Review | Hurley Phantom

Board shorts.  There are just some things men do not invest enough in and sadly swim trunks are probably on the top 10 list for most.  I for one felt like this only until a couple of weeks ago.  Packing for Washington, DC, I gather beautiful button downs made with the highest of quality and pants custom tailored to my fitting, but when it came to swim shorts for the indoor pool, I was left with two options; the outdated, cliché floral swim shorts back from 05′ and a size too big, hideous green shorts which I bought when I realized how ugly the floral shorts were.  Now, they’re both embarrassing reminders of what my swimwear game used to be, stuffed in the void of my closet, hidden.  What lays neatly folded on my shelf and in front, the gatekeeper of the void, is the Phantom.

It was a little over two weeks ago when I received an email containing a code and instructions, I was given an opportunity to customize my own Hurley board shorts.  But I let that email sit as I pondered, giving my ‘creativity’ time to run wild.  I was thinking leopard print this and zebra print that, 3M flash here and snakeskin trim there, I wanted to put everything in one small piece.  It’s like a doughnut, if you will, yeah the jelly doughnuts, Boston cream and maple bar are all delicious on its own, but it’ll take a bad palette to enjoy a ‘jel-ton bar’ doughnut as one.  Catch my drift?  As I looked at my first draft with blue leopard mixed in with some other animal prints, I stared at the screen noticing that the shorts were too hectic.  It was all over the place and was lacking theme, so I asked myself “what am I trying to accomplish”, “what kind of taste do I want my doughnut to have?”.  I needed inspiration.

Although it wasn’t serious, I searched for inspiration whenever I had time for a couple of days.  Surfing the web, looking through lookbooks and even using my closet as a 3D mood board trying to come up with something other than leopard and snakeskin combos.   “When you stop looking, you will find it”, this quote is about being lost and although I wasn’t literally lost I was metaphorically.  Buried under an idea of ‘being unique’ I thought the piece had to be stupid, crazy in color and patterns.  But I realized something, the reason why it was so hard to come up with a design was because I was creating to impress others and not myself.


A month ago, a public relation company and I had planned to do a review on a timepiece and when the package arrived I quickly had the watch around my wrist.  Playing with the watch, I noticed the amazing simplicity of the NATO strap and its tri-colored stripes.  Red, white and blue, the colors of the American flag, Firecracker ice cream and Thom Browne’s signature, the 3 combination of colors is just simply brilliant.  Impressive almost.


When I “stopped looking”, as cliché as it may sound, it came to me.  Sitting on my black, suede couch I looked over to my coffee table and saw my collection of watches placed there.  For reasons of the vibrant colored strap, I reached for my Submariner and thought that this piece of nylon would be a great starting point for my Hurley Phantom shorts.  There are three strips on this NATO strap, each holding its own color respectably and there are also an optional three stripes on the right side of the shorts, I put two and two together and came up with what I call the “Phantom of the P’ropera”.

My index and thumb pinch the ash grey fabric as they trace it all the way down till it reaches the trim, then pulling towards me the “Phantom stretch”.  What’s important to know is the fact that the shorts stretch up to 60% allowing the consumer to be comfortable and maintain mobility all the while being water repellent.  I remember back in the days swim trunks just dried fast, now my shorts doesn’t even get wet!  The Phantom fabric is made from high quality water repellent fabric tightly woven for the best performance.  Most water repellent fabrics create big, clumped up umbrellas when water comes into contact with it, but because of the tightly woven, well crafted fabric the shorts create smaller umbrellas; the smaller the water coverage the softer and better the fabric quality it is.

It’s hard not to continue this post without getting too much more technical, but if I know anything about quality and if you trust our opinion here at TheCombined then you would take my word for it that these board shorts are well worth the cake.  To be a designer or the act of being, is not something people come by often and for a small price, you can colorize, customize and personalize your own Hurley Phantom shorts in which you will become unique in and out the waters.  I thought to myself, “how can I summarize my style into one piece of garment” and the process from paper to screen to packaging was really fun yet challenging, to eliminate ideas and create a product is just brilliant and well worth the time put in, I would do it again.

To create your own Hurley Phantom shorts, click here!

To see more of my photos see below or visit TheCombined for even more!





Paul Chin
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