Whilst we would all love brand new quivers of equipment every year, it isn't always possible. If you're strapped for cash, but wanting to update your gear going second hand is a great option.

The second hand windsurfing equipment market is a buoyant one, with a whole range of items out there it's tricky to pick right.

To help you get a good deal from the second hand market, here's the Boards guide to buying used equipment...

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Click each title for more info...

Look out for the red, yellow and green coding. Green means GO ahead. Yellow, approach with caution. Red, STOP. Although, we're sure you will have worked that out for yourselves.

Where To Buy

What (Not) To Buy

How Old?

Boards - What To Look For And Avoid

Sails - Milk and crisp packets

Booms - As good as new?

Masts - Avoid the cracks

What Price?

Original windsurfer

[part title="Where to buy"]

Where To Buy

There are various options of where to buy second hand equipment both on and offline.

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Shops such as Boardwise have massive amounts of second hand equipment. The advantage of buying second hand through a trusted shop? They'll have done the hard work for you, will offer you a fair price and some sound advice too.

Boards recommended retailers:

Boardwise

Robin Hood Watersports

Quayside Windsurfers

4Boards

Bray Lake Watersports

H20 Sports

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There are a few sites where you can check through second equiment online, our recommendation? The Boards classifieds of course! Windsurfing equipment only, organised and with all the information you need.

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are popular options too, but be careful... a lot of equipment sold on Ebay or similar is older and can be a little less reliable. It's worth making sure you know as much as possible about the equipment you're buying as you can, this includes making sure where you're buying through is a reliable source.

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- The well known Hayling Island boot sale has for years provided a great place for hundreds of windsurfers to come together to buy and sell used equipment. Any windsurfing event you attend is also likely to see vehicles with for sale signs occupying their windows, those looking for an on the day sale could be offering great deals, but as ever be careful!

More details on that on page two...

[part title="What (Not) To Buy"]

What (Not) To Buy

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There also aren't too many options for these sorts of products on the second hand market. People tend to keep a wetsuit or harness until it wears out, rather than selling it on.

Finally, hygiene. Do you really want someone else's old, smelly wetsuit bootys?!? We think it's well worth shelling out for new to avoid the risk of any sort of skin disease.

[part title="How Old?"]

How Old?

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[part title="Boards "]

Boards - What To Look For And Avoid

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. 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.

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– 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.

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- 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

[part title="Sails"]

Sails - What To Look For And Avoid

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– When mono-film has gone, it's gone. And there's no bringing it back. If the sail looks milky, feels and sounds like a crisp packet and is brittle, not pliable, then it's life is pretty much over. Avoid at all costs.

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These aren't good news, as it could take £40-80 per panel to repair. Where you get the repair done will determine the cost and standard of repair. Watch out for suspicious stickers, make sure they're not hiding a tear, rip or puncture.

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shouldn't be a worry at all. A small dent (maybe made by the harness or similar) are probably OK and shouldn’t turn into a tear. They also won't affect the performance of the sail.

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– that could include scuffing or tearing (also on batten pockets) probably from carrying the sail up and down the beach aren't ideal but are less of a worry than a rip or tear in the main sail panels.

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If a whole panel has been replaced asked for more details about who’s done it and why. If done by a great sal repairer the sail could be 95% what it was before, if not a whole new panel put in by someone who doesn't know what they're doing could seriously affect the performance of the sail. Make sure this work is reflected in the price.

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– take them out, all the way out. These can be damaged easily so check that they’re not cracked. This is especially prevalent in tube rod battens, you’ll find these in more high performance freeride sails and race sails – this join is particularly delicate and breaks easily.

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[part title="Booms"]

Booms

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- Ropes on your boom can be replaced, but the mechanism needs to work, so check the front end opens and closes smoothly. Check clips at the back end still work and show no signs of damage. Cleet at the back isn’t worn.

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– You don’t want damage on the boom grip, especially where you will be putting you hands. BUT you can regrip a boom. Buying a tatty carbon boom could be a good thing, you could get yourself a bargain because it looks very worn, but it's not actually too expensive to regrip a boom. Especially in bigger booms the quality of the boom makes a difference, i.e. you want a good carbon one. In smaller sizes you can get away with something a little weaker.

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make the most of the second hand market. Find an old, tatty carbon boom and give it a complete overhaul. For bigger sails you're going to want a stiff carbon one, if you can sniff out a bargain (these are expensive new), and you’re willing to do the work i.e. re-grip, new cleets, new clamp, you could get yourself an amazing boom at a rock bottom price.

Masts

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It will give you a crisper, lighter, more responsive feel and give your sail more wind range. This applies even more to large RDM masts – if you’re freeriding with an RDM masts these might not be as good as SDM in bigger sails. For big freeride go SDM with as much carbon as possible.

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at the join the mast, signs of splitting and any cracks anywhere on the mast.

[part title="What Price?"]

What Price?

We wish this was an easy one to answer, unfortunately it's impossible to give a good price for every product on the second hand market. All we can say is research your product.

If you think an offer is too good to be true, it probably is!

There will always be great deals run by shops and retailers, many of these are for valid reasons but there will always be products that are less effective than others.

Be informed, be aware, research, talk to friends, shops and on the Boards forum, and suss out what you really want before parting with your money!