfort with performance, Dakine’s Roots board shorts seamlessly transition from land to water. The shorts are made from a lightweight four-way stretch fabric and feature a PFC-free durable water repellent. Thoughtful features include a drawcord closure, scalloped hem, and a back pocket with a key loop, which is much appreciated. I haven’t tried any of Dakine’s apparel before and I’m pleasantly surprised by how comfortable and well-made their board shorts are.
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Carve Designs Boardshorts

Carve Designs Bali Shorts ($54)

Comfort: 5/5
Style: 3/5
Drying Time: 4/5
Storage: 4/5
Total: 4/5

Made from a blend of recycled polyester, upcycled coconut fabric, and spandex, the Bali short’s sustainable design helps reduce impact on the environment. The shorts are rated UPF 50-plus and feature an elastic and drawstring waist, making them incredibly lightweight and comfortable. The Bali shorts sport two side pockets, which is much appreciated when wearing them to walk around town. The mid-rise cut is flattering, and the shorts offer more coverage than other options — they run big so size down if you like a snug fit. Although these shorts are incredibly lightweight and comfortable, the fit is slightly frumpy and they don’t stay up as well as some other options when hit with a big set.

Check Price on REI

Billabong Sol Searcher Women's Board Shorts

Billabong Sol Searcher Fixed Waist Boardshort ($46)

Comfort: 4/5
Style: 4/5
Drying Time: 4/5
Storage: 4/5
Total: 4/5

Designed to withstand even the heaviest of waves, the Sol Searcher board shorts sport a fixed waist and a front lace-up closer to ensure they stay firmly in place. The fixed, high-rise waist, solid colors, and front tie deliver a flattering retro style. The fixed waist allows for a more tailored fit, but it also provides less stretch and makes it more important to check the size chart to ensure you select the correct size. Made from eco-conscious, stretch fabric, the board shorts feature a back patch pocket for storing essential items. I like the look and durable design of these shorts, but they aren’t as comfortable as the Billabong board shorts I’ve worn in the past.

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O'Neill Women's Board Shorts

O’Neill Saltwater Solids Stretch Boardshort ($38)

Comfort: 4/5
Style: 4/5
Drying Time: 4/5
Storage: 4/5
Total: 4/5

O’Neill’s Saltwater Solids have everything you could want in a classic pair of board shorts. They feature a drawcord closure, quick-drying fabric, stretchy material, and a back Velcro pocket. The material feels a little stiff at first but upon hitting the water it is plenty comfortable and the fit is secure. The solid color is timeless and is easy to pair with your favorite bikini top or rashguard.

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Quiksilver Surf Shorty Board Short

Quiksilver Surf Shorty 3” Shorts ($60)

Comfort: 4/5
Style: 5/5
Drying Time: 5/5
Storage: 1/5
Total: 3.75/5

I don’t know if I’m late to the party, but I only recently discovered Quiksilver’s women’s line and I’m a big fan. Like most of the line, the Surf Shorty shorts have a retro feel and sport a cute, fun pattern. Made from a recycled polyester and cotton blend, the shorts are lightweight and dry quickly. Quiksilver offers matching bikinis and tees, which I personally enjoy. When I first put these shorts on I was worried they wouldn’t be comfortable enough for my liking, but once I got used to the higher rise and paddled out I found they were plenty comfy. Due to the retro fit, I found sizing a little funky, so be sure and pay close attention to the size chart to ensure you find your best fit.

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Body Glove Board Shorts Women

Body Glove Smoothies Seaside Vapor Boardshort ($48)

Comfort: 5/5
Style: 4/5
Drying Time: 5/5
Storage: 1/5
Total: 3.75/5

Body Glove’s Smoothies Seaside Vapor shorts are like a cross between an athletic short and a board short. Made from a quick-dry fabric that features four-way stretch, the shorts are lightweight, comfortable, and dry quickly. The fold-over waistband adds style points to this solid pair of functional shorts. The Seaside Vapor runs a little big, so best to order a size down if you prefer a snug fit. In the future, I’d love to try a pair with a drawstring so you could cinch the shorts tighter on bigger days.

Check Price on Body Glove Check Price on Amazon

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

 
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