The Classic Boardshort: Birdwell Beach Britches
A time-honored classic like Converse, Ray Ban or Levis.
We like transparent marketing. In the era of Instagram, the 45th prez, emojis and perpetually-shrinking attention spans, the ability to plug a history lesson into a one-minute-forty-second advertisement is admirable.
Enter Birdwell Beach Britches, founded in 1961. These were the trunks your grandpa wore.
They were classic nylon. They were olive or navy or red. They were elegantly simple. And they still are.
As an FYI, A classic boardshort works just as well above the lip as it does if you’re into the tickling the nose of longboards.
Our wetsuits, our cars and our surfboards all decay with age. Nice to own some surf paraphernalia that goes the other way.
Every brand needs an identity. Just as PF Flyers allowed Benny the Jet to run faster and jump higher, Birdwell was a pair of boardshorts you only had to buy once. Quality, as they say, is their gimmick. If you’ve ever owned a pair of Beach Britches, you’ll attest, just like those PF Flyers, they’re best when broken in, and one pair will last you a half-decade (or more). Like the best denim (and Benjamin Button apps like Uber or Spotify), age is your friend.
In full transparency: As you can probably see by the few banners around the site, Stab has just started a small commercial relationship with Birdwell. We approached the Birdwell after ordering product online and being highly impressed. On recent trips of Stab staffers to different sides of the Pacific (El Sal, Fiji, Mainland Mex), we found the Birdwell 311 to be the perfect boardshort. We opted for the original SurfNyl, Birdwell’s proprietary two-ply nylon version (they also have a stretch version). These things don’t stretch at all, they handle four-hour surf sessions with ease and contrary to what you’d expect, don’t rash. The fabric was originally inspired by boat sails and can take decades of wear. So much so, Birdwells are guaranteed for life: a seam, a stitch or a grommet breaks, they’ll fix by hand in their Californian factory.
Back in the mid 60’s, Steve Pezman, publisher of SURFER Magazine (1971 to 1991) turned publisher of the Surfer’s Journal was approached by the Birdwell founders. Looking for a way to market the budding boardshort brand, he coined their slogan, “Quality is our gimmick” – a juxtaposition which held enough meaning that you’re hearing about it today.
It’s a kinda insane concept. Almost as if it’s a boardroom-inspired concept for a new artisan surf brand, whereby you’re creating a laundry list of unscalable attributes before you scale: Californian-made, with a lifetime guarantee, in a classic silhouette that stands the test of time and fashion spikes.
Hit the triangle above for an advertisement worth your time. Or, click here and prepare to spend a little more (we paid $USD120) and build yourself a bespoke pair, with your own colour palette and badge layout.
Handmade Californian cliches aside, these boardshorts also work even if you drive a European car or enjoy performance surfing on a Mayhem or JS.
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