Why Are Surfboards So Expensive? – Surpising Facts

Usually, surfboards are not low-cost purchases. On average, the price range starts from $350 and can exceed over $5000.

You might question why are surfboards so expensive and if so then is it worth putting this much of your money? Well, surfboards might seem to require not many components but it is definitely a tough grind.

The speculation behind the scene might convince you. Materials, size of the board, construction procedure, and so on, are all accountable matters to count.

In this article, we are going to share the background stories of a skateboard. And that will help to answer why is a surfboard so pricy. So, take a look to know more.

Different Types of Surfboard Materials

Materials play an extensive role in the expense. In the general run of things, the manufacturing procedure includes three main parts.

Those are blank which is the foam shape inside, then the fiberglass and a hardener. Except for the wooden ones that we will talk about in detail down below.


At first, if we discuss the blank, it is basically made out of foam. It has two categories which are polyurethane foam and epoxy board foam.

Both of them are used for standard surfboards. These materials have their own positives and negatives. 

Polyurethane: PU blanks are plastic components in a variety of forms. Since it is a flexible material, it is easily put into any shape before covering it in fiberglass.

The cost varies from around USD 70 to more than USD 125 for those blanks, depending on how short or long they are.

Epoxy: Another type is the epoxy surfboard which is produced from expanded polystyrene (EPS). By applying gas and heat, polystyrene beads are expanded.

Why Are Surfboards So Expensive

This way, closed cells of EPS are created that contain 90 percent oxygen. That’s the reason why they are so lightweight. The price range of these is more or less between USD 55 to USD 420.

Some other elements like waxed styrene, MEKP catalyst, glass microspheres, leash plug, fin plugs, etc. are used too. Waxed styrene and resin are mixed together to make the outermost sheath.

MEKP catalyst helps the lamination and glass microspheres fill the cuts. Fin plugs can change the position or get removed if needed.

Look at some of the best surfboards made of foam –

Product 1 Wavestorm 8′ Surfboard by Foam
Product 2 Wavestorm Soft Top Foam Surffboard


Different types of wood such as balsa, paulownia, redwood, pine, cedar, poplar, etc. are used to make wooden surfboards. Each type has its unique strengths and weaknesses.

For instance, balsa is more floaty but does not last long. Whereas, cedar and redwood are hefty but they can survive lifelong.

Although wooden surfboards don’t need many elements, instead they need hours of hard work to put them into the right shape. No matter whether you buy a premade cut, you will require that effort.

Sometimes, the wooden boards are wrapped with a thin coating of fiberglass and epoxy resin. Raw balsa wood surfboards can be worth up to USD 400 to 500.

Get some of the bamboo and wooden surfboard here –

Product 1 Totally Bamboo Surfboard 
Product 2 Three Brothers Boards Wood Paddle Board

Types of Surfboard Hardeners

Types of Surfboard Hardeners

The inner foam is laminated with fiberglass in the second step and then a hardener is applied to seal the coating. This last step makes it sturdy and waterproof as well.

In general, there are two principal ingredients as hardeners. Either polyester or epoxy is used. Among the two, polyester is the most popular one.

Simply because it is more budget-friendly and practical, it is a wiser option to go for. It is very light as well as flexible. As a result, it provides faster speed and also makes it quickly responsive.

The only drawback is that it is less durable than epoxy. On the other hand, epoxy boards are lighter in weight than polyester boards.

Plus, it is hard enough to go through heavy-duty performance. Even under continuous straight sun exposure, the color is less likely to get worn out. Thus, it becomes effortless to reserve.

Depending on the style and size of the board, the thickness of the fiberglass wrapping differs. In particular, the longboards traditionally have thicker material.

Exclusive surfboards have S-Glass as a hardener. It consists of silica inside, which helps to achieve equal stiffness as others but with less quantity.

Surfboard Production Costs

Behind the premium price tag, the production cost is one of the reasons. The people who make the boards and the place where these are made certainly make a noticeable divergence.

Another variable is the gigantic companies vs independent shapers. There are a bunch of companies in Asia to manufacture a bulk of surfboards.

Despite their assembly-line production, those are not of any match to handmade ones. Workers are not experienced enough and the process is mostly about machine work in companies.

It minimizes production cost although causes adjustment with the quality too. On the contrary, custom-made surfboards are hand-shaped with proficiency.

In some cases, the surfers themselves produce surfboards with nominal tools. They neither have any large machines nor much stuff.

Even so, the skill is what makes those boards so special. They already know which quality a surfer might wish for.

When it comes to the price of the supplies, the large companies buy a pile of stuff so the cost decreases to less than USD 300.

