Surf Tips

How To Buy A Used Surfboard

If you’re buying a used board from Liam McNamara’s Shark’s Cove Surf Shop on the North Shore, chances are you and your board are in for a good time…

Surfboards, a bit like cars, lose value as soon as they leave the showroom.

What that means is that when you buy a second hand surfboard you can pick up a real bargain, just by it having been waxed up and having a couple of footmarks in the deck.

However, being essentially fragile in form and at times ultra-specific in function, you can go wrong. Horribly wrong.

So whether you’re short on funds but need a surfboard, are on a trip, or maybe are after one of favourite pro’s craft, there are a few things to bear in mind before buying a used surfboard.


The condition the surfboard is in will dictate the price. Loosely speaking, average second hand boards in fair condition should sell for just over half the price of the same brand new surfboard (more for better, less for worse condition).

Has it got a lot of dings? Are they open dings, leaking water, or mere pressure dints?
It will have some of one or other, or both, for sure. Open dings should have been fixed but if they’re not, you can save money by knocking the price down and fixing dings yourself.

If it has so many pressure dings that the deck is concave, the glass is probably ultra light and the the board may not last very long. Worth thinking about.

Likewise, if it is yellower than a chain-smoking granny’s teeth, its best sessions may well be behind it.


Is there an enormous sticker somewhere? Any stickers on/around rails should make you suspicious. They are almost certainly covering dings.

Also watch for sprays over the glass. You can feel if a surfboard has been sprayed after glassing (as opposed to the shaped blank sprayed, then glassed in the factory), they feel rougher than a usual finish. You might see in places like Bali, and almost certainly the board has been snapped and repaired.


You may never dribble Neymar’s ball (no, that’s not a euphemism) swing Tiger’s club (neither’s that… and you might) or smash with Rafa’s racket. But you might well pick up one of your favourite pro’s surfboards second hand, a mere few hundred bucks granting you access to state of the art equipment.

A pro’s shortboard can be a good idea, if say, you’re young and are smaller in stature than the pro the board belonged to. If you are the same build as them, are you sure you’re ready to ride their equipment? While it may look and feel awesome under your arm, it might set your progress in the water back.

If you do want to buy a pro’s surfboard, you might pay top whack at a recognised factory/big surf shop. If you want a pro bargain, try Brazilians on the beach at any and every WQS event.


For some reason, prospective second hand surfboard buyers, when considering a private sale, feel compelled to ask the same question of the vendor.

“Why are you selling it?”

Akin to kicking the tyres on a car, it serves no purpose. Save yourself the effort.

They are not going to say “Because it’s a piece of shit, man” or “Coz Cruella de Vil has done more good turns than this hunk of crap.”

Why do you think they’re selling it?

Because they would rather have the board’s dollar value in cash, in their hand, than the board in their board rack. That’s why they’re selling it, genius.

So, er, why are you selling it…?


Cold Hard Cash

Second hand surfboards are a cash transaction. Don’t bring your cheque book, money order, travellers’ cheques, air miles or food stamps. Put your credit card away. It’s not a tax dodge, it’s just what happens.

But in spite of this, don’t be afraid to go (if the board is priced $300)… $280 for cash? Emphasising the cash part as if it were a rare treat.

It’s a dog eat dog world out there.


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