There are so many people out there dealing in the vintage surfboard market these days that it is getting hard keeping track of what's what. I have been amazed at what some of these dudes spend money on and what is being perceived as cool. I have always said that what was cool in "the day" is what is still cool today. But that isn't always the case.
Oh well. But, in my own little way of trying to sort out some of this stuff, I have nevertheless decided to come up with a little rating system to at least give some sort of order to things. This really deals more with the condition of the beast than what the thing is in the first place.
You guys are gonna have to figure that out on your own because nobody seems to be getting these things right. When a horrible old restored pop-out that was a laughable joke in the `60s sells for $3,000, and then a classic old Yater in perfect condition goes for $400 right after it I have to throw my hands up.
Anyway, here is a little system to determine a starting place as far as condition is concerned. Going into it know that first off a classic board in original condition is better than if it is redone to make it look new. Fixing the dings is fine, but reglossing and recoloring definitely takes away from the collectible value.
1. VIRGIN: This would be a vintage board that has never been waxed up or ridden, virtually in new "showroom" condition. The highest value.
2. MINT: In pristine condition. No dings or dents and not too yellowed or faded. Probably ridden a few times and then stored in a garage or hermetically sealed surfboard storage chamber. Very desirable and of high value.
3. CHERRY: A board that was surfed on yet kept in great condition. No serious damage ever done to it. No compression dents and possibly only a minimal amount of fixed and hard to notice small dings. Excellent value.
4. BETTY: This is most of what you will find out there. A board that was ridden hard and put away wet. Dings and dents, yet all fixed very well. Has all the original stuff as far as the skeg and finish. O.K. if it is a bit yellowed or faded. Good value.
5. BEATER: Not in perfect condition by a long shot. Has unfixed dings and/or dents. A board that was ridden hard and thrown away wet. Might have had more than normal contact with rocks, jetties, piers and heads. But, maybe something that still might be fun to take out and try to ride. Or at least maybe fix it up and save it until its value increases with the years going by. Some value as an investment.
6. TRASHED: Just what it sounds like. A board that has been really destroyed beyond reasonable repair. At best this would be one for refurbishing. Fix all the dings and give it a regloss with color to cover up all the carnage. Try to keep the original logo visible if at all possible. I hate to say this but some of these are actually going for more than some of the ones listed above. So, some value as a project.
That just about runs the gamut I guess. Besides these guidelines for condition though I'd also like to stress that it might be important to get some sort of education of what was what before you start investing in what seems to be what. Or hire somebody to help you make these choices before investing a ton of money in a vintage surfboard collection. The cream will rise, it always does sooner or later.