burgerburgerchevron leftchevron leftchevron rightchevron rightellipsesellipses50th logo50th logo50th logo50th logopro logopro logopro logopro logologologonavigation primary cartnavigation primary cartnavigation primary hamburgernavigation primary hamburgernavigation primary profilenavigation primary profilenavigation primary searchnavigation primary searchnavigation primary xnavigation primary xLoading ...Patagonia Loading Iconplayplaysearchsearchshopping bagshopping bagshopping bag filledshopping bag filledxx

Product Safety Recall

Due to safety concerns about the snaps on the Infant Capilene® Midweight Set, we are implementing a recall of units purchased between August 1, 2021, and January 12, 2023. For more information, including how to identify this product, how to return it and how to get a full refund, please click the link below.

Learn More

Rappel de produit pour cause de sécurité

En raison de préoccupations en matière de sécurité concernant les boutons-pression des ensembles Infant Capilene® Midweight, nous procédons au rappel de toutes les unités achetées entre le 1ᵉʳ août 2021 et le 12 janvier 2023. Pour obtenir des renseignements supplémentaires, notamment sur la façon de reconnaître ce produit, de le retourner et d’obtenir un remboursement complet, veuillez cliquer sur le lien ci-dessous.

Obtenir de plus amples renseignements

Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder

If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a business—it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is what we can do.

Read Yvon’s Letter

Fast Rate Shipping

Orders are shipped within 1-2 business days and arrive within 3 business days (up to 5 business days for remote addresses)

More Details

Gerry Lopez Shares the History Behind our Cotton Boardshorts

Gerry Lopez  /  2 Min Read  /  Design, Surfing

Our board shorts line has a new addition with a long history. The Patagonia Organic Cotton Canvas Boardshorts, or Palaka shorts as they were originally known, come with a special heritage in not only the surf world but old Hawaii as well.

When I started surfing in the late 1950s, Palaka shorts were one of the earliest fashion statements of an emerging surf culture. Surf shorts were a hard thing to come by back then, none were available commercially. Surfers in the know would go to specialty Japanese tailor shops like Take’s in Waikiki or H. Miura’s in Haleiwa to order a pair of custom fitted shorts. More often than not, the material of choice would be Palaka cotton. One of the reasons for choosing this print was because many of the best surfers in Hawaii already were wearing it. But also because it was a sturdy fabric that was comfortable after several washings and would last through many years of hard use. It must be remembered that surfers of that period wore their shorts all day, every day, every month throughout the year. These shorts, quite literally, were lived in.

The history behind the fabric is a story in itself. Hawaii began to develop as a powerful plantation economy based on sugar, pineapple and coffee in the late 1800s. The workers needed a rugged shirt for their hard labor especially in the sugar cane fields. The pattern came from the field laborers customizing their shirts for practical use and protection from the hot sun by cutting off the tails to give it a straight hem to be worn outside the trousers.

Around the 1920s the blue and white checkered denim Palaka became the standard material of these shirts. The name Palaka is a transliteration into Hawaiian of the English word frock for the loose-fitting shirt worn by British and American sailors to Hawaii. While the Hawaiians were asking about the fabric, they were given the name of the style of shirt instead. Soon Palaka came to mean the dark blue and white woven fabric the shirts were made of. Eventually this Palaka shirt and blue denim trousers called sailor-mokus became a traditional Hawaiian costume both on and off the plantations.

The aloha or Hawaiian print shirt came directly from this standard Plantation Palaka shirt design. Sometimes the Palaka fabric was reversed to show the muted side and this also became a tradition still much used today in the aloha shirt industry.

The history of Palaka in both the surf garment and aloha shirt industries is a rich one indeed and, if one will pardon the pun, comes with a very checkered past.

Live with Aloha.

For more stories from Gerry, check out his book Surf Is Where You Find It.

Popular searches