Complete Boardshorts Tech Guide 2013
The aim of a technical performance board short is enhance comfortability, whether this be un-restricted movement (Stretch), Stop or reduce rashing (Welded Seams), Dry Quicker Fabrics for less drag and again comfortablity (no one likes to walk around in wet boardies all day) or many more features such as lycra fly closures to stop irritation from velcro and so on
Following many years of specialising in technical performance boardshorts we thought it would be great to share our knowledge to help guide you to your perfect boardshort.
Stretch - is comfort - Stretch is a must in a pair of boardshorts, Technical boardshorts offer this using various fabrics depending on brand, Whether this be Stretch Fabric or Stretch Panels with the aim of no restrictions and ultimate flexiability of movement, but premium fabrics also have the remarkable memory to maintain shape.
Construction - of boardshorts are ever develping to provide surfers and consumers with great comfort, stretch, ever lighter and quicker drying! Some of the most Technical boardshorts have welded seams which is as they say "Welded" and not stitched, All to prevent rashing and binding making your time in the water a comfortable one. Quiksilver have their Diamond Dobby Fabric (Embossed Diamond Fabric on the inside reducing skin contact, weight etc, Hurley and their Phantom material, designed by Nike for their olympic swimming team, Billabong have their Quad X and so on..
All with an aim to maximise comfort, be lighter, dry quicker and increase durability.
Quick Drying - H20 Repellent - All boardshorts are essentially quick drying but there are some that are faster drying and even some that are water repellent. This water repellent coating is slowly being introduced into more and more boardshorts every year. This is a good thing! Once you have had a short like this it would be hard to go back.
Fly Closure - Velco, Zips, Buttons, Neoprene or Lycra. All brands use most of them somewhere in their collections. In Premium boardshorts it is mainly a lycra or neoprene fly, with an aim to offer no bulking or discomfort in "that area". Hurley have their EZ Fly system, Quiksilver, their Neo Fly.......
Drawcords - Originally it was a shoe string to keep up your boardies in the older days, but nothing can escape technology. Now brands have developed their own versions of Silicon / Rubber inprinted drawcords, which offers extra grip and security and that peace of mind in those extreme sessions.
Pockets - A controversial area in Premium boardshorts, some say lots of pockets, some say none. After all, the same boardshorts are worn by Pro Surfers, and because boardshorts are made for them, both brands have developed ways of making the pocket discrete. This is by pockets being "welded" on "not stitched" with welded material on the inner of the short to stop irritation or rubbing on the leg.
WHAT IS PHANTOM FABRIC?
Phantom is stretch fabric able to give an uninhibited full range of motion, an incredibly lightweight feel, and quick drying comfort. Originally used by Nike-sponsored European Olympic swimmers and proved revolutionary when Hurley designers worked with athletes like Rob Machado and applied it to boardshorts in 2007. With attributes like four-way stretch up to 120 percent, water repellence and minimal weight, Phantom quickly became the gold standard for high-performance boardshorts. Since then, Phantom has won the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association Boardshort of the Year for three consecutive years (2008, 2009 & 2010).
This material is arguably the most advanced fabric available on today's surf shorts.
Phantom Boardshorts – containing technology for which Hurley recently received a US Patent – are the latest example of this commitment. “When we tested our first pair of Phantoms four years ago, it felt like we just walked on the moon,” says Hurley VP of Design Ryan Hurley. “It was on a whole new level performance-wise. Phantom is a result of our relentless drive to make a better boardshort".
Watch Ryan Hurley explain the history behind the fabric
Phantom can be broken down into four categories Phantom 60, Phantom 120, Phantom with Nike Flywire and Phantom 4D....
Phantom 60 makes up the largest part of Hurley's boardshort collection, with all the same features as the Ultimate 120 fabric such as water repellency, light weight, less rubbing just with 60% stretch ability. (Which still offers an unbelivable range of motion). With the Phantom 60 comes some of the best designs we have ever seen on boardshorts, Hurley are very close to their roots and artists are often used to create some amazing pieces such as the Geo, Galaxy etc..
Phantom 120 are designed for men who need more specialized boardies. They have 120% Four Way Stretch engineered for performance, the lightest boardshorts ever, No Inseam giving zero chafe, DWR Water Repellent Coating and Hurley's EZ Fly patented Velcro less closure. The Phantom 120 is the original Olympic swimmers fabric and is the fabric that Hurley has won the "boardshorts of the year". Most boardshorts on the market today have 5% to 10% stretch. Some competitors have stretch fabrics, but the Hurley Phantom with Nike Flywire’s 120% four-way stretch truly paves the way for true performance.
Phantom with Nike Flywire
Flywire is a technology originally developed by Nike to decrease weight and add structure to track shoes. The high strength threads bring stability just as cables on a suspension bridge provide support and strength precisely where it’s needed.
In 2008, Hurley Design Director Ryan Hurley saw its potential to replace traditional lace and grommet board short closures that tend to ride up and shift around the waist of the wearer. The benefits of wearing Hurley Phantom with Nike Flywire include:
- The ability to move more confidently through powerful water, thanks to the stability that Nike Flywire provides
- More effective and commanding movement because the boardshort is lightweight and lacks bulk
- The boardshort can outlast any competitors because it doesn’t have metal grommets at the waist that are known to tear and degrade fabric over time.
Phantom 4D - The Next Dimension of Innovation
Incorporating Nike Flywire technology, Phantom 4D features a first-of-its kind "biomimic" waistband that moves with the body. The modified Nike Flywire cables provide stability and engineered compression zones to keep the shorts in place while the body is in motion. Just like a Chinese finger trap.The 4D waistband is welded, providing minimal bulk and water absorption, and includes the EZ Fly closure.
Phantom 4D also features Phantom technology, including 4-way superstretch fabric made from 100-percent recycled polyester and performance water repellency for minimal absorption and reduced weight. It contours to the body and has seamless welded construction, making the Phantom 4D the most comfortable high-performance boardshort to date.
Artist James "Dalek" Marshall created a striking visual language for the product inspired by the waistband innovation. "We wanted to articulate the technology," says Marshall. "If the idea is to create a boardshort that moves as you move, then the graphic needs to reflect that connection to the body.".
Rip Curl's MIRAGE Boardshort collection, now in its 4th year of evolution. The technology used in these boardies is mind blowing, so much lighter, stretchier, and faster drying, Rip Curl have used ground breaking Elastostretch 3 fabric which is beyond 4 way stretch, they have superlight welded STL seams, their lightweight drawcord flex fly, with silicon treatment makes it lock together when tied meaning no more fumbling between sets !!!!
Curved inseam gusset, moves seams away from critical rash areas, so no more rashing and much more comfort. Along with Hydrophobic Repellency keeping you dry, so lighter and faster in the water. Rip Curl's MIRAGE has proven to be the Ultimate Boardshorts....