Surfboards as an investment?

I’m not a surfboard collector or anything like that (although I have noticed the trend lately), but I do have one spot on the wall that begs for a “wallhanger.” A while ago I saw some Yater’s being sold at an art gallery, absolutely beautiful objects. I inquired and believe they were being sold for $5000-6000. That figure is hard for me, a lowly school teacher, to justify, but I’m thinking if I could convince my wife that in 20-30 years that board will have outpaced inflation and even increased its value, and/or that my daughter, if she wanted , could sell it and…well, you get the idea.

Any financial advisor types out there have an opinion on this? Maybe if I get a really authoritative opinion, with facts and figures and what not, I could convince my wife of it’s investment value (while I enjoy the aesthetic value) of one of those boards. It’s either this or a 401k (or 403b).


unless Ancell dies or blows up big time

I don’t see those value of those boards out performing the market

depends on when the coolness factor of surfing dissapates

the hollow board on the home page from the big island will probably be worth more if it has a pedigree behind it.

As far as death of the artist I know folks buying and stashing custom brewer balsa guns just waiting…

If you think of it as art and are looking at it as a long term piece of home decor you can pass on to the kids then that’s different.

But as far as an investment, there are better ways to invest if its the end-run profit margin you’re looking for.

My wife just went to an art auction and one of the things discussed was as follows. In 1940 a Piacaso was worth $10,000. Today that same painting is worth millions. A house at that time was worth about the same, today depending on where its located, maybe its worth $500,000. In the same amount of time a person had paid interest on a mortgage, property taxes, improvements and maintenance. If the home is left to your children, lets not forget about capitol gains. To invest in surfboards as art… the choice and chance is yours.

At $5,000 its probably not a bad investment.

it takes a real collector to shell out that kinda coin for a surfboard. in 20 or 30 years, those boards will be far more of a rarity…BUT that doesn’t necessary mean someone will be willing to pay $20k or $30k for it. it’s only work what someone is willing to pay…and when you get down to it, it’s still just foam and fiberglass…it’s still just a surfboard.

[not that any foam and fiberglass is ever “just a surfboard”…but you get my point]

While I am neither an investor these days nor a collector (ever) , I have been around a while. And watched the ‘values’ go up and down.

Right now, surfing is just passing it’s zenith as ‘something cool’ to be involved with. And maybe the prices will stay the same for a while. But… a board you bought now for five grand is never going to be worth more ( in 2007 dollars, figure in inflation and all that ) than five grand. That’s the top of the market. Figure more like three, the minute you take it out the door. And maybe 2000 the first time it gets scratched.

If you had bought a Yater in, oh, 1965, for a couple hundred bucks, put it away in storage without ever using it, and now you brought it out - that board you could maybe sell for three grand, to the right private collector, maybe. That’s a board that appreciates.

The guys who are paying five grand? They have that five grand for fun money, toy money, stupid money. The market price is driven by toy buyers, people who surfed once and don’t now, instead they went to a cubicle someplace thirty years back and got the stock options and worked the system and all that, now they took the big payout, bought the house in Costa Rica maybe a ways back from the beach, they maybe have a Surftech or a Bic they grovel on on the small days.

But the repro old boards, and that’s what this is, they are the rich guys way of recapturing their lost youth.

Dale Velzy’s last few hundred boards - well, those were selling for a price that reflected collectors, not day in, day out surfers. And as such, many were made as wall-hangers from the get go. To guys with deep pockets who had no intention, ever, of surfing the things.

That ain’t you. You want to invest? The 401 or the 403- is that last the college fund for your daughter? - those make sense. Don’t invest in a surf-related industry/compamny on those either. Get in with the state pension scheme or whatever there is like that.

Don’t play your hunches. Day traders make money on other people’s hunches, by anticipating 'em and basicly play the would-be players. I’ve done well with mutual funds - it spreads the risk. Go with one you can ignore for twenty years. And ignore it. What you need to realise is that real investing is a real, full time job…and you already have one.

Oh, and - if you wanna invest in a board? Find a good shaper, on his way up. Buy it cheap, take care of it. And surf that sucker. The return will be something without a price. You can pass that over to your daughter, also without price.

hope that’s of use

doc…

Hey Jeff,

I can’t comment on that beauty of a board in the pic but the only “investing” I have done with surfboards are to buy used Merricks in the winter and ride the hell out of it and when summer comes sell it to the summer surfers for a little over the price I paid for. Totally works.

cheers,

Rio

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My wife just went to an art auction and one of the things discussed was as follows. In 1940 a Piacaso was worth $10,000. Today that same painting is worth millions. A house at that time was worth about the same, today depending on where its located, maybe its worth $500,000. In the same amount of time a person had paid interest on a mortgage, property taxes, improvements and maintenance. If the home is left to your children, lets not forget about capitol gains. To invest in surfboards as art… the choice and chance is yours.

