Used Boards On Craigslist... You May Need To Reconsider

February 23, 2011 3 Comments

We received a call the other day and it reminded us of why you have to be so careful when purchasing a used board.

This guy had just bought a used board from someone he found on craigslist. He was in a hurry to get it, so he went over to this guys house to pick it up.

Well, by the time he got there it was getting dark and so he looked the board over under the street lights. After a good inspection (as good as can be done in the dark) he thought it looked ok and paid the guy for the board.


When he got it in the sun the next day he found out the board had all kinds of damage that he couldn't see the night before.

So he gave the guy a call back and said what's the deal? And you can guess his response..."Sorry bro you looked it over and said it looked fine."So needless to say he was stuck with it.

Now this is sort of an extreme example and we certainly wouldn't ever recommend buying a used board at night in the dark, but we want to use it to illustrate a point...

Buying a used surf board can be a gamble. You never quite what you're going to get.

This is one of the reasons we started Degree33... to help people get in to the sport at a reasonable price, but without the headaches that can come along with a good deal on a surfboard.

Here is an excerpt from our surfboard guide that discusses used surfboards.

A lot of the time when you’re starting out, the cheapest solution is often the most sought after, and used surfboards are typically going to be your cheapest option. Unfortunately they can also be the worst choice a new surfer can make. Here’s what I mean... Just like when you go buy a used car, a used surfboard can have any number of things wrong with it. Things that unless you’re a “mechanic”, you’d never see. Here are a few of the most common used surfboard issues:
    • Hidden damage- Hidden damage is probably the most common issue with used surfboards, mainly because so often a used surfboard is already waxed up. It is very easy to hide cracks and holes when you fill them in with wax. Also most used boards are purchased at night, after work, when the light isn’t very good. This makes it increasingly tougher to see damage when you’re in a low light situation. If you do end up buying a damaged surfboard you will be forced to fix it so that it doesn’t become water logged, or you will deal with our next issue.
    • Water Logged- When a surfboard is cracked while still in the water, it is impossible to get your board out of the water before water is absorbed into the foam. Now having water in your foam is a common thing to deal with, but unfortunately it is dealt with improperly most of the time. 

After surfboard foam is exposed to water it must sit and dry out BEFORE it’s repaired. This can sometimes take a week or two, depending on the amount of water absorbed, and if the person isn’t really patient, they will repair it too soon. This causes a couple of problems. First, it will leave the board really heavy and unbalanced. This will make the surfboard hard to paddle, it wont float very well, and wont handle well either. 

The other problem that is caused by fixing it before it dries out is de-lamination. The water, over time, will cause the foam to rot and deteriorate and ultimately create “soggy” spots in the structure where the glass and resin will pull away from the foam. Once a board delaminates, good luck returning it to its original condition without cutting it apart, digging out all the “rot”, and refilling it.
    • Wrong Board- Getting the wrong shape and size is very easy to do when you’re buying a used surfboard. Even if you’re sure you want a 9ft longboard there can be HUGE differences in 9ft longboards. From thickness to width to bottom concaves to rail shapes to tail shapes... and more. 

All surfboards ARE NOT created equal. Using the car analogy again, its like saying I want a 2 door car but there is a massive difference between a Honda Civic and a Ferrari 360... both have 2 doors but they are extremely different. The problem is, in the surf world, the Honda and Ferrari look really similar, and if you don’t know what you are looking for, you could pick the wrong one.
  • Major Hassle- What is your time worth? Let’s say you’re looking at craigslist for a used board and find one across town 30min away. You head there after work, fight traffic there, fight traffic back, take an hour and a half, only to find out that the board wasn’t in as good of shape as the seller made you believe, or as the pictures showed. How many times are you willing to do that to save $50 or even $150? 

Let’s say that you do find one, buy it, take it home only to find out somethings wrong with it that you hadn’t noticed. Do you really think the private seller is going to say, “Oh sorry you didn’t see that when you bought it... just bring it back?” If the seller is a man of integrity he would have told you about any issues before you even left with it.
Listen, I’m not saying, “Don’t buy a used surfboard...”, we even sell used surfboards, what I am saying is, unless you know exactly what you are looking for and what to lookout for, buying a used surfboard can sometimes be a real pain.
And the major problem is that all these issue are VERY tough to look for and see. If you are going to buy a used board make sure that you know the individual that is selling the board. That way you know how it was handled, and whether or not you can trust them. Sometimes buying a new surfboard is worth it when you consider the hassle and frustration that can happen buying used, especially when our new boards are relatively inexpensive. If you are going to buy used, make sure that you take someone with many years of surfing experience with you to help evaluate your purchase.
If after reading the excerpt above you still want to get a used surfboard, use the link below to checkout our used board stock. Used Surfboards - Don't Risk Craigslist Get One Here Let us help you get your first board, after all, that is what got us into the business. See you in the water.

3 Responses


May 07, 2014

This article is right. I buy and sell on Craigslist but I have been surfing my whole life and know about boards. I would not recommend it for a newbie. They should consult a shop as yours or get help from a knowledgeable person when buying a board.

Luc Stokes
Luc Stokes

May 07, 2014

There are some good deals to be had for sure. However, finding them can be a major hassel.


May 07, 2014

I bought a board in the middle of the day for $50 and there are no issues. you just have to work with the person who is selling it to find the best day to go i was able to get it over a weekend so it was very bright out when i saw it.

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