Surfing is one of the most thrilling sports in the world. It’s also one of the oldest, dating back to ancient Polynesia. But surfing is not just about riding waves. It’s also about the surfboard, the essential tool that connects the surfer to the ocean.
Surfboards come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. Some are mass-produced, while others are custom-made. And some are so rare, unique, or valuable that they fetch astronomical prices. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the most expensive surfboards ever sold or offered for sale. These are the boards that only the richest or the most passionate surfers can afford. Let’s dive in!
The Silver Bullet – $30,000
The Silver Bullet is a futuristic surfboard designed by Australian shaper Haydn Lewis. It’s made of carbon fiber and has a metallic silver finish. The board is 6’6″ long and features a single concave and a quad fin setup. The Silver Bullet is not just a showpiece, though. It’s also a high-performance board that can handle big and powerful waves. Lewis created the board for big wave surfer Mark Visser, who rode it at Jaws, one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world. The board was also featured in Visser’s documentary, “Nine Lives”. Only 10 Silver Bullets were ever made, and each one cost $30,000.
The Greenough Spoon – $40,000
The Greenough Spoon is a legendary surfboard that revolutionized the sport in the 1960s. It was designed by George Greenough, a visionary surfer, and shaper who experimented with different shapes and materials. The Spoon was a short, flexible, and lightweight board that had a concave nose and a thin tail. It allowed Greenough to surf in a radical new way, carving tight turns and riding deep in the tube. The Spoon inspired many other shapers and surfers, such as Bob McTavish and Nat Young, who ushered in the shortboard era. The original Spoon is now in the Australian National Maritime Museum, but a replica was sold for $40,000 in 2005.
The Lightning Bolt – $50,000
The Lightning Bolt is a classic surfboard from the 1970s when surfing was dominated by the Hawaiian scene. The board was shaped by Gerry Lopez, the master of Pipeline, and featured a distinctive red and yellow lightning bolt logo. The board was 7’ long and had a pintail shape, ideal for riding the steep and hollow waves of the North Shore. The Lightning Bolt was ridden by many of the best surfers of the time, such as Barry Kanaiaupuni, Reno Abellira, and Rory Russell. The board became a symbol of the power and style of Hawaiian surfing. A rare Lightning Bolt from 1974 was sold for $50,000 in 2012.
The John Kelly Surfboard – $80,000
John Kelly was one of the pioneers of surfing in Hawaii. He started surfing in the 1930s and founded the Waikiki Surf Club in 1947. He was also an activist, an artist, and a shaper. He made his surfboards out of redwood and balsa wood, using traditional Hawaiian techniques. One of his boards, a 10’6″ redwood plank from 1949, was sold for $80,000 in 2017. The board was in mint condition and had Kelly’s signature and artwork on it. The board was also a piece of history, as it was used by Kelly and his friends to surf Makaha, one of the first big wave spots in the world.
The Dick Brewer Gun – $100,000
Dick Brewer is one of the most influential shapers in surfing history. He is known for creating the modern big wave board, or the gun, a long, narrow, and streamlined board that can handle massive waves. Brewer shaped many guns for the top big wave riders of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Greg Noll, Jeff Hakman, and Eddie Aikau. One of his guns, a 10’6″ balsa wood board from 1965, was sold for $100,000 in 2014. The board was owned by Noll, who rode it at Waimea Bay, the birthplace of big wave surfing. The board was also signed by Brewer and Noll and had a certificate of authenticity.
The Olo Board – $150,000
The Olo Board is a type of ancient Hawaiian surfboard that was reserved for royalty or the ali’i. The board was made of wiliwili, a native hardwood, and was up to 18’ long and 200 pounds. The board was shaped by skilled craftsmen, who used stone tools and sandpaper made of coral and sharkskin. The board was also treated with oils and herbs, and decorated with feathers and shells. The Olo Board was a symbol of status and power, and only the ali’i could ride it. The board was also considered sacred and was stored in special houses or temples. A rare Olo Board from the 1800s was sold for $150,000 in 2007.
The Bob Simmons Surfboard – $200,000
Bob Simmons was a genius and a visionary who changed the course of surfing history. He was an engineer, a mathematician, and a surfer who applied scientific principles to surfboard design. He invented the foam and fiberglass surfboard, which was lighter, faster, and more maneuverable than the wooden boards of the time. He also introduced the twin fin and the concave bottom, which improved the board’s performance and stability. Simmons was ahead of his time, and his boards were the precursor of the modern surfboard. One of his boards, a 10’ balsa wood board from 1950, was sold for $200,000 in 2015.
The Dale Velzy Surfboard – $300,000
Dale Velzy was one of the first commercial surfboard shapers in the world. He started shaping in the 1940s and opened his shop in Manhattan Beach, California, in 1950. He was a master craftsman and a charismatic salesman, who shaped thousands of boards for surfers of all levels. He was also a pioneer of the Malibu style, a smooth and graceful way of surfing on long and elegant boards. One of his boards, a 9’6″ redwood and balsa wood board from 1955, was sold for $300,000 in 2018. The board was owned by Miki Dora, the king of Malibu, and had his signature and nickname, “Da Cat”, on it.
The Duke Kahanamoku Surfboard – $500,000
Duke Kahanamoku was the father of modern surfing. He was a Hawaiian legend, an Olympic champion, a Hollywood star, and a surfing ambassador. He popularized surfing around the world, traveling to places like Australia, California, and New Zealand, and giving demonstrations and lessons. He also shaped his surfboards, using koa wood, a native hardwood. One of his boards, a 12’ koa wood board from 1919, was sold for $500,000 in 2019. The board was one of the first boards that Kahanamoku shaped and had his initials, “DK”, carved on it. The board was also a gift from Kahanamoku to Lord James Blyth, a British aristocrat and surfer.
The Rampant – $1.3 Million
The Rampant is the most expensive surfboard in the world. It was created by Roy Stuart, a New Zealand shaper and artist who makes exotic and extravagant surfboards. The Rampant is a 10’6″ wooden board that is made of paulownia, a durable and lightweight wood that resists saltwater. The board has a single concave and a six-inch tunnel fin, which enhances its speed and maneuverability. The board also has a gold leaf lion painted on it, which adds to its value and beauty. The Rampant is not only a stunning artwork but also a functional board that can surf big and powerful waves. Stuart offered the board for sale for $1.3 million in 2014, claiming that it was the ultimate design and performance of a lifetime.