The 3 Rules of Board Shorts You Should’ve Known About All Summer

A Hollywood Starmaker’s Guide To Style (Part 2 of 2)


If the President knows the rules of board shorts….shouldn’t you?

You know that feeling you get when people compliment the cool car you drive, or your hair cut, or maybe you’re really good at going to the gym and working on your physique, and people always notice that six-pack you strive oh-so hard for?  No?

Ok, how about that feeling you get when you rattle off sports statistics and serious insight into how your favorite college football teams are going to do this season, or maybe you don’t receive validation through any of those ways.  Maybe you receive it from your insight into political or economic wisdom?

I’ll stop here. The point I’m trying to make is we all have different talents, skills, wisdom, artistic abilities, etc. and we’ve all felt better about ourselves on some level by sharing this info and receiving praise from it, right?  If we’re really being honest, I’ll admit that since the 4th grade, when this kid Cameron told me on the first day of school he thought I was the coolest dresser at Meadows Elementary, I have always strived to seek acceptance/validation through something I know how to do, and it’s not sports statistics. It’s dressing well. Read on if you’re curious about whether I might have something helpful to share…

I’ve seen some really, REALLY bad board short catastrophes in the summertime, so I thought I’d impart my saving knowledge to any of you guys who are gonna sport board shorts at the beach, the lake, or an end of summer pool party in the next two weeks.  I grew up in Manhattan Beach, Southern California, one of the biggest surf and volleyball playgrounds in the world.  I’ve spent thousands of days at the beach and observing and participating in beach fashion, and there’s 3 board short rules everyone knows:

article-2260928-16E0E589000005DC-195_634x655Rule #1: DO NOT WEAR UNDERWEAR UNDER YOUR BOARD SHORTS

This is what happens when you spend your life looking at the bottom of the pool.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone from the Midwest meet me at the beach for volleyball and they take off their shirt to reveal a worn pair of Hanes tighty whities poking out the top of their trunks. Board shorts are made to be worn commando. Don’t believe me? Then believe the thousands of surfers and beach dwellers who live near the beach, not you Mr. “I just got off the plane from Missouri” and only go to the beach once every other year, but I know better.


Still don’t believe me?  Then believe the hundreds of local California girls who are laughing behind your back about it.  Even if you think you’re cool in your black Calvin Klein boxer briefs, you’re not.  Save those for when you’re wearing jeans or shorts.

Now if you’re one of those guys who can’t run commando in trunks because your junk gets in the way, well then fine, buy a pair of trunks that have the built-in underwear for support.  Notice those built-in underwear don’t peak out the top of the shorts like a diaper.  Or if you must, wear a speedo underneath your board shorts.

article-2316950-198CC448000005DC-762_634x863Rule #2:  DON’T BUY BOARD SHORTS WITH ELASTIC WAIST BANDS

Why you ask? Cause it looks cheap, and it looks like you bought them at Old Navy, and it looks like you must fluctuate in body size if you need a pair than can grow and retract with your ballooning weight size. Harsh? Yes, but being dressing cool and hip isn’t child’s play. So why wear the same expandable elastic bathing suit your 6-year-old nephew wears? When it comes to size (how high above or below your shorts should end) or color and pattern, almost anything is game.

Men’s swimwear is one of those rare clothing items where even if you normally dress conservatively, you can actually wear something a little loud, or obnoxious, flamboyant or funny because you’re at the beach, or a pool, and life isn’t meant to be taken so seriously in these moments. I buy 1-2 new board shorts every Spring, partly because I’m a bit of a clothes whore (ok, a lot a bit) but also because I like having new options each summer and am usually bored of last year’s pair by then.

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This is a practical tip, not just a style tip. Board short rash anyone? Even if you’re in a beach town, you take a few minutes and go home to change before hitting the pier for the night.  You think a girl is gonna want to talk to you after you’ve been free balling for 12 hours? Pack a bag with some extra shorts or jeans before you head out to the lake or your pool party. No one wants to catch a whiff of your all day ball stink when they go out at night.

You can tell me how to workout, what teams I should root for, who to vote for, what to eat, and which music I should download, but when it comes to style, listen up.  These are 3 easy rules for board shorts.  I’m writing this now to make sure the beach isn’t destroyed from your poor choices next summer.


For part 1 on the rules of denim, click here.

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28 Responses to The 3 Rules of Board Shorts You Should’ve Known About All Summer

  1. Will September 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Now, I’d like to see a blog post about socks. I see so many offenders. I think it’s time we address this.

    • Kris Wolfe September 15, 2013 at 12:34 am #

      Will, you have the best sock collection in LA. You are the man for the job!

  2. ben September 17, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    do you surf? if you are surfing in warm water (no wetsuit) you have to have something under those board shorts!

    • Kris Wolfe September 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      Thanks for visiting and commenting Ben. The author is adamant you don’t need ’em, but please share with us otherwise!

