Gear Review: The Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer® Board Shorts

Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer Board Short

It may sound ridiculous that we would review board shorts … What is there to say?! And why spend $69 on what you can get for $25 and even get a Corona design on it at no extra cost! The answer? They’re better for anglers’ needs.

While they are found on the Surfing section of their website, the Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer® Board Shorts are the perfect choice for fly anglers. Perhaps the fact that they are designed for the high performance surfing styles of watermen like Keith Malloy and Kohl Christensen make these shorts an essential piece of  surfing “gear” that have evolved over the years to be the perfect board short. These shorts have undergone an evolution of fit (for example, length) and material to get them where they are now.

So where are we now? Let’s first look at fit. The 21-inch outseam has become the go-to length in many Patagonia board short styles. Perfectly not too long and not too short, they are loose-fitting enough to be comfortable and not feel constricted. In addition, the waist-band adjusts to a comfortable, snug fit. And when the waist is wet, you won’t suddenly be wearing a short that is several sizes too big. You can maintain a single tan-line at the waist with these puppies!

Then there’s the material. The nylon/spandex blend offers UV protection (40 UPF) and is quick drying. And in dry climates, these shorts are incredibly quick drying, seeming to hold very little water once submerged and often drying so quickly that you’re dry (or only mildly damp) and ready to go quickly. This also means the shorts do not get too heavy when wet.

Perhaps one of the greatest selling points is the “stretch” ability of the shorts. Stretching in shorts is a new(ish) craze in the surfing world that is relevant for fly anglers as well. While you may not notice the stretch when pulling on the shorts with your hands, you may in fact recognize the stretch when you are working your best yoga moves to get over the edge of the boat for that tarpon or when you are engaged in some sort of other athletic maneuver. Active anglers want clothes that give a little.

Lastly, the right side of the shorts feature a small pocket with a tiny zipper. This pocket (and zipper) is small enough to not get in the way or frequently catch loose line, but it is also large enough to hold at least your phone, and most likely your phone and wallet (unless you are George Costanza). Additionally, there is a key loop in the pocket to lock in your car key so that when you go for a swim, you don’t need to worry about losing your keys.

To check out the Patagonia Stretch Wavefarer® Board Shorts, please click here.


– Tim Harden


Disclosure: Patagonia is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.

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