How to use three-out-of five rule to always win when buying secondhand surfboards!
I’ve spoken ad nauseam about the thrill of the secondhand surfboard market.
Not only do you pay a lower cosmic price on the day of your judgement by recycling. But in this Surfboard-Warehouse-post-capitalist nightmare we live in, with boards both good and bad constantly being pumped into circulation, it really is a buyer’s market. There are many deals to be had.
Buying secondhand surfboards also forces you to ride boards you might not otherwise try. To broaden your horizons. I call it the three-out-of-five rule.
No, you’re not browsing the rack or sitting down with a shaper to dial in the exact board you’re after. On the used and abused circuit, the chances are you won’t find it. But if you can go into the hunt with a general outline of what you want, combined with an open mind, new adventures await.
It’s the same rule I use for choosing a political party, or a new job. You’re never going to find something that aligns perfectly with your values/desires. If you can tick three out of five boxes you’re generally doing ok.
No need to let perfect get in the way of good, we live in a world of compromises, don’t vote Green etc. Plus, you never know what previously unknown kinks you may discover. You might end up finding the board of your dreams – at which point you can go and find a good shaper to make you another one.
Anyway, here’s a couple I’ve picked up recently. Test pilot is still me. A soon-to-be-40, balding, fat idiot who surfs terribly and despite everything I’ve just said should really just fucking stump up and buy a new board.
Peter McCabe twin fin
6’4″ x 20″ x 2 5/8″
This one struck me like lightning. It was only a couple of days after the great Rip Curl gender bender fire sale when the iconic wetsuit brand managed to piss off both sides of the turbo-charged transgender debate.
Whether the resultant offering of half-price wetties was a panicked response to their rapidly plummeting share price or they were just clearing space for next season’s stock, I don’t know.
Regardless, I quickly dropped some coin from an already dwindled board/wetty budget on a new autumn suit. I needed it but also probably didn’t really need it. You know how it goes. The offer was too good to refuse. I was basically making money etc.
But I needed a new twinny, too.
I’ve written previously about the 6’2″ performance twin I’ve been riding. Darren Symes shaped. A beautiful board picked up for only $50. I got a whole lot of love out of it. But an old patched-up repair job on the deck had started cracking. It was in need of substantial repairs, which would a) cost three times more than what I paid for it and b) weigh it down further in the tail.
I decided it was terminal. I plugged it with a mix of blu tac and FU wax, and waited for the thing to crumble. Which it eventually did, but after much longer than I expected. Shout out to blu tac for the ultimate dodgy repair solutions.
By the end of it though, shards of fibreglass were beginning to crack and expose, ripping holes in my knee every time I duck dived or slid the board underfoot to stand up. Flagellating myself like John the Savage, punishment for my second hand sins.
There were no two ways about it. It needed to be replaced.
Enter the McCabe.
Of all the Facebook marketplaces set to 150km radiuses in the world this board could walk into, it chose mine
A beautiful stinger outline with flyers. Bright red spray. Futures twin set up (another $100, farkenell). Longer and wider than I was looking for. But it’s a twin, so you can still throw the thing around. Thicc as fuck but in all the right places.
Fun fact: The last custom I ordered was off McCabe. A 7’6″ single fin, with a similar outline to this one. Modelled off his late ‘70s Padang shooter. Now almost two years old, it’s been ridden three times and sits in the garage waiting for something worthy of it. I’ll let you know when that happens.
Anyway, back to the twinny.
It goes like this: I’m a fucken poor cunt. I looked at my bank account. I definitely couldn’t afford it. But the thing was basically brand new. I know the guy who was selling it. A regular customer of McCabe. He’d ridden it a handful of times. Was offering it at half the price or even less. It wasn’t cheap, from a secondhand surfboard perspective. $600. But an absolute steal in regards to the shaper and the board. Just like the heavily discounted wetsuit, it was an offer too good to refuse. I was basically making money etc.
I ran some crude financial equations in my head, which all resulted in me borrowing money from myself to be paid back at a later date when overheads are less / I’m earning more / a relative dies / I win the lotto.
I also decided to sell the wetsuit to help pay for it. I chucked it up on marketplace, at what I paid + 20% for haggling room. To paraphrase Hemingway: For sale. Idiot’s wetsuit. Never worn.
Still no bites on it as of yet, and there’s a big chunk out of our family holiday saving fund that I still somehow need to replace. If the water wasn’t so warm currently I would have caved and worn it already.
So how’s the board go? Well, what do you fucken think?
Lost Rad Ripper
6’1″ x 20 ½” x 2 1/2″
An ‘80s style shortboard. Boxy rails, lots of volume through the middle. Pulled-in tail.
Was as-new, and purchased off my brother. He had it for over a year and he had barely ridden it. He has the same board hunger as me but the bank account to buy them new. I am often the recipient of such hand-me-downs.
It’s a delight on my backhand. Whips up into the pocket with ease. On my forehand it can sometimes pull a little through turns. Doesn’t like an elongated rail line carve. But it’s super responsive. Can be ridden in anything from 2’ slop to proper four-to-six foot. A good enough daily driver.
Ultimately though, it’s trying to be too many things at once. Is it a performance shorty or a more forgiving funboard?
Is it a retro nod or a modern day spin?
I feel like it falls somewhere in between all of them, yet manages to be none. Jack of all trades ‘n that. There’s a philosophical / existential argument about the modern day all rounder. Sure they might be good for the gal surfing once a month.
But if you’re at least semi serious about your surfing, have a quiver of boards fit for purpose.
It’s not that hard. I’ll keep an eye on secondhand surfboards on Marketplace for you.