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Board swap. A simple idea that can be executed anywhere

June 29 2009 | Surfing, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Devon Howard and the Patagonia Cardiff crew hosted a board swap a few weeks back. I've sold more than my fair share of boards on Craig's List and left boards with locals as I've traveled... but this board swap surpassed all those experiences. It surpassed those due to the built-in sense of community coupled with the second lives many of the boards were about to enjoy.

A board swap isn't rocket science or even hard to pull off, the Patagonia store in Cardiff essentially allowed their parking lot to be used for anyone to sell any kind of board, at any price (with no price to sell or to come to the event). You can do this. You should do this.


I showed up with a 6'6" Wayne Lynch gun that I knew I'd never surf the way it was meant to be surfed and sold it to a guy for a few hundred dollars. I was stoked to let him have it for less than it was worth as I'd previously talked to him about the boards he was selling. I walked past a board that I should have bought on the spot, a 5'9" Mccallum singlefin egg. And left the party with a $75 Paterson 6'1" quad egg that I took home, spray painted into a new life and then took out to Swamis.

But what I loved was interacting with the buyers and sellers. My favorite was a guy with three meticulously cared-for longboards. I asked him how much he was asking for his 10' Cooperfish and he looked at it, caressed his fingers along it's rails and then turned to me and said "I don't think I'm going to sell it after all." I loved that response. Getting three, heavy logs to this event wasn't an easy task in itself... and then to not sell them. It brought a smile to my face.

I loved that there were a few kids combing the racks looking for their first board. I loved that Rerip was in a corner talking about thier board recycling programs.

But what I loved most of all was the simplicity of this event. It brought the community together. People talked experiences and design. Some left with more boards than they brought and others sold off half their collections. This event can be replicated anywhere and I encourage you do host one. It's not about commerce. It's not about generating fees from sellers and buyers. It's about bringing people together that share a passion and letting them talk to each other, trade a story or a board.

It's hitting on all cylnders in the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra. Kudos to the Pato crew.
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