You should look for three things in a swimsuit: comfort, cut, and color. Nobody likes uncomfortable shorts—especially when you’ll be sitting in sand or battling waves—when it’s hot out. The right length is vital in choosing the right pair, too. If they’re too short, you’ll end up with a strange tan line; if they’re too long, you’ll end up with an even stranger tan line. Finding the right in-between will leaving you looking, and feeling, good.

While comfort and cut are equally important, arguably, the most important criteria is color. Summer is about bold prints and bright colors; black boardshorts will make you melt and white ones will get disgusting. Find a print or pattern that suits you. Here are the nine swimsuits worth considering this year.


J.Crew 9” Board Short in Fern

J.Crew isn’t a brand any surfer would recommend, but, for someone lounging on the beach or simply reveling in a summer’s breeze, J.Crew makes some good-looking boardshorts that will turn heads. This pair, in a red “Fern” print is perfectly paired with a crisp white tee. $70



Mollusk Surf Shop Ojai Trunks

Mollusk Surf Shop is a  legendary surfwear supplier in California. The famous Ojai Trunks are color-blocked in endless variations, but the best looking pair are the Navy and Nippon Blue. They feature a Velcro fly and a tie waistband, two side and one back pocket, and the signature Mollusk pennant patch. They’re equal parts vintage surfer and stylish summer choice. $68



Bonobos Banzai Trunks

This pair of swimtrunks, from Bonobos is not a surfer’s choice, but it’s the beach-goers best friend. They fit well and are perfectly patterned—seasonably, too—without being garish or corny. The cut is flattering and stylish. $88



Mowgli Surf Opal Eyes Shorts

Like the best skate brands, surf ones are equally tongue-and-cheek. They’ll play on vintage surf archetypes—tie-dye, patterns, and bleach-dye—without succumbing to the faults of the look. Mowgli Surf makes the perfect pair of horizontal tie-dye trunks; they’re hand-painted, pre-shrunk, and guaranteed to “make you cooler” (their words, not ours—but we second it). $55



Birdwell 808 Board Shorts

These Birdwell 808 Board Shorts are covered in “Frogskin Camo,” a camo that’s more fashion than tactical. They’re sandy, on-trend, and look absolutely astounding with a ragged white tee, gold jewelry, and a tan. Maybe even skip on the shoes—but if you’re not on board with that, white Vans will do. $79



RVCA Luke Pelletier Trunks

If you remember the sound advice given in the intro, bold prints are distinctly meant for sunnier days. These RVCA Luke Pelletier trunks, in bright yellow and floral print, are a special canvas edition of RVCA’s iconic, researched trunk. There’s a bungee loop for your keys, a faux fly, and a double welt back pocket. $55



Patagonia Wavefarer Volley Shorts

Patagonia is the O.G. in all-terrain wear. Their latest front, surfwear, feels far from a first try. The Patagonia Wavefarer Volley short, in Berryl Green, is a cool, perfect-for-the-public-pool look. You’re not anywhere tropical, nor should your nicest shorts dip into this abyss, so you bring your Wavefarers and dive head first. They’ll do their job, and you won’t have to worry about them at all. $69



United By Blue Upstream Boardshort

The Upstream short by United By Blue is the “business-casual” of boardshorts. They wouldn’t look out of place at an oceanside lunch; they’d look at home in the ocean. They’re covered in a near-paisley print and accented by colorblocked pockets. They have a little stretch in them, too, so they’ll be perfect for all day wear. $68



Saturdays NYC Ennis Shorts

Saturdays NYC is, yes, a NYC-based surf-inspired brand. It’s no front, and the proof is in the product. Their Ennis shorts in Mauve and Ivory are color-blocked, comfortable, and made with quality in mind. The essence of these shorts is luxury, but the price tag isn’t bank-breaking. $85

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