By PATRICK GOWER



It has been called "low-riding" and it's a bit of a craze on the beach this summer.



Put on one pair of boxers (preferably silk and with patterns), then your board shorts. Next, pull those boardies down around your buttocks, exposing the boxers.



Then go for a swim, surf or even just a bit of a strut.

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It is the in thing for young men at New Year hotspots.



At Whangamata - dubbed Queen St at the beach in summer by some locals - there are five times as many pairs of lowered shorts as lowered cars.



As dropping your shorts is much easier to do than your car's suspension, the lowered pants are the beachwear of choice for the boy racer and beyond.



Kris Parry, a 17-year-old Wellingtonian on holiday because "Whanga goes off at New Year" said he had exposed the elastic of his boxers for three summers.



"It has nothing to do with boy racers," he said.



"It is skateboarding fashion and everybody does it everywhere. This has swept the nation."



His mate, 17-year-old Joseph Phillips, is into only his second summer of "low-riding", starting it "after seeing these guys do it".



Both said that the boxers were a necessary evil with the popular baggy boardshorts, which lend themselves to the unsightly "builder's crack".

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"I feel naked without them," Kris said.



And what do the girls reckon? "That they are a way better look than briefs".



Joseph said several girls had started wearing boxers and exposing them, which he said was "certainly not unattractive".



When asked what they thought of the view that swimming in the get-up was not all that practical, their reply was emphatic: "We can wear what we want".



The craze is not limited to the beach, with cotton boxers popular with holidaymakers at Lake Taupo.



Jan Landl, a 17-year-old local, could not explain the attraction, but his friends said it was because he enjoyed "the sense of freedom".



As for the reasons he went for cotton over silk or satin, it seems some things about underwear (or is that outerwear?) never change.



"I wear whatever my mum buys me, mate."