O’Neill’s Psychofreak boardshorts
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So you’re going to the tropics. The surfboard is bagged, the speargun packed, and you have enough nightmare-inducing Larium to keep four-foot-tall tricycle-riding vampire possums haunting your dreams for months. You’re set for a first-class water holiday, but if you forget your boardshorts, you’ll end up beached.
O'Neill's Psychofreak boardshortsO’Neill’s Psychofreak boardshorts
With literally hundreds of different boardshorts to choose from, picking the right pair—or any pair—can be overwhelming. But with their Superfreak line, O’Neill has made buying boardshorts easy. As the recipient of the 2004 Surf Industry Manufacturers Association Product Innovation of the Year Award, the Superfreak shorts have been recognized as some of the best boardies in the biz.
For three and a half weeks, I surfed, dove, and slept in a white-and-green number called the Psychofreak, which were as comfortable in the water as out. While boardshorts of the past are mostly static, thanks to its four-way stretch fabric and the neoprene side paneling (cut from the same material O’Neill uses for its wetsuits) the Psychofreak is flexible, offering a greater range of motion.
Thankfully, O’Neill has forsaken the Velcro fly, the worst news for pubic hair since hot wax. We can only hope other companies follow suit. Instead, O’Neill uses a folding fly with a draw string to keep the shorts tight. Though the system cinches snugly, it’s not exactly intuitive. I have never seen boardshorts that require six-step tying instructions, and while lacing up for the first time, I actually wondered if my surfing would be better served with an engineering degree.
But in the water the shorts felt fantastic, and I didn’t get any of the leg rashes that often come with five-hour sessions. One complaint I do have regards the pinner pocket stealthily stitched into the back waistline. It’s barely big enough to hold the small wax comb/fin key that comes tucked in it, and there are no other pockets on the shorts. While no pockets offer a smooth feel, it’s nice to have the option of carrying essentials like wax or sunscreen in the water, or a wallet and cell phone on shore. But this is a minor gripe about an otherwise superior pair of shorts. My friends, however, have one more suggestion: for its next line, O’Neill might want to consider making the white shorts a bit more opaque. They become a little too revealing when wet, and there aren’t any prizes for the wet-boardshort contest. $58, www.oneill.com