At $5,000 its probably not a bad investment.

I first invested in one of my mutual funds in 1986. It’s a good, reliable performer, but not at the absolute top of the return heap. According to their performance charts, $1,000 invested at fund start-up in 1957 would be worth on the order of 6 million today. Ask any reputable financial consultant (I recommend it be a CFP) and you will be told that collectibles nearly always make inferior investments, and the exceptions are nothing but lucky gambles, no different than a slot machine jackpot or winning lotto ticket. I recently watched a classic auto auction where the top car (a Bentley) went for 2.5 million bucks. Somehow I doubt that the buyer made his fortune trading in antique autos. To avoid disappointment - collect what you love, but invest in what produces results, and understand the difference.

-Samiam

As an investment class , cars and surfboards are poor investments for return on your money over time. – Common wisdom

Einstein has been quoted that ‘compound interest’ is the 8th wonder of the world.

Specifically, compound interest is what you earn when you are in the stock market through mutual funds and other

market vehicles.

It’s an interesting topic and I value all of the opinions. Being one of many patrons at Kevin and Rennie’s art show down in the LA art district this last fall, I have to say that these boards are unique. They are one of a kind that know one else is doing, let alone know how to do. They are art, pure and simple. I don’t know many people who buy art as an investment; it’s more for the enjoyment and pleasure of something you like and can afford. It doesn’t hurt though when they become collected and prices go up after you were moved to buy yours. Many of the buyers were non surfers.

A couple of the surf auctions that I have witnessed seemed to be dominated by entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and lawyer types who could get the right off.

LLilibel03, listen to the voice of wisdom: buy one of my boards today and your daughter’s daughter’s daughter’s daughter’s daughter’s daughter will be very happy. (But not rich, I’m afraid)…

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Oh, and - if you wanna invest in a board? Find a good shaper, on his way up. Buy it cheap, take care of it. And surf that sucker. The return will be something without a price. You can pass that over to your daughter, also without price.

I kept one surfboard from what, alas, probably were my prime surfing years…a now beat to hell William Dennis swallowtail. It looks like it was ridden hard for several of years without a leash at various Malibu, Ventura and Santa Barbara point breaks only…which it was. It looks like dings and damage were repaired by an unskilled ding repair person…they were. Someday I intend to get it down from the rafters and do a real repair job. It would look great over the fireplace mantle…to me.

I wish I’d kept the Morey-Pope. I wish I’d kept the Hollow…which is maybe the more “collectable” now, but somehow I don’t think it would look as nice on the wall given the manufactured skins. So goes life.

I saw that Yater with all the abalone/mother of pearl or whatever…it has no personal resonance with me, but it was one hell of an art piece. Something like that may have a life as art, but I suspect that (like doc and many others) boards whose appeal is primarily in the craftsman and label are subject to fad and fancy. That doesn’t at all mean they are without value, now or in the future, but rather that forces outside surfing will control the $$$ value.

Selling art became something the master could do in his older years for fun, creating art pieces from his long run on the ocean.

when we get delivered, and freed from our container, we don’t know where we’ll be at. But we’re glad to be out.

No one wants to be cooped up for too long, sometimes our parents given into our demands and we get out before hardened under the pressure. It doesn’t look right.

But the thought that crosses everyone’s minds but is never spoken . . . it is taboo and you don’t want to jinx it . . .

Oh, I can get in serious trouble for this. But oh well you have to know. I just hope the karma won’t come back and haunt me.

it doesn’t matter whose hands we get into . . . but that we get there. You even seen those Discovery Animal Planet shows where they show salmon trying to get to the quiet upper waters to breed and die?

Same. All blanks desire this. We all want to get wet and feel a wave. Even if we had no glass, still even if it leads to our demise.

But the last thing a blank wants is a disfunction of natural order. To be locked up on solitary confinement. After our first wave its all downhill, but surfers don’t even get it. It doesn’t matter, its like that fly that is born only to procreate and then die a few hours later.

A blank’s sole purpose in life is just to get that one wave. To be denied that very destiny all blanks must attain, man that’s too tough to mention. Just one wave. The lucky ones will get several. But nothing’s like the first.

But I’m glad, I was bought by some kid with wild imagination. I’m thinking he’ll post it on this web page I saw on a flickering computer screen, while waiting in his room, trying to squirm away from his dog licking itself. The family pet’s claws aren’t trimmed.

For a beginner he’s as the black folk will say, ‘awwrigh’ at shaping. I got this old school curren copy that turned into early 80s. I don’t know what I really am.

But the glass was pretty good. Sanding was ok. I got scared when the sander bit into my flesh. You know you never know if you’ll get tossed for a blotched shape or what not. You just don’t know these days. But went fine, all fixed and good to go.

