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How to Buy a Used Surfboard

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Why learn how to buy a used surfboard? Let’s keep it real. Surfboards cost way too much for most beginning or casual surfers. The benefit to buying a used surfboard is that it will be much cheaper and (as a beginner) you will feel much less remorse as you beat the heck out of your board that first year. And it will be beaten, I promise…against walls, the truck bed, concrete, the ocean bottom, other surfboards, and maybe even your head. Plus, buying a used board is better for environment. Therefore, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you buy a used surfboard.

Where to Buy

You can buy used boards pretty much anywhere these days. Try your local surf shop. They all have a section of used surfboards, and feel free to haggle a bit. What’s the worst that can happen?

The Internet is another place to search for used boards. I have spoken to many surfers who have gotten great deals on Craislist.com, Ebay.com, and even surfboardshack.com where you can really narrow down your needs and prices. The only problem is that you don’t normally get a chance to really feel and handle the board before you buy, so if you are unfamiliar with surfboard anatomy, then stick to a surf shop where you can also ask other surfers to look over the board as well. The sales guy isn’t always the best one to consult.

If can get your hands on your board before purchasing, go though the following checklist to get the best used beginner board.

The 5 Point Checklist

1. The surfboard should be at least a head taller than you.

2. The surfboard should be at least 20 inches wide.

3. The surfboard should be at least 2 inches thick.

4. Feel all over the board with your hands for cracks, dings, and soft spots. Soft spots can mean delamination, and you want to avoid that at all costs. If the board is priced really well, you might ask the surf shop to fix the delamination before you buy it. Minor cracks and dings are not a major problem at first, but they will eventually take on water and affect the ride of your surfboard.

5. Feel the weight of other surfboards on the racks. If your board is extremely heavy in comparison and there is a lot of discoloration, your board could be water logged…not good. Ask the sales person how the board is glassed. Discoloration could mean sun exposure and not something more ominous, but surfboards are generally glassed with 4 ounce, 6 ounce. 7.5 ounce and 10 ounce fiberglass. So logically, if the board is glassed with 4 ounce cloth, it’s discolored, and heavier than other boards on the rack; it’s probably waterlogged.

6. Inspect the nose, tail, and fins. These are areas where are usually some dings or cracks. Around the base fins is particularly troubling in that the flexing of the fins when surfing can exacerbate the crack and suck in water.

Cool! You are ready. Be sure to shop around and find the best prices. Also, grab a friend who knows more than you about surfboards and have him/her come along. Approach it like you would a used car.

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