Rusty didn’t invent it, we certainly haven’t perfected it. But we’ve been making them for a damn long time and we think we are pretty close to perfecting them. Tech in boardshorts these days is as abundant as SUP riders at your local beach. Almost every pair on the shelves have WAY too much tech in them. There was a time where we think every company was pushing out boardshorts that were pretty much wetsuits (just peep the freaking swing tags on them). They cost about as much as one as well.
While they all zigged, we zagged and moved in a different direction. We went back to where it all started, for us at least. Surfboards. Always. Come. First.
For us it’s always been about having the best performing board under your feet. A board that gets out of your way. Moves, turns, gains speed as you need it, you shouldn’t have to think about it. Like your joystick on Kelly Slater pro surfer.
With that in mind we wanted to come up with series of boardshorts just like that. Shorts you don’t need to think about when surfing, lounging or living. Because, lets be honest - not everyone is dragging their corpse through the QS. A lot of us just do this shit for fun.
LIGHT. COMFY. STRONG.
Our three pillars of boardshorts. We designed this three tier system to cover the 100% surfing boardshort. The short you can surf in, gets the job done, but also good enough for the Sunday BBQ, and your daily driver. Good enough for sleeping in. Essential for pool time.
Now what has this got to do with the history of the boardshort, not a lot to be honest. Just wanted to see if you’ve read this and been keeping up.
As far as the history goes. The first Boardshort was worn / used / created around the 1950’s in Oahu, Hawaii, where it all began for surfing (go figure). Before that, it was your junk out in the elements. Caveman style. Which makes me think, what was the reason as to putting clothing on in the first place? Did Captain Cook shame our poor mates in Hawaii, did a bloke have a run in with an overzealous fish? Did someone get a mental sunburn on their butthole (the OG sunning trend begun here btw). Who knows.
Fast forward a few decades and some weird full suit James Bond style cozzy’s later. They ain’t coming back anytime soon. The early 70’s surf was pulsing and the industry begun churning out a few small companies coming out of Torquay, Sydney, the Goldy and over in Southern Cal (Quiky, Billabong, Hang Ten, Gotcha ) and even the Target old faithfuls, Stubbies.
Competition between brands ensued, but the result was the first set of technical boardshort to hit the surf with revolutionary Velcro technology and high scalloped sides! WOW!
By the time the 80’s came around. Surf was kinda booming (we don’t actually know, weren’t born then) and pretty much everyone but Stubbies had a dog in the race. A LOT of styles, colours and variations came out, flooding the market with some weird and wonderful options. Mambo came into the race and blew up the scene with some of the sickest artwork to date from a brand. The stuff that Richard Allen, Paul McNeil, Reg Mombassa and Jeff Raglus came out with nothing short of brilliant. To this day some of their art would ruffle the feathers of our dear lefty friends.
Going a bit faster now, it’s the mid 80’s and the 90’s that we rocked up and threw our hat into the race. Rusty, started by our overlord Rusty Preisendorfer in the mid 80’s, started out with surfboards and then eventually working his way in the apparel game in the late 80’s then eventually boardshorts in the early 90’s. Small run stuff for his mates. Eventually bringing the brand globally in the early 90’s.
We didn’t really dabble into that early 90’s trend of the neoprene board short. Rusty is and always will be a bit left of centre, and looking like stupid sexy Flanders on a surfboard wasn’t our aesthetic. We did however dabble in messing with the length of the boardshort. Hem lengths back then changed more than one of Branno’s board sprays. They kept dropping and dropping and dropping til the point they became short longs as opposed to long shorts (sorry, not sorry).
The complete opposite to where we started. You can still see a few dads rocking this short length, just head down to the local pub and divert you eyes down for a brief history lesson. Mental set ups.
Here at RDot, we just watched the big dogs duke it out with all the weird shit and picked up the stuff we liked and swooped in when they were done, Stephen Bradbury style.
Then we hit the new millennia! Boardshorts at an all-time low. Like, real low. Ass cracks out and everything. The early 2000’s saw Hurley bringing the boardshorts to an absolutely insane place with Nike level tech (ahh makes sense). Knits, gen infused string ties (we got these now… ten years later) Stretch fabric, quick dry tech. They improved the short, fine tuned it and kinda set the course for what a modern boardshort is today. Respect.
If we’ve learnt anything in the last 40 years its that the boardshort works similar to the elastic band. Pushed to its limits but eventually returning to its flaccid, un-adulterated self. 2020 finds us with the perfect 19 inch not too long, not too short length. The right amount of stretch in the fabric to get the job done, not too light, not too heavy and not a million bells and whistles that you don’t need and costing you more than a small car and which certainly ain’t going to make you surf any better.
Stop reading the BS and go grab your sled and belt one out at the local.