Surfer/Writer/Burrito Enthusiast
cheap surfboard

 It could be yours for the low, low price of $550! Image: Craigslist

The Inertia

Buying a surfboard on Craigslist is tricky. For every decent seller trying to find a new home for their once-loved board with plenty of life left, there are dozens more passing off crusty, waterlogged hunks of fiberglass as something worth spending money on. Scoring a great deal on a new-to-you board is the dream, but you have to sift through a lot of nightmares.

If you spend enough time sorting through the unregulated Craigslist market, the same types of bizarre boards – and sellers – begin appearing over and over again. They’re not good. Some are sandal-clad snake-oil salesman that want to convince you their ding-riddled board will change your life; others are simply clueless. All are selling you junk in their own obnoxious ways.

I’ve taken my years of used surfboard buying experience to bring you this list of the worst types of boards you’ll find in the digital yard sale that is Craigslist. Good luck out there.

Brand New Board at a Suspiciously Good Price From An Unknown Shaper (#10)


I’ve seen this approach become more popular in recent years, where a new shaper sells their designs on Craigslist to seemingly help gain exposure. I respect the hustle and unique approach, but am suspicious why their boards cost much less than most new surfboards from established local shapers. It makes you wonder if they just smashed random scrap parts together and glassed it, hoping for the best. The same approach worked for the hot dog – so maybe this board isn’t actually all that bad.

Bad Custom Artwork Board (#9)

There are strange geometrical shapes on the deck that zig, zag, and are painted every color of the rainbow. This board is basically brand new and a great deal – but it’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen. It looks like a child dumped all of their finger paints on the deck, swirled them around and said “that will do.” Someone actually surfed on this monstrosity. More worrying, someone paid for this and expects you to do so as well.

My secret old man opinion is that all custom artwork on boards is dumb. Seeing deck art instantly transforms me into the equivalent of a sixty-year-old man that has just seen a tattoo on a young person. Why would you go out and ruin a perfectly good deck with your drunken Spirograph design? Get off my lawn.

Deal of the century or buyer beware? Photo: Craigslits

Deal of the century or buyer beware? “Handmade hyrdrofoil, surfs great!” Photo: Craigslist

SEO Board (#8)


You see this board all the time because you are forced to. Some internet wizard discovered that if you drop the name of quite literally every shaper and surf brand known to mankind into the description, it will appear in EVERY. SINGLE. SEARCH. This is a board that will somehow find a way to appear in search results for a new apartment.

Looking for a two-bed, two-bath close to the beach? Don’t forget to bring along this overpriced used shortboard!

Surfboard Modem (#7)

While technically not a surfboard, the Surfboard Modem always appears in Craigslist searches thanks to some keyword irony. Annoying – because it’s not the surfboard you are looking for – but far more useful and worth your money than many others on this list.

~~~$$$##*** – THIS BOARD!! – ***##$$$~~~ (#6)

Nothing screams “great, legitimate opportunity!” more than a bunch of symbols smashed together in a line of text. These posts occupy the perfect intersection of click bait and wingdings. I hope the sellers all fall into a pit of razor-sharp tildes.

This one ^^ has all the elements. Photo: Craigslist

Poorly Placed Traction Pad Board (#5)

This person slipped off their board once and vowed “Never Again.” Sometimes, there is just a traction pad placed too far up the tail that makes turning a laborious affair. But others are entire boards dedicated to nothing but traction and wind up looking like a mosaic art project. Don’t let them ever catch you slippin’.


Overpriced Foam Board (AKA The Gougestorm) (#4)

If you’re charging $150 for a $99 CostCo Wavestorm, congratulations! You are a disgusting slug of a human being well on your way to a career as a ticket scalper.


This guy can’t accept that the board he purchased for $700 three years ago will not sell for anywhere near that price now. The description usually says something like “barely used” or “only surfed about ten times” yet is somehow swimming in pressure dings. It doesn’t include fins, but the seller will include them for five dollars less than the full retail price.

Long-Winded Description Board (#2)

I don’t care that you got a new board and need to unload your old one. I don’t care that your significant other is angry that you have twenty boards taking up garage space. Your life story bears absolutely zero weight in my decision to eventually email you with a lowball offer (should have put no low balling in the description). The longer you talk about this board, the more suspicious I am that it’s secretly a hollowed-out home for a family of rats.

Old Yeller (#1)

This board should have been taken out behind the shed and put out of its misery years ago. Or at least repurposed as a coffee table. But here it is – sporting every surfer’s favorite shade of dried mustard brown, hauling around half the Pacific Ocean under its cracked glass, and held together by duct tape. It’s guaranteed to snap in half if you look at it wrong. It’s all yours for $50, but someone should really be paying you just to look at it.



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