Our recent post on Apple designer Marc Newson’s iconic designs had us thinking just what are the world’s most expensive surfboards. Newson’s nickel-plated surfboards have been bought for more than $220,000, but are they one-offs? From unique wooden art to Hollywood props, here are six surfboards that will cost you more than the car you strap them onto, or even the house you store them in.
Roy Stuart’s Rampant
When eccentric New Zealand surfboard shaper Roy Stuart announced last year that he had built a surfboard called the Rampant and priced it at $1 million, most people scoffed at the valuation. While the 9-foot-long board handcrafted from Paulownia timber that features a 23-carat gold lion motif was undoubtedly unique, it was thought to be nowhere near one million bucks special.
However, Stuart may have had the last laugh, with The New Zealand Herald reporting that not only had Stuart found a buyer, but that the buyer had paid over the odds, purchasing the board for $1.15 million. “I’m not going to justify the price. To me, it’s just a number,” Stuart told The Herald. “How much more is it worth to have something you really like? It’s really a moot point.”
John Kelly Redwood Plank
In 2011, at the Hawaiian Island Vintage Surfboard Auction (HIVSA), a 1920 John Kelly owned redwood plank sold for $42,000. The HIVSA was the most prestigious surfboard auction in the world and this price remains its auction record. Kelly is known as the creator of the “Hot Curl” surfboard that revolutionized surfboard design and this board was in mint condition having lived in the Kelly family home at Hawaii’s Diamond Head for the past 70 years.
Damien Hirst’s SAS boards
More than 10 years ago, two surfboards painted by the famed UK artist Damien Hirst were sold at an auction for a total of $88,000. Hirst, who lives and surfs on the North Devon coast of UK, had painted a collection of 11 surfboards to raise funds for the UK campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). The surfboards have not been sold since, but if they have appreciated in line with his art, the owners have made a fine investment. His 2007 work, “For the Love of God” a platinum skull set with diamonds, was original valued at $20 million and later that year sold for $74 million.
Pete Peterson 1949 California Point Break Board
In 2012 the HIVSA wound down, but was picked up by the California Gold Vintage Surf Auction, which is a biannual event held in Culver City, California. So far, the most expensive board sold was a Pete Peterson 1949 California Point Break Board, which went for $32,400 in 2013. The rare Peterson design was bought by surf brand Reef’s co-founder Fernando Aguerre. Somehow we don’t think Aguerre has taken it for a spin yet.
Captain Kilgore’s Board
Back in 2006 James O’Mahoney, a surfing memorabilia collector from Santa Barbara, offered for sale what he claimed was one of the actual Reynolds Yater shaped surfboards used in the filming of 1979’s cult film Apocalypse Now. At the Pacific Coast Vintage Surf Auction he was hoping to get $100,000, which would have been the highest price ever paid for a vintage surfboard. While the board wasn’t sold there, O’Mahoney did find a buyer in Jimmy Buffet for an undisclosed sum. The two went on to open the Honolulu Surf Museum where the board resided until the museum’s closure in 2014.
Greg Noll’s Iconic Pipe Board
The Jon Severson image of Hawaiian big wave pioneer and surfboard shaper Greg Noll standing with a board on the sand at Pipeline is one of the sport’s most iconic. It is hard, however, to put a price on that surfboard, as it was never sold and is still housed at the San Clemente HQ of Noll Surfboards, ran by Greg’s son Jed. “I heard Dad was offered $50,000 many moons ago,” Jed told GrindTV. “But that wouldn’t even come close. I haven’t had an official offer, but I’m a little sentimental to be honest. I don’t know what it would take to prize it away.”
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