Boards shaped by pros vs amateurs


I’m looking to get a new board in the 7’6" range but I don’t have 5-600 to drop on a brand new board, and I don’t want to buy some waterlogged piece off craigslist or wait for a decent one to pop up. I found a 7’5" board that is only $220 and it’s brand new. I asked the guy why so cheap and he said because shaping is a hobby, so clearly if he’s just starting out, the board may not have some nuances that a board from a good shaper would have. But how much do those subtleties matter when it comes to larger boards? I know that when we talking pros and a shorter board, subtleties probably matter a lot, but if I’m an intermediate just looking for more foam, will a board from an amateur be ok?

How long have you been surfing?
What is your skill level?
A surfer who has been surfing long enough gets to a point where they know what they like and are able to pick a board based on that knowledge. Who shaped the board doesn’t matter per se.

Also, where are you located? I see great deals on CL all day.

I am in San Diego I have been surfing over 4 years I know I want something in the 76 range and the general shape I’m just not sure if subtle rockor differences and width and contours will make that much of a difference

I don’t think anyone here can give a good answer without seeing the board.  If it looks good, and your gut says yes, then buy it and try it.  Worst case scenario you end up selling it and moving on to your next board.  Best case scenario you get a great board for a great price and now maybe you have a new friend who makes surfboards.

If you have lingering doubts, pass it up and keep looking, like Chrisp says, there’s lots of boards on Craigslist, especially in your area. 

When you’re serious about getting a new custom board with a great shape, save a little more and go talk to Barry Snyder or Albert Elliot (ACE Surfboards).

If you have a choice, find one with a removable fin system.  With a bit of fin tuning, a lot of boards can be adjusted to work.  I like 2+1 systems with a center box that allows fin interchangeability and a lot of fore/aft adjustment.  The center fin seems to make the most difference in boards I’ve had - I’d even settle for glassed on sidebites if the board has a standard long box in the center…

Some ams make really good boards…some pros make really bad boards.  Some pros don’t even make the boards that bear their names.

Hey Garek,

If the board talks to you, check before you buy, for

  • pinholes —> you dont want the board to suck water. Pinhole is a small hole, basically a little tunnel for water to pass through to the inside.

  • use the biggest and strongest nail you have —> push down pretty firmly around finboxes, and on deck and bottom a hand away from the rail. is it soft? Then it is not strong.

  • put fins in the boxes, the look from the nose down to see if they are put in the right way

  • it you checked all this and the board is downright ugly, buy it, ride it and maybe love it



Imo, based on what you’ve told us, you should be shopping the used racks and CL…
Lot’s of good deals ESPECIALLY in your area.
Lot’s of guys buy boards, hardly use them then put them up on CL for cheap.

Get your ass over to Bird’s Surf Shed.         I was there for one hour yesterday, and saw 4 used boards come in the door.         Lots of available inventory, and a highly knowledgable owner.        A very good combination.         If you don’t leave with a new board, you’ll leave smarter than when you walked in the door.

good answer!

Hello Garek007… I’m a backyard builder. It costs me more than $220 to build a 7’5" surfboard…keep that in mind…

…not even counting labor…just foam/fiberglass/resin/fin plugs/sand paper…ect…well over $220…and my boards are not half ass…are you real ?


Thanks guys. My biggest fear was the fin setup. I think I’ll keep looking

Why aren’t you making your own board?  Swaylocks is here to walk you through the whole process.  I’ve been riding my own boards for the last 5 years.  I know my boards are not up to par with a pro (or probably even an amateur) shaper but I think most surfers with your years of experience have so much room to grow.  Trying to find that magic board with 4 years of surfing in a 7’6" range in San Diego…not going to happen.  Ride a variety of boards and you’ll really figure out what works for you.  Long boards, fish, short boards, they all hone your skills and you’ll really figure out what you like.  I would find a reputable shaper, buy that board, and then work on your own.  That way you have a template to work from and you can experiment to find out what works for you.  

I was in a Jack’s Surf Shop a week ago in Dana Point.  Average price for a shortboard ;  $650.  Craigslist Orange and San Diego are loaded with good used boards.  But its always worth the experience to go intoa a shop like Birds