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Why USEDSURF in San Clemente should be your first stop when it’s time to make some room in your board rack at home

By Jake Howard

Do you have a few old surfboards collecting dust in the rafters of your garage? Some may hold special, sentimental value. Hold on to those.

Others may be worth something over time. Keep those; they may help fund a college tuition someday.

But like an old pair of jeans that you’ve long outgrown, some boards just don’t fit right anymore, and it is time for them to go. As a recovering surfboard hoarder (admittedly still in the early stages of recovery), I’m here to say it’s OK. In fact, cash in!

But what do you do with old surfboards that you know you’re never going to ride again? In the past, I’ve tried to sell boards on Craigslist, but found it to be a hassle. Setting up meetings with strangers and getting low-balled proved to be more of a pain than it was worth. Seeing one of your favorite boards go for $50 is kind of heartbreaking.

Most surf shops around Dana Point and San Clemente have used racks, but in a lot of cases, that’s where team rider boards get shuffled off into their next life. Plus, seeing a beat-up old board next to a rack of fresh, gleaming white shapes is a hard sell unless you mark the price down considerably. 

This summer, I finally found the time and motivation to dig through all my old boards and part with a few. I decided I’d try my luck at USEDSURF in the San Clemente surf ghetto. Always busy, it deals expressly in the business of wheeling and dealing used surfboards—and the shop crushes it.

Opening shop in the early 2000s, USEDSURF is one of the biggest used surfboard businesses in the world today. Boasting an inventory of hundreds and hundreds of boards at any given time, it also offers a rad fin demo program with more than 200 sets of fins from which to choose. It’s an incredible resource to have right here in our backyard.

To get started, I went online to to see what I needed to do to get the ball rolling. The first thing to understand is that they charge a 25% consignment fee (minimum of $25). Given the level of service it ultimately provided and the fair prices it helped me set for my board, I had no problem with this.

With hundreds of boards on offer, USEDSURF on Calle de Los Molinos in San Clemente is the ideal location for anyone looking to sell a board or pick up something that’s already been ridden. Photo: Jake Howard

It certainly beats meeting some random person off Craigslist in a parking lot somewhere. 

Another thing to remember is that the boards you hope to sell should be in good condition. All wax and stickers should be removed. Dings should be repaired, and the board should be watertight and ready to ride.

I picked out six boards to bring in. All were in pretty good shape. And in the end, USEDSURF decided it would take four of the boards. The two it didn’t take were big-wave pintails with glass-on fins that it felt would take up too much room and not pique an interest in the middle of summer—a fair assessment. (Anyone want to buy a 7’6” board?)

After filling out a bit of paperwork on each board, I was good to go. The staff told me they would shoot me a text if any of the boards sold. Within a week, one of the boards had been sold. A week later, another board was purchased. And a week or two after that, a third board had sold. Each time a board sold, I got a text and USEDSURF had a check waiting (it also does Venmo).

Stoked would be an understatement. I had no idea that my boards would go this fast and sell for the prices they did. I came away from my experience at USEDSURF eager to refer them to all my fellow surfboard-hoarding friends.

It felt great to make some room in the board rack at home and put a little cash in my pocket.

So, if you are looking to sell some of your old boards, check out USEDSURF—and give them a follow on Instagram; it makes some great content, too.

Jake Howard is local surfer and freelance writer who lives in San Clemente. A former editor at Surfer Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal and ESPN, today he writes for a number of publications, including Picket Fence Media, Surfline and the World Surf League. He also works with philanthropic organizations such as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.

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