Bird Answers This Most Asked Question: Whats Your Classic Board Worth?


Quite often, I get requests to appraise surfboards, either from a historical standpoint or a monetary one. Although just about all surfboards are different in a wide variety of ways, the same basic point needs to be touched on. Below is my response to the latest inquiry. I hope you find it of some interest.

Bill asked to have his Skip Frye appraised. It was heavily used and not in great condition. With the prices of Frye boards escalating rapidly, many feel they are all worth big bucks, but thats not the case. There is a big difference of having a solid rider and a wall hanger.

“Howzit Bill,”

“There are generally three types of people who like old boards. One is the investor/collector. These types of folks generally seek out boards in the 8-10 scale of condition. Some are very knowledgeable, but most are not. These people will spend serious dollars on the right board.”

“Another group of buyers is the decor/buyer. They generally know little if anything about boards, using them as props or more of a decorative item. They can spend dollars, but it’s hard to get it out of them.”

“The last group of people is the I want: the ‘to ride it’ group. Condition is of little importance since it’s all about the ride and not the glitz or glamour. As you would expect, this crew operates on a strict budget.”


Some used boards are of a higher value than others due to many reasons. Skip Frye Quiver 2016. Photo: Shawn Parkin

“Your board falls into a very limited appeal group, and this is reflected in its value. Finding a badly weathered board and bringing it back to a respectable level is not a hard thing to do. To completely cover an entire board with a hot-coat pigment rather than polishing it to a high luster is a bit time consuming and is generally not a recommended way to go. Yes, you can hide ALL previous damage and sun-burned areas. BUT the board loses 90 percent of its soul.”

“No wooden stringer to view or possible markings on that stringer. Money buyers realize this instantly and shy away from it. A decor buyer might step up. Preserving a board by leaving all of its damaged areas exposed is the preferred way to go. The board’s overall condition tells a story and captivates all who look at it as they think about where the board has been and all of the waves that it’s been ridden on. A nice seal job with a lightly sanded finish is very cost-effective, thus making the board more affordable and interesting than one that has been covered up. In this scenario less is best.”

“Five to six years ago, your board could have sold in the $1,200 range if presented to the right group of buyers. These days, you’d be looking at a price range of between $600 to $800 — again, if presented to the right group of folks.”

“At the present time, I have a professionally sealed and polished early 1960s Hobie that has a great logo and no less that six stringers. It is priced at $595 and has been here for two months. The board market may recover in time, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting.”

“For another gauge of its value and a possible sale, list it on eBay and see who bites and what type of offers are coming in. As is often the case, your local shop or group of beach buddies will tell you I’m nuts and the board is worth big bucks. Every one has an opinion, and they are usually giving it to you for free. Getting the money that  people say it’s worth is a whole other ball game.”

“In closing, I’ll leave you with this; Skip [Frye] does fine work and is a credit to the profession. The board you have is unique in its own way, complete with the stories you have about it. I’d say enjoy all that it has to offer and be proud of what you have helped bring back to life.”

With respect,


Original post from SD News 2014

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