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Boardshorts (occasionally in British English, swim shorts) are a style of men's and, recently, women's summerwear. They were originally developed for aquatic sports, specifically for surfing, but in more recent years they have grown in popularity outside of these sports, and have become a popular form of general beach and summerwear.
The name of "boardshorts" originates from their affiliation with aquatic sports that use a board, such as surfing. They are sometimes called "boardies" in slang, especially in Australia, and "baggies" in South Africa.
Boardshorts are especially popular in North America and spread beyond surfing 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.
Use and design 
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. They are well-adapted to their use in various active watersports.
Boardshorts do not have an elastic waist like many swim shorts do; instead they have a more rigid waistband which opens at the front, often with a velcro fly. The waistband is also held together at the front with a lace-up tie. This double fail-safe system is in order to ensure that the shorts cannot be pulled off the body by the force of the wave when a surfer is tumbled under water during a wipeout. Another common feature of authentic surfing boardshort design is a very small pocket sealed with velcro and vented with a grommet. This is designed to be a secure place to carry a car key or house key while in the water.
Boardies are normally longer than many shorts or form-fitting speedo styles of swimwear, and sometimes they have a baggy appearance. Boardshorts are longer than normal shorts for one major reason: surfboards are covered with a layer of sticky wax, which allows the surfer to stand on the board without slipping off. However, this wax can rip leg hair off the surfer when he is sitting on the board waiting for waves. Long boardshorts cover the back of the leg when sitting on the board, preventing the wax from ripping at the leg hair. The length of boardshorts is also affected according to fashion trends; ranging from mid-thigh (old school) to below the knee, covering the entire knee. In the 2000s, boardshorts often are worn low in the back, exposing the top of the buttocks. Many designs of board shorts use vibrant color, Hawaiian floral images and highlighted stitching; however not all boardshorts have these features.
Although the basic design for boardshorts remains largely the same, some manufacturers 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 pubic 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. Pubic 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. Although it is very common for boardshorts to be worn as is, some male wearers prefer to wear compression shorts, boxers, a jockstrap or briefs under them. Some female wearers wear a swimsuit or bikini bottom under them, however, many prefer styles that have a liner due to the fact that women's boardshorts are often much shorter than men's.
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (July 2010)|
Some companies which have specialized in creating boardshorts for surfers for many years are:
- Body Glove (Southern California)
- Birdwell Beach Britches (Southern California)
- Hurley (Southern California)
- Kanvas by Katin (Southern California)
- Killer Dana (Southern California)
- O'Neill (Santa Cruz, California)
- Volcom (Southern California)
- Billabong (Australia)
- Quiksilver (Australia)
- Rip Curl (Australia)
- Ocean & Earth (Australia)
However, almost all swimsuit manufacturers and many designer brands now produce boardshorts.