    • Mikael November 9, 2013 at 4:20 am #

      Hey guys, just wanna say that I come from the Philippines and there’s nothing better than surfing commando.

      • Beachhawk October 17, 2017 at 3:28 am #

        Yeah it might be fun until a hungry shark thinks your junk looks like a large worm or small eel..

    • Shane January 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      I agree, it may become a hard situation if you don’t.

    • audrey November 28, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      Have you seen the board short liners from Original Waterman? My boys love them. They wear them under the board shorts. They claim they don’t get rashes any more, they help keep them warm and they fit great under their wet suits. My oldest son claims they don’t ride up. The designs are so different.

    • Trevor September 7, 2021 at 11:54 am #

      Hell yes you do! An Army buddy of mine fell off his board while surfing commando in board shorts at the OBX and landed on top of a Portugese man o’ war jellyfish and it went up the leg of his shorts and stung the hell out of his junk.

  3. Tom November 20, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    Sorry Ryan, but I have to disagree about going commando in board shorts. It’s just not comfortable. And I’m not going to be uncomfortable because I’m worried somewhat might think I’m lame. Guess what? I live in southern California, 4 blocks from the beach. My life is great, and I could not care less what someone else thinks.

    • jake February 21, 2014 at 1:42 am #

      I agree with Tom. I need support especially when being active at the beach or behind a boat. Commando is uncomfortable.

      • Tato January 30, 2019 at 8:04 pm #

        Being with your balls wet because you’re wearing underwear is too, and it is cold.

        • Trevor September 7, 2021 at 11:46 am #

          I wear a Bike Performance jockstrap under mine. The pouch is made of microfiber that is quick dries quickly and keeps my junk from flopping around.

  4. jennyct July 29, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Lol – millions of women wear racer back tanks with bra straps hanging out and no one cares, why should they care about a pair of underwear showing… You might also choose to wear a spandex rash guard to protect those of us who don’t need to see your junk while you’re in the reclining position.

  5. ABeagleKnots January 1, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    My only complaint is with light or solid colored board shorts that are so thin and revealing that you can tell whether a guy is circumcised.

  6. Ian October 16, 2015 at 4:14 am #

    Going commando is the only way to go for me but I’ll wear jammers underneath boardies if the risk of me going into the water is only what it normally is as a lifeguard at a pool and will therefore most likely be dry at the end of the day.

    I guess if I worked at Bondi it’d be a different story.


    • audrey November 28, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

      As a woman I hate it when guys show all when they don’t wear something under their board shorts. Those new board short liners at Original Watermen or jammers would solve your problem.

  7. Bill January 26, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

    Why are you wearing hoard shorts if you don’t surf…cannot stand long ass shorts when tryn to get sun

    • Anay April 8, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

      Audrey it appears that you are being ignored (looks that way) listen up boys….always listen to the females and heed their advice!!

  8. Franklin Miller July 15, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    The best board shorts I’ve ever owned!

  9. Chrys Williams July 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    Summer is the best time of the year, and you have to be comfortable in what you are wearing!

  10. Jade Brunet October 27, 2016 at 11:21 pm #

    It is good to be better informed about the rules of board shorts. It is good to know that one should not buy board shorts with elastic waist bands. It would not be good for them to slip off in a climactic moment. Something else to consider would be to find desired shorts for a price within your budget.

  11. luishunt15so August 4, 2018 at 9:23 am #

    good to know about summer..!!?

  12. luishunt15so August 17, 2018 at 7:51 am #

    I agree with these 3 Rules of Board Shorts, guys who are going to wear sport board shorts at the beach, the lake, or an end of summer pool parties don’t break the rules

  13. Tom August 25, 2018 at 5:12 am #

    Is it okay to wear hybrid shorts when the sun goes down?

  14. kieran byrne December 10, 2020 at 3:54 pm #

    That was hilarious and informative … great stuff.


  1. A Hollywood Starmaker's Guide to Style (Part 1 of 2) | GoodGuySwag - September 20, 2013

    […] Editor’s note:  Ryan Daly is a Hollywood manager and film/TV producer who works in entertainment and fashion.  He complains all the time about everyone asking for his style help before events, parties, etc., so I asked him to write a blog for all the good guys out there.   Read part two for Ryan’s take on board shorts here. […]

  2. Should You Be Wearing Something Underneath Your Board Shorts? | Von Asten Apparel - February 8, 2014

    […] The lining in board shorts is missing for good reason, but the lack of mesh lining also has proven slightly problematic since board shorts were first introduced in 1973. Without the mesh barrier, some men find the shorts’ inner seam to be irritating. The seam rubs against the skin and can cause discomfort, especially when moisture is involved. Wearing seamless board shorts or shorts that are produced using an adhesive instead of stitching can save some uncomfortable chaffing. Another concern some guys have with board shorts is hair getting caught in the Velcro fly. To solve this problem, board short are now available with neoprene flies. If you still feel uncomfortable after trying these innovative design options, perhaps layering is a good idea. […]

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