by Gerry Lopez
If you've browsed the men's board shorts collection on Patagonia.com, you've no doubt noticed, and probably wondered about, the Men's Cotton Board Shorts. Gerry Lopez gives us some background on these very unique (especially in today's market) surf shorts:
Our board shorts line has a new addition with a long history. The Patagonia Cotton Board Shorts, or Palaka shorts as they were originally known, come with a special heritage in not only the surf world but old Hawaii as well.
When I started surfing in the late 1950s, Palaka shorts were one of the earliest fashion statements of an emerging surf culture. Surf shorts were a hard thing to come by back then, none were available commercially. Surfers in the know would go to specialty Japanese tailor shops like Take’s in Waikiki or H. Miura’s in Haleiwa to order a pair of custom fitted shorts. More often than not, the material of choice would be Palaka cotton. One of the reasons for choosing this print was because many of the best surfers in Hawaii already were wearing it. But also because it was a sturdy fabric that was comfortable after several washings and would last through many years of hard use. It must be remembered that surfers of that period wore their shorts all day, every day, every month throughout the year. These shorts, quite literally, were lived in.