Thought your last custom was pricey? Just thank your lucky stars you weren’t trying to buy a 7’6″ Lightning Bolt board shaped by Gerry Lopez from the film Big Wednesday. In the 2011 Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction that board went for $US30,000. And that wasn’t even the most expensive stick sold on the night. A 1920, 9’0 John Kelly redwood plank went for $41,000. And it didn’t even come with a free boardbag and tailpad.
And yet these are not the most expensive boards out there. Not by a long way. Surfboards have become collector’s items, where cash money can secure you a piece of surfing history and a great conversation starter for the pool room.
Be it iconic boards in surfing history, or surfboards as high-end art, we’ve tracked down some of the most expensive boards known (and some unknown) to man. So get out the credit card, squeeze some lemon in your tear ducts and read about those sticks that can literally break the bank. Here’s the first one.
Description: A collaboration made in aerospace – Marc Newson is a London based Australian designer happy to dabble in space and aviation industry technology; Dick Brewer has been the undisputed king of surfboard shaping since time began, and McNamara was after an indestructable tow-in board with perfect glide that could handle a 60 foot backdoor section at Jaws. Lord knows how all three got together, but the resulting collaboration resulted in some of the most functional, futuristic and freaky boards ever produced.
Cost new? Newson made ten of the boards in 2007, each one said to have cost $US75,000.
Expect to pay now: In excess of $US212,000. McNamara lost one in a Tahitian wipeout which was found on a nearby beach and was donated to the Gagosian Gallery design museum in New York by somebody presumably bedazzled by the brushed ‘mirror’ finish underneath. Another sold at a Sotheby’s auction two years later in New York for $US220,000 and the remaining eight boards are still tantilisingly ‘at large’.
Why So Valuable? Newson is one of the world’s most talked about industrial designers (in 2005 Time Magazine had him on their ‘100-Most Influential’ list), and Dick Brewer has a track record of creating some pricey, historic items (in 2007 an 11-foot Buzzy Trent-model ‘Surfboards Hawaii’ big gun shaped by Brewer sold for $US33,000). Their co-created board was built using the latest aeronautical engineering techniques, in which ten-kilograms of nickel were hollowed out to create the shell of the board. “It’s the material that goes on the leading edge of helicopter blades,” says Newson. At its core is a foam blank with three stringers hand-shaped by Brewer. It looks beautiful, it’s got a fine pedigree and it goes like The Millenium Falcon on warp speed.
Anything Else? “It’s the latest and greatest technology, a surfboard made out of nickel,” explained McNamara in a Surfer Magazine interview. “We rode it in Chile, Japan and in Tahiti. The thing works good and we’ve been getting barreled everywhere.” To watch McNamara getting blinded by the nickel shine balls deep in a Chopes’ barrel, click here.
Stay tuned, more of the world’s most expensive boards will be revealed soon.