Selling Surfing Memorabilia in a soft market?


It is the Christmas season.  Surfing Memorabilia is coming out of the wood work!   Emails daily of how much is this item worth?  Upset responses to my replies!  ”But on Ebay they are selling for?”, again check the bids.  No they are not selling for outrageous prices.  We have beat this subject to death.   The majority of people who want to buy this stuff just do not have the money!  So lets examine this subject from the sellers side.  A seller who needs to get some cash for whatever  reason.

IMG_1186Dane's Hobie 2

Twenty five years ago I put on a Cal-Shake synthetic roof.  It had a 50 year guarantee.  The company went broke and a class action suit developed.  Cathy and I got $1800 back from the lawsuit which we put into repairs 5 years ago.  Upon our latest return from Baja we had the Chimney Sweep come out and clean the chimney for winter.  He discovered a whole bunch of  roof damage.  So I called my roofer for the third time.  To repair the roof it would cost about $2K to 3K.  It would simply be good money chasing bad money.  The bad news is the roof needs to be replaced, we were told this when we had the roof repaired.  So where do I get a large sum of cash?  What do I need more a good roof over my head or 150 antique surfboards and piles of decals, patches, price lists, and surf movie posters?  File this info in the back of your head as you read on.


My goal in collecting all this stuff was to preserve it for future generatiions.  As I have mentioned before I do not sell too many surfboards.  I never intended the my collection to become my nest egg.  The good new is I have paid far less than the current market value.  I appraise the value of my collection at 50% to 70% less comparing it to 8 years ago, a fact!  In the height stock foamies were going for $5000 to 6,000 in 9 plus condition.  Now they go for $1000-1800! Unless they are rare pieces.


Food for thought:  You are forced to sell a surfboard.  Let’s say you paid a $500 for that condition 8 stock foamie ten years ago.  First disappointement, the value the board climbed too during the height is gone.  Second disappointement, is there are less big   spender buyers.  Third disappointement,  is the problem of you might have to sell two or maybe three boards to obtain the same needed cash.  It’s a buyers market your going to  have to lower your expectations  of the value of the board/boards value.  If it’s a multi board deal the buyers is going to expect and demand a reduction, a fact (Money talks, BS walks!).  The fourth disappointment is something is only worth what a person will pay! If you need the cash desperately and the buyer knows,  your doomed.


So back to the value thinking.  So if a 9.5 condition is worth let say $5K 8 years ago mine would have been worth $3500-4000.  The market is soft now and those 9.5 boards are selling at let say 50% less. Or there is a Ebay listing of a board similar to mine for $2500 so I should get at least $1800?  Not, the board listed on ebay is getting watched but not selling.   I calculate that to sell your 8 condition stock foamie fast your going to have to put it up for sale at the $600 to 700 ranage.  But I need more money?  Then your going have to give up more boards!  Now even at $700 you are turning a profit that you could not collect at the bank on that same $500 investment seven years ago. But, your going to have to sell more, are you willing  to give up more boards?


With me its not the money to take care of the roof, it is giving up more boards than I want to part with.  Even in a auction, you pay a fee t sell, you pay a tax on a capital gain, you take less cash!  My answer to you if those boards you bought were your hobby they are not an investment.  Tapping your surfboard collection to get cash for a needed project is not a great idea at this junction in time.  What you have to give up is simply too much in the joy of collecting!  Remember, it is your hobby!  If you get less cash, so be it!


So what are your thoughts on this sad subject?  A picture with your reply to show us the board or boards in your story/reply say a 1000 words!

Keep Surfing,  daCoach


PS:  I sold a load  Chrysler 300 we inherited, no surfboards! to pay for the roof.




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Sun Damage to a Vintage Surfboard, a revisit!


Sun Damage to a surfboard is large factor in the determination of the value.  Maybe more so than dings.  However, many seller discount sun damage  as a small factor considering the boards age.  The age of the surfboard is why you want it.  If its burnt brown with no dings is why you probably don’t want it!  Over the years I have devoted several blogs to this subject.  So as Paul McCartney would sing “Here we go again”.


Surfboard foam’s three biggest problems in its infancy were expansion/shrinkage and discoloration.  There was also lamination issues, but that is another topic.  In Greg’s book he talks about how Grubby and Hobie would leave blanks on top of high rise roofs to experiment with the effects of the sun on the foam.  Hobie’s first foam boards are called the “Easter Boards” light blue, yellow, pink, grey and white completely covered in pigment to protect the foam from the sun!   Clark and Walker foam added a UV inhibiter to slow down the effects of constant exposure to sun.  Greg also followed this concept as well as Jack O’Neill.  Jack blew his own foam also to cut expenses.    Foss and Rogers foam did not use UV inhibitor or used less than the big three. Dave Sweet used no inhibitor.   None of the popouts used any UV protection.  The idea was to build them as cheap and fast as you could.


Sun damage is the changing of the color of the exposed foam from white to brown.  Sun damage also accelerates hidden water damage.  Dings to stringers and tail-blocks soaked up salt water.  All sorts of  issues come from this mildew, brown spots from oil in woods, delaminatiion, and of course dry rot.  The first color change is a white to a very light creamy color.  The next phase is a subtle change from a creamy color to a very light yellowing.  The next phase of damage is a changing from light yellow to a darker yellow.  The darker yellow changes to a tan color and the final stage is changing from tan to brown.  Pop outs get the brownest.  They will sun damage the fastest.  You should never let people display your boards or dispaly your vintage boards in direct sun light.  UV window protect helps but some harmful rays get through. I have had sun damage to my own boards through these so call protective windows.


Generally everyone wants a white vintage board, goal number one.  If it can’t be white then creamy will do.  This as far down in purchasing a board I go now!  If the board has a lot of sun damage two things help in value.  The surfboard’s historical significance or how bad you want this type of board.  When family member come to me to evaluate a family members old vintage surfboard that has been trashed by the sun.  I try to encourage them to keep it for sentimental reason.  Generally they are very young people do not like to hear the board is not worth much and will be hard to sell, genrally they just want as much money as they can get.  I never charge these people for an appraisal.  If they misrepresent my that is a big deal, please don’t ever do that, please.


Questions?   Would a restoration be a thought?  Or your story about buying a sun damaged board and or dealing with a person selling a sun damaged board?  Remember a set of pictures with your reply worth 1000′s of your words.


Keep Surfing,  daCoach

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