Boards – What To Look For And Avoid
Signs of bubbling, creasing and soft spots. These shown signs of structural damage and should be avoided at all costs, as they are very expensive to repair. These are likely to be found these around the foot pads (where the board will get hammered by your heals) and on the rails of the board (in the middle). If it’s going to snap this is where it will go.
Water coming out of any holes in the board (or vent screws or anywhere else for that matter) is a red light. It means the board is damaged and full of water, and should be avoided at all costs. Even if water isn’t coming out of the board, it could still be in there – if the board seems uneven when you lift if, or overly heavy, it could be full of water.
Signs of damage – i.e. cracks on nose of the board from it being smacked with the mast or boom. Rail damage – dings from the board of the beach, stones or other. This sort of damage should cause you less concern than any bubbling, creasing or soft spots, this is because this damage is likely to be more cosmetic than anything else. A crack or ding can be repaired (pay close attention to dings on the tail and rails in this area though), whereas full structural damage is a sign to completely avoid.
Non-slip – has the non-slip worn off? This is common in older boards, and you’ll need non-slip, for obvious reasons. If it has worn off you can re-grip the board, making it as grippy as the day it was made. Check between where you would put front and back feet, as this is the most common place to go slippery, the bottom of sail rubs on here, as well as your feet.
Snapped off screws in footstrap plugs are a complete pain. Equally, if the holes have been stripped – so you can’t turn the screws – you will need to fix them before sailing. This isn’t a major issue, but not ideal, and again worth noticing to adjust the price appropriately with the seller.
Cosmetics – any little scratches on the graphics or similar are really no concern at all. They’re only cosmetic and will not change the performance of your board at all. But the odd scratch here and there could save you some £££ and give you something barter with the seller about.
Tatty footstraps aren’t an issue at all, just buy a new set! This won’t set you back much £££ but will update the board and have it looking so good people won’t even know it’s second hand.
If the deck pads are peeling off it could be a blessing in disguise. This problem is easily fixed, as you can just bond them back on, plus it means you can check underneath the pads for real damage to the board too.
Also, check the condition of the fin, does it even come with one? A fin can be changed but a decent one isn’t cheap. If the fin is damaged you can repair it – if it’s G10 (glass) it’s easy to sand and repair, however carbon is harder to repair as it’s more likely to splinter.