The conversations generated by this thread has left me wondering what the world would pay for a surfboard like this. If this board was for sale at your local surf shop what would you feel comfortable paying?
Note that custom wood surfboards range from in excess of a million dollars to a few thousand. What price wouldn't give the surfing world heartburn?
1200 minus 700 for materials leaves me 500 dollars to cover my 160 hours of labor. That would mean I make custom wood Roy Stewart inspired longboards at a rate of $3.12 per hour.
How many like boards have you built that have proven to hold up under use?
How many positive testimonials from experienced wooden board riders for that shape?
If the answer to either or both is "not many" then i'd admire the incredible amount of craftsmanship that went into it, and keep walking. But there is probably a different market out there for beautifully crafted wooden boards of unproven performance.
This statement “Note that custom wood surfboards range from in excess of a million dollars to a few thousand.“ is only partly true. An item’s worth is not based on its asking price or perceived value; it is based on what the market is willing to pay for it. I have yet to see a reported sale of any surfboard selling for millions of dollars. I’m far from an expert in vintage and contemporary surfboard value though, more an avid and experienced hobbyist with OCD. I dig vintage boards. Thus far the most expensive surfboards I’ve heard of being sold are these, if you click on the pic it’ll take you to the original article. They're mentioned in the first article I linked as well.
They’re made of nickel. I think they’re in a category all their own though as the guy who made them commanded prices like that since he was an acclaimed artist/designer, rather than just a surfboard shaper. His name commanded those prices. The price of art is subjective.
The most expensive, traditional boards I recall being sold were Gerry Lopez’s Big Wednesday board ($30K) and one of John Kelly’s redwood olos ($41K). I think some of Bob Simmon’s boards have gotten prices like that, but I’m a little fuzzy there. Obviously these are significant boards to surfing history and with that kind of provenance they command much higher prices than the average “collectible” vintage surfboard.
So onto wood boards. A very good condition, vintage Velzy and/or Jacob’s or other top shaper’s, balsa boards from the 50’s can easily go for 10 Gs, with some wiggle room on either end of that. That’s if it hasn’t been restored. That affects the value; but it depends upon the restoration. Super rare, custom or significant (meaning someone famous rode ‘em) boards bring premium prices. Even In rough condition balsa board’s from that era are usually worth a grand or two.
Contemporary wood boards are more expensive than epoxy or poly and I think that I recall reading that Greg Noll was getting around 10 grand for his balsa, DaCat’s, if you can convince him to make you one. I think he makes very few to keep the prices up.
I’ve got his book at home (I’m at work right now). I’ll look it up when I'm there. Who knows what they’re selling for these days. I do know that everyone in the collectible market says it’s not what it used to be. Maybe so, maybe not.
I’ve seen Terry Martin’s Hobie label, balsa boards made in the last 15 years selling for about $2-4K. That’s it, sad ain’t it? Terry Martin was an amazing craftsman. My father-in-law’s been shaping in IB since 1969. He’s sold chambered balsa, mahogany, redwood and agave longboards and guns for between 1200$ and 1500$. He’s no longer a prolific shaper though and his name doesn’t have much cachet.
So, what’s your board worth? Well, you’re not Greg Noll or Terry Martin and let’s face it, brand recognition drives price. Skip Frye’s boards are worth what they are because Skip sweated onto the foam and then slapped a pair of wings on it. I can buy a knock off Magic from ACE that works just as well for a quarter of the price, but it ain’t a Skip.
Based on the fact that that your board has $0 collectible value and that it is competing with other wooden boards in the functional (not a wall hanger), used (I assume you’re going to ride it) surfboard market; I would put a retail (meaning it’s on consignment in a shop and you get 2/3 of total sale) price on it of between 1500$ and 2500$ US and for sale to an individual between 1200$ and 1800$ US. I think you can get a higher price because of the additional labor required to make it in comparison to a chambered wooden board. Those are San Diego/Orange County prices. I imagine that the surfboard market in South Carolina is not as strong as it is here in SoCal; but I don’t know. Maybe you can get a better price there because it’s a local board. Nobody ever got rich off of making surfboards. Tshirts and boardshorts are where the money is.
Anyway Steve, that’s just my opinion man and I’m often wrong. What matters is what it’s worth to you, right?
hap Jacobs 4000$
Terry Martin $2700
There are some valid points made here. Price is a tricky thing to place on an object. I am an licensed mechanic by trade and in college I have studied advanced composites. I have studied woodworking the last several years and I have made several wood boards. I've made alaias, hollow wooden stringer, and torsion box surfboards. If I would sell a surfboard it would be most likely online were they regularly fetch 3000 to 6000 on any given day. 1200 is a fair price for a foam longboard. Custom wood surfboards fetch more. I wouldn't set my labor rate at what a foam shaper at the local surf shop charges unless I was making foam boards.