Well, sorry for the long wait but out in Los Angeles the Summer heat showed up a little late and then the heat blast kicked in about one week ago. For those that are not aware, beach clothing items such as board shorts and flip flops have worked themselves in as well-known wardrobe staples amongst the lacrosse community. From the shores of Maryland to the lakes of Minnesota, you are bound to see lax-heads strutting around in surf and skate inspired hats, flip flops, and the all too present reversible tank top mesh practice jersey.
In my last segment I touched on the nonchalant attitude held by many lacrosse players towards being too cool for school and in this episode we are going to explore lacrosse fashion and its subtle and not so subtle mimicry of the Surf vibe.
Since they don’t have any textbooks to explain this sort of minutiae, I have to speak from my own experience as a young lad in the Washington, DC, area growing up going to camps and watching intense NCAA Final Four games at Maryland’s Byrd stadium. I remember specifically seeing a point in time in the mid 90’s when wearing the freshest Reef Sandals became a cool thing to do for High School and Collegiate players in the Mid Atlantic region.
As an accompaniment to this trend, players began wearing board shorts during Summer league games and tournaments. Two iconic collegiate players from that aforementioned era were UVA attackmen Michael Watson and Doug Knight, who in my mind were two influential players. On the field, they merged lacrosse moves with a surfer and extreme sports flavored intensity. They were not the biggest players size-wise by any measure but they played with a sense of reckless abandon and fearless skill that they used to launch themselves acrobatically while scoring multiple goals.
The quick zigzagging through defenses and their rapid aerial coordination made me think of international surfing competitions where you would see names like Slater, Machado, or Garcia ripping up coastal waters on some random cable channel. If you take it further back and look at lax pictures of players in the 70’s, you see a lot of grooming similarities to that of the well documented Dogtown and Zboyz surf/skate crew. Much like surf and skating, the onset of new equipment innovation in the 1980’s and 90’s quickened lacrosse’s pace creating more opportunities for it to be more radical.
Typical Reef ads. I stashed many of these in my locker for good luck hoping one day I’d meet the butt models. In the 90’s, they hardly ever featured any product in their ads.
Not unlike surfing, lacrosse has a good cache of cool and good intentioned folks but there are also the territorial packs of assholes that we would rather do away with. So what I recommend style-wise is holding on to the good and getting rid of the bad for your Late Summer beach outfits. The over-saturation of action sports apparel logos has created a sense of design diarrhea for graphic heavy action sports companies as well as the lacrosse industries. With today’s internet age’s culture of excess, bad energy drinks, mostly shitty overproduced movies and music, we need to step back and appreciate the things that were done right in the past.
Warriors of Radness is a brand that seems to be nailing it almost every time when it comes to well designed classic surf threads. They manage to creatively link style and color palettes from the past with today’s high fashion and design sensibilities. They have a number of great picks to choose from. It makes me happy to see they have stitched together some muscle pant jeans that Bohdi from Point Break would wear.
And these WOR corduroy shorts collaboration with John’s Surfwear are bound to give some of the older crew a decent flashback.
I have a soft spot in my heart for those modern day Robin Hoods who surf, skydive, play aggressive beach football, and then maybe rob banks with rubber president masks on during their off day. Yes, these types of guys are full of shit and will never pay you back if you lend them money, but they do have some good fire pit parties. So if you attempt to pull this look off you are at least partially a style badass. Try pairing this look with a classic Baja (or as some friends call it a drug rug) for when it gets a little colder at night.
A new brand I discovered on an Environmental fashion forum is Riz Board Shorts. These UK based boardies look pretty legit if you ask me and they dazzle together some beautiful patterns without going overboard.
Riz’s shorts are composed of Eco friendly recyclable materials, so once you are through wearing a pair you can send them back to be recycled. Try the Bounty and Buckler fit if you like them tighter and shorter or if you want to play it safe there are the Boardroom and Blade fits to choose from. In California, I frequently see these 30 something to 40 something businessman surfer dudes and dads who still want to dress like kids. So if that’s you, try to dress closer to your age whenever possible and leave the extremely tacky patterns to the greasy faced grommets.
For hats and tees please do check out Adrenaline Apparels newest Summer selections. The Eco Parrot Crest tee shirts feel baby soft and can be physically flattering if you happen to work out at least twice a week and skip some desserts. And the Amity Island inspired Chief Brody hat will definitely have some folks scratching their heads in appreciation. And if you are like me and think that besides being bad for your feet, flip flops are the ultimate fashion cop out, then why don’t you get yourselves some nice sidewalk surfers from the nice people at Sanuk.
Please feel free to get loose before it gets cold again and make sure you live your life to the fullest and squeeze out the last remnants of Summer in style.
Danny McCormick is a featured blogger for Lacrosse Playground covering style and fashion. Born in Maryland and raised in Virginia, Danny lived an East Coast laxer lifestyle while attending the Landon School, and the University of Maryland before eventually heading out to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams in entertainment and fashion. While working his way up the LA food chain he has served as an assistant to some top stylists, decorated sets for commercials, films, and photo shoots, and works as Adrenaline Apparels Art Director and Eco consultant. After injuring his knee on Halloween doing a complex yet unrehearsed dance sequence, he has ruled out the chance of a lacrosse come back. But if asked if he would do it again the answer is hell yes.