View Full Version : Surfing in shorts?

Stijn Hommes
11-16-2009, 01:19 PM
Since I don't know the first thing about surfing, I figured I'd ask this before I fully flesh out the idea. From what I understand, most surfers wear wetsuits when they hit the waves, presumable to keep warm if they get swept off to open sea (or in a cold climate). Does that mean that wearing swimming shorts while surfing is only really practiced in hot climates like Australia and Hawaii? Does anyone have any other ideas for suitable surfing locations.

One of the scenes I have in mind needs to take place right after a surfing session and the characters don't have time to take off a wetsuit (I know a diver, so I have a good idea how complicated getting in and out of one is), so I'd rather get rid of wetsuits in the story, period.

11-17-2009, 04:07 AM
I'm from Southern CA. The surfers I know where wet suits in the winter, but in the summer they wear board shorts and those thin rashguards. Check out the Quicksilver surf shop online to get an idea.

11-17-2009, 04:17 AM
I live in Oz, and I've had a grand total of three surfing lessons in my life, so I'm no expert. But here's what I've observed - even in the warmer climes, surfies might wear wetsuits to keep warm if they're planning to spend hours in the water.

Many wear rashies (rash shirts) to keep from getting sunburnt and to protect the skin when lying on the surfboard. (I wear a rashie whenever I go to the beach anyway.) I think they also help prevent rubbing the wax off the board. Unlike ski wax, surf wax is applied to the top of the board, and it's sticky, not slippery; its purpose is to improve grip.

Both wetsuits and rashies can help protect swimmers and surfies from bluebottle stings.

11-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Let's Go Surfing (http://letsgosurfing.com.au/) is a surf school on Bondi Beach, Australia. Looking at their website might give you some ideas. From what I can tell, most of the students are wearing shorties (knee-length wetsuits) and rashies (the red shirt).

Incidentally, swim shorts are called boardies in Australia. (Short for "boardshorts".)


Stijn Hommes
11-17-2009, 03:19 PM
Thanks for the help everyone. I think I've got the whole clothing thing sorted out. I need a warm area and make sure my characters aren't in the surf for too long to avoid them getting cold.

Based on your comments there is a lot of surfing jargon I simply never heard about, can anyone recommend a good website or book to plug that hole in my knowledge?

11-17-2009, 05:46 PM
Gulf coast of the US - almost never wore a wetsuit in the water in the summer.

11-18-2009, 06:30 AM
Wetsuits are for the weak, apparently. Here are cover photos of real surfers, back when. Swim shorts is the fashion of the day.

Also, dig that groovy typeface!