How To Buy A Used Surfboard

How To Buy A Used Surfboard

Not all of us can afford a new surfboard.  The following is our guide on how to buy a used surfboard.

Buying a used surfboard can either be an ideal way to get a deal on a good board, or it can be a complete waste of money.  First, bear in mind that if a board is extremely cheap, then it’s probably not very good. You need to be really careful when shopping for a used surfboard.

When buying any surfboard, you need to be realistic about the right board for you. Before you start looking, have a clear idea of the board you’re after. Remember, board come in all shapes and sizes.

How To Buy A Used Surfboard

Once you have narrowed down your search, you can concentrate on making the right choice of a used board.  A used surfboard is the most environmentally responsible board you can buy, after all, it’s recycling.  Surfboards are like cars, drive them off the lot and the value goes down.

See It, Feel It

You want to see the board firsthand and check it out fully before buying. Unless the board is brand new, you will want to see and handle it.  I personally like to see and handle any surfboard I intend to purchase, whether it is new or used.

I Wouldn’t Touch It With A Ten-Foot Pole

Do not buy a board whose normal color is not brown or has brownish spots, a brown board is a definite indication of water damage.

Don’t buy a board that has been broken (though there is an exception and it will be discussed later) or buckled.

Tail cancer is a major problem and should be avoided in a used board. It’s when there’s a crack or ding on the rail of the tail of a board. Stay away from tail cancer, it’s the one thing that’s nearly impossible to fix permanently and usually ends up cracking again.

Dings And Cracks

Check for dings and cracks. Any secondhand board will have a few dings on it and is not generally a problem. A heavily dinged or cracked board is a problem, however, and should not be bought no matter how cheap it seems!

There are basically two categories of dings: fixed and not fixed. If a ding is fixed, it’s all about the quality of the repair. A good fix should be flush with the board, have no rough spots, and no cracks or yellow spots where water might be getting in. If it’s colored to match an airbrush, how well does it match? All these are indications about the quality of the ding repair and how long it will hold up.

How To Buy A Used Surfboard

Some of the surfboards you wouldn’t want to buy.

It’s Coming Apart

Delamination is when the fiberglass separates from the blank, creating an air bubble, and usually occurs under areas on the deck that get heavy foot pressure. If only a very small area is delaminating, it’s more of a cosmetic problem. But once it spreads, it’s likely to start taking in water and can make a board more prone to breaking.

The Fins Have It

Check carefully around the fins, especially where the fins are attached to the board. If the fins are non-removable fins and show signs of cracking, the board should be avoided unless you are prepared to repair or replace them.

Sometimes stress cracks around fins or cracks in fin plugs are minor. Other times, they can really affect how a board rides. If the area is brownish, there’s discoloration, or the cracks look like they’re taking in water, you’ll want to steer clear.

Not All Breaks Are Created Equal

A broken nose isn’t always a bad thing, especially if it’s within the first twelve inches of the top of the board. Sure, a fixed nose can look funky, but if the repair matches the angle of the board’s original rocker, it usually won’t affect the way it rides. It’s a good option for someone who’s looking for a deal on a board, just make sure the repair is quality.

Clean It Up Pal

Wax can hide a multitude of problems. Most shops will clean their used boards up before they hit the racks, but if you’re buying from the general public, make sure to peel up any stickers and clean off the wax to get a full picture of the board’s health. You never know what sort of disaster could be lurking under a well-placed sticker. And if there’s anything suspect underneath the tail pad, take that off, too. If the person who is selling you the board will not let you clean it, then don’t buy it.

Where To Buy

You can purchase a used board from Craigslist, classifieds, surf shops or businesses that specialize in selling used surfboards.

A place I often visit, as a seller and buyer, on Oahu is

Keep your purchase within driving distance, don’t pay for shipping or handling.

In Conclusion

Buying a used surfboard is a good option for those new to surfing or those on a budget, just make sure you are careful with your purchase.

Thanks for dropping in and if you have any comments or questions, please post it in the comment section of this page.

6 thoughts on “How To Buy A Used Surfboard

  1. Hi Stuart thank you for the great advice. I’m really looking to buy a stand up paddle board and I’m glad I got to read your guide because I had no clue what to look for when buying a used board. Now I can go in pretty confident when I find that used board and make sure it fits the criteria you mentioned. Thank you again for the information. Have a good one.

  2. Hi Stuart,

    Wow! I had no idea that there was so much to think about when buying a used board. I’m really glad that I stumbled onto your site. I’m looking at buying a couple of used boards for my boys. We are going on vacation in a few months and my search for the boards will begin soon. 🙂

    This info will sure help me. Thanks again!

  3. Great articles. A lot of really useful information. I found them interesting to read. I’ve been surfing for 1 month and I’m thinking of going to Bali in April to try to do some surfing. I have heard that the weather is very nice and that the waves are sometimes softer and better for beginners to learn on. Is this true? Is April an okay time?


    • Hi Joy, Thanks for the comment! I’ve never been to Bali so unfortunately, I can’t answer your question. I hope you have fun and thanks for dropping in!

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