These three mistakes are based on the last 8 years of observations, feedback and conversations. Allow me to break each one of them down, in an effort to help you avoid these common pitfalls of custom surfboard ordering:
1. Being too specific
This Could also be described as: “not trusting your shaper to do what they are good at.”
In theory, the reason you have approached a particular shaper to build you a custom surfboard is because you like the work they do; both from a functional and aesthetic standpoint.
Trust them to do what they are good at, because they know their own models better than you do.
The scientific process states that you should only change one variable at a time; surfboards are no different.
If you have a specific need or alteration to make (for example: you know you need some additional foam for paddle power, or you want to add some additional tail rocker to slow the board down, to suit your home break) try to limit yourself to one significant alteration
If you go to your favorite shaper, and ask them to shape you their most popular model, but you want to narrow the nose, add a step, add some kick in the tail, turn down the rail and give it a little extra belly and blunt off the nose, you haven’t actually ordered their most popular model, you have just designed something entirely new. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for that conversation, because that fuels new ideas, but when visiting a shop to order a custom board, restraint is sometimes beneficial for all involved.
You will be happier with the finished process, and the shaper will be happier that they are only making one major alteration to their tried and true design.
The overly-specific rule applies to the colors as well. In design, the simplest option is usually the best option. Fewer variables means fewer elements that are at risk of clashing, and fewer variables to go awry.
By simplifying the design, you are likely to appreciate the look of your surfboard for many years to come.
Which also happens to lead us directly into our second point.
2. Ignoring Future Resale Value
The reality is, when taken care of properly, surfboards can last for decades. The life cycle of your surfboards is likely to outlast your interest in it. (Which is why there is such a thing as a Used Surfboard Market). Our interests evolve, our surfing changes, our geography changes, and our quivers rotate over time.
By keeping your custom surfboard order simple, and adhering to what your shaper does well, you are actually boosting the future resale value of that surfboard.
By altering what that particular shaper is known for too severely, you are limiting the number of people who will be interested in acquiring said surfboard from you in the future.
The same is true with exceedingly complex color designs. The more intricate the design of the colors, the narrower the potential audience of interested buyers becomes.
When ordering a custom surfboard, and evaluating the costs of such, keep in mind the potential future resale value. You might save $200 on the front end, but it could cost you $500 or more on the back-end when you are seeking a buyer.
A few helpful tips for maximizing resale value, when ordering a surfboard:
- Stick to stock dimensions, whenever possible
- Add color, but not too many colors. (Clear boards don’t age as well).
- Fix your dings right away.
- Avoid excessive personalization on the board (messages, kids’ footprints, etc)
3. Ordering a Board too similar to one you already have
When ordering a new surfboard, keep in mind how large of a quiver you intend to keep. If you know you only have a one board quiver, and that is your only option, maybe seek the advice of the shaper for a good all-arounder. This will help you maximize your surfing opportunities. If you only have one surfboard to choose from, you are best off planning for the most average of days.
Conversely, if you know you want to keep a three or four surfboard quiver, you can get more specific and fill some complimentary needs. You can theoretically have a longboard, and mid-length, a smaller board, and a step-up for when it gets big. (Or a travel board, if you’re able to do frequent surf trips.
If garage space and budget is of no concern, you could have a different board for every different break, condition and whim. That’s part of the fun, and part of the danger, of surfboards… there is always a different board to suit a different approach or wave-type.
Personally, I choose to keep a 3 board quiver. I can pretty much surf every day that I care to be in the water with a quiver that consists of one small board, one mid-length and one longboard.
Be realistic about where and how often you intend to surf. Do some homework and figure out what suits your needs, but also aligns with your interests. With any new surfboard, it’s going to take a little getting used to.
Put the time in, get used to it, and enjoy.