The Best Summer Shorts

Anything less is like kicking sand in your own face

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photographs: Glen Montgomery | Stylist: Mandy Nash

You could do worse than take swimshort advice from a man born in Amanzimtoti. Someone who spent his formative years in a puka-shell necklace and for five years patrolled the beaches of the Wild Coast in nothing but a pair of red municipal-issue, quick-dry lifeguard shorts.

Instead of making my shorts story any longer, I’ll simply share what I’ve learned from my years spent at the beach. Because crafting your summer beach body and knowing how to escape a riptide aside, the best way to enjoy your holiday is to ensure that you’re cool and comfortable at all times.

If you feel good you’ll look good, and a holiday spent in ill-fitting swimwear is a holiday wasted. Same goes for having to retreat back to the cabana to change pants every time you want to switch from one beachside activity to the next.

Shop Superbalist for trunks that are as good for catching rays and ducking waves as they are for making plays and slaying baes, then use our summer swimshort brah tips to ensure you buy the best boardshorts for your best holiday ever.

Respect the shorts

You subscribe to 17 different sneaker mailers with push notifications so that you know about the latest drops, and are prepared to stand in line in an attempt to win a raffle so that you may be allowed to purchase a pair of limited edition kicks. The last time you bought a pair of jeans you first made a spreadsheet tracking the benefits of selvage versus stretch denim. So then why would you neglect the shorts you’ll spend your summer holiday in? Put some effort in, man! Buy the type of shorts that when those summer 2016 photos appear in your Facebook memories three years from now, you’ll want to repost them despite a questionable haircut and a dad bod.

Find the right fit

Baggy, oversized and shapeless shorts hanging over the knee and halfway down your ass won’t do you any favours. If you’re a big dude they’ll look like a circus tent and if you’re skinny they’ll make you appear even more waifish. Plus, when you sit your junk is going to peep out. Use our handy boardshort guide to find the right fit for your body and you’ll always look good regardless of how little time you put in at the gym.

Go commando

Even guys with GP number plates know that wearing underwear under your swimshorts looks tragic. In fact, the only thing worse than a bluebottle sting or dropping your ice-cream is seeing quick drying material kept moist by telltale underpants. If you really need to keep your assets locked down then opt for a pair of shorts with built in netting underwear, or something in a thicker cotton instead of a lightweight microfiber.

Stand out

You don’t have to be a Muscle Mary pointing to imaginary ships on the horizon or the guys playing Ultimate Frisbee to get people on the beach to notice you. Wear something larger than your usual life, safe in the knowledge that pools and beaches are places where you can rock bold, even garish prints and bright colours proudly.

Or don’t

Big patterns and prints will draw attention to your belly. If you’re carrying a case instead of showing off a six-pack you should opt for a solid colour, with a wider waistband that won’t squeeze your gut.

Versatile style

Quick-drying shorts can go from beach to boardwalk easily if they have pockets and you switch out flip-flops for sneakers and your vest for a printed shirt. The right accessories will help your swim shorts make it onto dry land, so pay attention to what you wear your swim shorts with.

Yes, accessories

When everyone is dressing so simply it’s the little details that will help you to make a splash. They’re also functional. A hat keeps the sun off of your face. Flip flops stop you from burning your feet. A backpack allows you to carry all your stuff with you. A watch shows that you have taste and saves you from having to squint at your cellphone screen every time you want to check out when you should reapply your sunscreen... If you’re not a watch guy then put something else on your wrist: a leather band, a piece of rope, last night’s festival bracelet - something that catches the eye and shows that you care.

Do something

The beach is not your bed. Do you know why Brazilians look like they do? Because Brazilians don’t sleep on the beach, and instead they’re playing beach bats or dancing or standing in groups and chatting while playing keepy-up with a tennis ball… Doesn’t matter if you call your shorts surf trunks, swim shorts, baggies or boardies, they’re made for movement, so don’t just lay there in them, get up and play.