As fruitful as picking up a bargain might be, there are often numerous pitfalls lying ahead if you’re new to the second hand board market.  Here at SHB, we’ve outlined the main checklist you’ll need before handing over your hard earned cash.

1) Make contact with the seller

After trawling the site and you’ve found something close to what you’re looking for be sure to make contact and exchange a few messages first. Build a report with the seller and arrange a time and place to view the board. Also feel free to see if they’d take a reduced price. Don’t be disheartened if they aren’t interested in lowering their asking price, they might be willing to knock a bit off in person.  Either way, always bring the full amount with you in cash & be sure to view the board prior to purchasing it.

2) Surfboard Dings

More often than not you’ll know pretty quickly if the board is right for you. But before you commit be sure to give the board a thorough once over. Any cracks or holes in the board are considered a ding. Even if you find some dings, as long as they’re fixed and water tight then they’ll be fine.  Be sure to fix them before taking the board into the ocean as they’ll result in much worse damage to the board. But small dings are generally easy to repair. When giving the board a thorough inspection, look for a smooth water tight finish where a previous crack has been fixed.  Double check areas that have yellowed. Be sure to use your nails to see if you can lift the slightest of cracks as the smallest of holes will leak in water. The most critical areas to check are around the fins. Bad damage around the fins should be cause for concern. Unprofessional ding repairs will give you plenty of opportunity to haggle the price down a little. Always check underneath stickers for hidden damage.

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This is a ding! (pic: southcoast custom surfboards) and this is a de-laminated board half way through being repaired (pic: florida surf museum)

3)
Buckles and creases

Where dings can usually be fixed without affecting the board, a stress mark, crease or buckle can have a detrimental impact on the board’s performance. Usually quite noticeable this type of damage will appear perpendicular to the stringer & will affect the board’s core strength and can often be the reason the board is being sold. Although nose creases are less of a worry and can often be repaired, a visible buckle through the deck or through the bottom of board’s middle section should be treated with caution. Fractures that affect the stringer should be a huge red flag and the same goes for obvious impacts through the tail area.  It’s quite common for a board with a large crease to break within a wave or two. Some creases can be hidden with fresh artwork or stickers, so be sure to inspect the board with care. If artwork looks suspicious and not original then it could well be hiding something underneath.

4) De-lamination

Once a surfboard sustains a ding & if it’s not fixed right away, it will ultimately degrade the board with each & every session. Dings are common and surfers can be lazy. Many surfers resort to taping their dings in a hope to fix it up another time. But many never do. Tape is certainly better than nothing but it’s only a short term fix and boards that are not water tight will leak water and like a cancer will gradually penetrate into the board. The de-lamination process will slowly begin with the fibreglass gradually pulling away from the foam. Always be sure to check the board for small stress marks, old dings, under stickers and anything that looks yellowed a little. Just push gently into the area and if it feels soft and a little squashy it will have delaminated. Even small areas can prove problematic and will need professional attention that can be costly.

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Be the talk of the town with your ever growing surfboard collection (left Pic: downthelinesurf.co.uk right pic Russell Ord)

5)
Get haggling

Once you’ve inspected the board and you’ve got a good feeling about it – then it’s time to put on your poker face. It’s not always true to say that sellers will be willing to move on their price but always presume they will. Certainly don’t be rude when haggling but it’s a good time to gently remind the seller of any dings, marks or imperfections that you’ve pointed out. If it feels right and you’ve done your home work then on some occasions you will have to pay the exact amount. Every situation is different. Always bring enough money with you and be sure to have it in smaller notes in case you manage to lower them on the price. If it doesn’t feel right, then walk away and take their phone number. This is often a good idea when you’re not quite sure but you live close by so you could potentially easily come back.

Buying a used surfboard is a pretty rewarding process. As long as you’re aware of the pitfalls then there’s no reason you can’t pick up plenty of bargains along the way. Good luck!