I’m sitting with all these other boards, with wax on. The elders say if you’re put a room with others that have wax, there is a chance of waves. As long as you’re not hung above Over Head height you will do fine.

Yeah I’m on the ground. The roundtail next to me has wax. I don’t say nothing , but they talk about the break. They tell me, ‘whats up’. And they laugh and say, ‘I think you’re next’. I act all cool. But like Tom Curren, I wait.

Like all blanks I want one. Just one. One wave.

Break out the checkbook for this wall display…

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Left to right… Gerry Lopez - Greg Noll - Robert August - Paul Jensen

Each board represents a core company value of this construction company in San Diego…

My contribution, is just a loaner until I finish the real display board…

I’m humbled to be included with these legends…

Paul

BTW: I want the quad fish back, it’s my everyday board…!!!..

The best advice I’ve heard about collecting: “If you want to collect, find something you love and collect it. You have to love it or it won’t be worth the trouble. Collecting to make a profit just doesn’t seem to work.”

So, based on that, if you really like the Yater boards, go for it, but they may not be sought-after by collectors in 20 years. But then, maybe they will be worth $50,000.00. The point is, if you really like the thing, you make out either way.

Doug

If you want the value of your board to increase just do the following.

  • Get a board shaped.

  • Find someone famous.

  • Get them to ride your board, and have it publisized to the world.

  • Make them sign the board

Presto! You have a collectors item!

Here’s another variation:

  • Get a board shaped.

  • Become famous yourself

  • He some poperatzi photographer take your picture with it

  • Sign the board

Sorry… I couldn’t resist. The silly thing is that collectors items of high value tend not to be expensive because of the quality of the product. Everyone wants to have some silly story to attach to whatever it is that they are buying.

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The silly thing is that collectors items of high value tend not to be expensive because of the quality of the product. Everyone wants to have some silly story to attach to whatever it is that they are buying.

Those aren’t silly stories, they’re “provenance”…history…

Like Yater Apocalypse Now reproductions, going for small fortunes. The/an original as I first heard it graced the back yard of Sam Bottoms, who played the character Lance B. Johnson. This article says something else…but it does show what can happen in a hot market.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060119/news_1c19surf.html

Does it make sense to pay $3000 for a replica of a movie prop? Maybe more than it does to buy a board for a signiture on the stringer.

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Those aren’t silly stories, they’re “provenance”…history…

Like Yater Apocalypse Now reproductions, going for small fortunes. The/an original as I first heard it graced the back yard of Sam Bottoms, who played the character Lance B. Johnson. This article says something else…but it does show what can happen in a hot market.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/…9/news_1c19surf.html

Does it make sense to pay $3000 for a replica of a movie prop? Maybe more than it does to buy a board for a signiture on the stringer.

There was a long time when those boards were $2000. Considering the A + glass job and color work from Precision Fiberglass custom fins etc. it hardly seems like a fortune (not that I had that kind of money). The small run ran its course and was a precursor to the abalone boards, but I’m in agreement, sort of. I bet he’d be the first to laugh at the idea. A lot of people can drop $2000 in a heart beat.

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Does it make sense to pay $3000 for a replica of a movie prop? Maybe more than it does to buy a board for a signiture on the stringer.

That’s basically the point I was trying to make.

Whether or not it is silly or a piece of history is debatable depending on the individual case. For example, what is worth more: A board riden by the Duke, a prop board from Apocolypse Now, a prop board from Beach Blanket Bingo, a board paddled by David Hasselhoff on a Bay Watch episode, or a board shaped by Tom Blake that no one famous ever rode?

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. The silly thing is that collectors items of high value tend not to be expensive because of the quality of the product. Everyone wants to have some silly story to attach to whatever it is that they are buying.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet, live with (for a 6 month period) and become a family friend of a very prominent collector of contemporary art. The artwork he bought in the 1950’s was donated ( or rather sold for a fraction of the market value) to a local museum for $11 million. He then went on to sell the part of his collection from the 60’s for $26 million to another museum. When he first started buying artwork his relatives made fun of him, saying he was a fool for (literally) buying trash (Robert Rauschenberg “combine” paintings). Years later they don’t laugh at him anymore. They inaugurated the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao with works from his collection.

He always spoke to me about “quality.” He said sooner or later quality always comes shining through. He collects “Minimal Art” which a lot of people think of as a hoax. But seeing the work both in museums and in the context of his private residence I think I grasp what he means by quality.

I never doubted the quality of the Yater boards (although some of them I did not like- the ones with representational subject matter- like the inlayed dolphin). And no one in their right mind would actually purchase one of those boards to surf on (ok maybe once to qualify it as a real surfboard, but could you imagine how bummed you’d be with a bunch of pressure dings…Hey Rennnie, could I get mine glassed with epoxy?).

I’m just trying to figure a way to convince my wife that I’m not insane to spend $6000 for a surfboard!