In my last post, I talked about 10 tips for buying used surfboards. Since I’ve been on both sides of a board sale WAY too many times, I’ve got some more tips that will hopefully help you out if you want to sell your used boards too.
Tips for Selling Used Surfboards
1. CLEAN the board.
When I mean clean, I mean ALL wax and wax residue, all stickers and sticker residue, and any other random skid marks, ya ripper. This will improve the look of the board tremendously, save the buyer the hassle of cleaning it, and you can honestly say you weren’t hiding any condition issues with the board when you sell it, which makes for a much smoother deal.
2. RESEARCH similar boards on the market before listing.
You need to know what you have before you sell it. Luckily, I’ve had honest shop owners stop me from a bad decision (thanks Core Surf!), but that’s not always the case. Use Craigslist, internet surf forums, and visit surf shops to compare pricing. The longer the board is, the higher the cost- in general (a 9’ longboard should be priced higher than a shortboard, if in the same condition.)
3. BE REALISTIC when setting a price.
If you read my last post, I estimate that even brand new boards lose 20% of their value walking out the shop door. This is because a surfboard is a specialty item, with a narrow audience. Deduct even more from the price if you the board has custom graphics or wild colors, since this narrows the potential buyers even more. This is also a good lesson to remember when you go to buy or trade that next surfboard. Again, the exception to this rule would be in the vintage or collectible surfboard market, where a certain “look” might be sought after.
4. CONSIDER surfboard consignment.
Many surf shops offer used surfboard consignment. Some even have “trade-in” programs, which are a great value if you like trying out new shapes every year, like me. Consignment fee types can vary from a percentage of the sale of the surfboard, to a flat fee. I like shops that charge a flat fee to sell your board (e.g. $50 for a shortboard, $100 for a longboard, etc.) I consider it a fee for displaying it in a store where people will be looking specifically for a surfboard. Plus, the shop owner has to work on making the sale for you. You’ll take a hit on your profits, but I guarantee you’ll get your money a lot faster, if that’s an issue.
5. TELL your surfer friends about your surfboard.
I’m not saying sell to your surfer friends, but if you’re planning on selling a board, sometimes there are fellow surfers who may find it a bit rude if you don’t give them first dibs. Even if your immediate circle isn’t interested in your used board, I’m sure they’ve got other surf squads they hang out with too to help spread the word on your board for sale. A bonus: doing a transaction with people you know and possibly trust and vice versa. Makes everyone more accountable.
6. INSIST on cash.
Unless you’re selling a surfboard to Grandma, don’t take checks, gift cards, credit cards (charges can be reversed easily), or promises to “be right back with some cash.” Take cash only, and don’t get burned because of your eagerness to sell.
7. NEGOTIATE WITH MORE than just the price.
A while back, I sold a used paint-penned 7’ funshape to a dad looking for a fun first surfboard for his daughter. I was fortunate that the daughter LOVED my paint job and the board, but the dad was still hesitant to buy it. When I offered to throw in a 7’ OAM leash I had that I no longer needed, it sealed the deal for the indecisive dad too. By offering an accessory like a leash or a board bag that fits the surfboard you’re selling (you may not be using the accessory again anyway once you sell the board), it might encourage a buyer who is on the fence.
8. DON’T suffer the lowballers and scammers.
There are ALWAYS twits out there looking to scam you or waste your time. I hate when people will just send out “whatever you’re asking- with a 90% discount” as an offer on my used surfboard listing. It’s just a fishing expedition. Don’t be offended by those lowball offers, but DO keep track of all the offers you receive, since that info will help you now and for any future boards you might sell.
9. MAKE a Selling Timetable.
If you sell your surfboard on consignment, they usually do this part for you. But, if you’re selling on your own, don’t let your board linger out there forever for sale. If you haven’t heard ANY offers within 3 days on a site like Craigslist, you may be pricing a board too high, and need to come down. Just like a store, the longer the stuff sits around, the more discounted it becomes. If you can’t sell the board in a week, maybe consider dropping the price by 10% each week until it sells. Make sure you have an absolute bottom selling price, and a plan if it doesn’t sell at all. Yikes-a-rama.
10. DON’T put “Price is FIRM” on your used surfboard.
This is the ultimate buyer turnoff. I’ve passed up even looking at a surfboard I probably would have otherwise snatched up right away. Why? Because if they’re not willing to negotiate, they’re not really ready to sell usually. Some of those listings come from husbands whose wives forced them to list their surfboards SOMEWHERE on Craigslist. By putting “$800- price is firm” on their dinged-up 7’2” Big Wave Body Glove Gnar Gun from 1985 prevents a sale from ever being considered. Hey- it’s happened.