After 35 days of use, I’ve had no issues with the Shambala’s durability. In my experience, velcro is usually the first thing to wear out on paddling outerwear, but the velcro tabs on the waistband still look and feel new.
The nylon shell has also held up very well so far. I’ve worn the shorts on eight canyoning trips that required sliding down rocky natural slides on my butt, and they didn’t get any holes or tears.
Another concern with neoprene garments is their tendency to accumulate foul odors. I have been very careful about letting the shorts dry after use by pulling them inside out and hanging them up. Since the Shambala’s neoprene is relatively thin, the shorts do not seem to become too smelly if dried after each use. The shorts can also be machine washed if necessary.
While the Shambala shorts cost about $120 USD, I think that’s a fair price for them as a well-made, purpose-built piece. Those who are interested in less pricey options might check out the Immersion Research Courier Guide Shorts, which cost $85.
Another option would be to wear a neoprene layer under regular board shorts, but I find that to be less comfortable than wearing shorts with integrated shells and liners like the Shambala. Plus, most full price board shorts run around $50 and stand-alone neoprene shorts or pants can cost $60-$100, so you may end up spending around $120 anyway.
Sweet Protection’s Shambala shorts are an extremely versatile and well made piece of equipment that I would recommend to any boater who paddles in warm weather, but who always wants to be prepared for the unknown. They are an excellent option for conditions that do not warrant a drysuit or dry pants, but are too chilly for normal board shorts. The Shambala can be combined with other neoprene layers to wear in even colder conditions, and so far, they’ve always kept me comfortable while looking stylish, too.