Wherein, the individual shapers need to spend approximately USD 400 to USD 600 for each board. Therefore, this cost is added along with their time and effort valuation.

Surfboard Transportation Costs

Surfboard Transportation Costs

The cost of shipping is determined by size, weight, and the location of the manufacturing company and customer as well. Large companies regularly work with shipping companies.

Sometimes they are self-sufficient with the shipping container. That being the case, the transportation cost drops down observably.

This advantage is not available with the independent shapers as they produce only a few per year. It seems pretty much logical. Again, the delivery time and means of transportation are also some matters to consider.

Which Is Better, Polyurethane, or Epoxy Surfboards?

There is no exact winner or loser between the two. Each of them has its own pros and cons. Epoxy boards are more lightweight than polyethylene boards.

If we put that aside, the polyurethane boards are economically safer and more durable than epoxy boards. Feeling confused? Don’t worry here is a comprehensive explanation to help you out.

For beginners, polyurethane boards are more convenient. The reason is they are easier to handle. These are slightly heavier because of the dense formula. That extra weight is helpful for balance.

If you are an expert surfer already, then you might enjoy the more buoyant and lightweight options like epoxy boards.

It might be a little tough for novice surfers to get hold of since it glides so fast. But it works amazingly well for the pro surfers as an added bonus.

Now it is totally up to you to pick the right one that works for you. Just keep in mind that the polyurethane boards are a bit slow but serve you longer at less cost.

The epoxy boards are just the opposite. It easily supports by creating fine air but it is less durable and consumes much money.

Is It Worth Purchasing A Custom Built Surfboard?

A positive or negative response to this question varies based on the type of surfer. Experts might opt for custom-built surfboards.

These boards may seem high in price range yet they are worth the money. It takes a long time and cares for the shapers to make them. Their hard work pays off with more wave-catching ability on those boards.

A traditional and passionate shaper needs a minimum of eight hours for only one handmade surfboard. At the same time, the companies can produce a huge amount.

They try to keep the cost as minimum as possible. Because the cost of a surfboard always matters. However, the huge machines in the factory add up some digits.

What Are The Most Respected Surfboard Companies On The Market?

Most Respected Surfboard Companies

Countless brands are manufacturing surfboards yet a few are dominating the market with the endurance of the best products.

These days the most dependable brands are Pyzel, Channel Island, Al Merrick, Wavestorm, Firewire surfboards, Kona Surf Co, The Rusty Surfboards, DHD, JS, Pukas, T. Patterson, etc.

Most of the brands are producing surfboards for more than 40 years. Channel Island is crafting surfboards for expert surfers since 1969. Their usual range for a longboard is around $250.00 to $900.00.

The Rusty Surfboards is famous for its professional craftsmanship. They let you personalize surfboards according to weight, height, and surfing experience.

On average, more or less $700.00 to $1200.00 can buy you their locally manufactured surfboards from Southern California.

In addition, the most eco-friendly option is Firewire surfboards. The high-end wooden models can cost from around $900.00 to under $1400.00.

Is it Wise to go for a Cheap Surfboard?

The answer is mostly negative. New riders may start the journey along with any surfboard but as anyone starts to enjoy this adventure, they tend to feel the urge for a premium surfboard.

It not only consumes money but the value adds quality to the boards. Even starting with a great model can help you to grow the consistency of your interest in this path.

Hence, if you are really in need of a cheaper board, you can buy second-hand premium boards which easily come under budget. A lot of bargaining is a minus for this.


Q: What is the most expensive surfboard? 

Ans: For many years, so many big-budget surfboards were introduced breaking previous records. Until now, the most expensive one is a designer surfboard called ‘The Rampant’.

It is designed by Roy Stuart. This Kiwi shaper creation was sold at $1.5 million in the auction.

Q: Is it possible for anyone to make their own DIY surfboard?

Ans: The answer is yes, a person can build their own surfboard. Manual shaping is not an easy task but it’s not impossible either.

It might sound impractical but if you have patience then it is not a big deal. Some basic tools and raw materials are all that one needs.

Q: Which surfboard is best for beginners?

Ans: If you can select the surfboard that best suits you, your job is half done. No doubt that longboard surfboards are easy to control for those who are new.

Those surfboards have a wide stable outline. Plus, they help to learn the way to catch waves and paddle while maintaining balance.


We hope you got an overall idea that the high investment you put into a surfboard does not go in vain. The whole process represents logical reasoning for the price.

The high expense for the custom-made surfboards should make more sense to you now. Each step plays an important role such as the supplies, labor, shipping, and so on.

The recent popularity might affect the price in a few years. Still, if the demand exceeds supply, the consumers would jump over no matter what it costs. If you are really into surfing, then the price should not bother you after all.

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