Buying a second hand snowboard, while offering a great alternative to spending a lot of money on your equipment, can also be a risky endeavour. Second hand snowboards generally sell for less than half their retail price, but there is also a wide range of things that can go wrong when buying. Therefore it’s important to have an idea of what to look out for when buying a snowboard. A little bit of research a knowledge can save you some money and a lot of annoyances later on ! For this article we will assume you have already been through the picking the right sized snowboard and you are sure of your size and type for your level of boarding.
Tip 1 : View the Board
Forget buying equipment on e-bay or other auction websites, unless you have a pretty good idea as to what you are buying. These sites are rife with fakes, and if you are unlucky you will come away with an inferior product and have wasted your money and time. For first time buyers (and experienced buyers) I would go by the rule “If you can’t see the board before you buy, don’t buy it”. It’s better to to err on the side of caution and find another way of getting your board.
Tip 2 : Visual Inspection
It’s very important to look at what you are buying, this will allow you to check for visual signs of damage, wear and fatigue. All snowboards after any use will have nicks and dents on the underside of the board. Focus more on the edges and look at the condition of the metal edge. Small nicks or burrs can easily be repair, but larger damage like serious corrosion would be worth having a closer look at. If the metal edge is damage it can be expensive or even impossible to fix.
On the underside of the board look out for cracks that run with the line of the board. These can show that the board has been treated less that perfectly, and that it’s likely that the board is damaged inside. You don’t want to purchase a board that has been subjected to extreme impacts from jumps. Dents, scratches and scrapes are all part daily use for a snowboard and should not put you off buying a board. Anything else more serious should be avoided.
One final visual inspection tip would be to remove any stickers or stomp pads, to check that they are not covering up any visible damage.
Tip 3 : Remove Bindings
If the board comes with bindings it is always a good idea to ask to have them removed, and to check the quality of the surface underneath them. Again check for corrosion or other signs of damage. The screw beds are obviously very important, if there is any sign of thread damage then you should really take care. Reattach the bindings to see if the threads on the screw holes are in good condition. This damage can be caused by the previous owner tightening the bindings screws too tightly to the board. Remember a snowboard is basically useless unless you can adequately & safely screw on your bindings. Keep an eye out for potential crack between the two feet holes of your board, this is the place where cracks are mostly likely to occur as they bare a significant part of the stresses when boarding.
Tip 4 : Where to buy
Earlier we said that you shouldn’t buy “sight unseen”, so this can really cut down the opportunities to buy. One possibility is to find someone locally selling a board, or through the Irish Ski Club at Kilternan, a ski club in a University, or on Adverts.ie. This way you can be safe in the knowledge that you know exactly what you will be getting. Buying online without seeing a board should be avoided. As you could be potentially paying up to €200 for your board, you really want to minimise the issues you could have in the purchase process.
Tip 5 : Alternative cheaper boards
If you are going skiing at the start or at the end of the season you might be able to pick up an ex-rental board at a big discount. Most equipment rental companies tend to renew their stock every year, which means that there are many snowboards that need to be sold towards the end of every season. If you are boarding late in the season, and renting you gear, check with the shop to see if they are willing to part with the board. An even better thing to do would be if you were happy with the board, after renting it for the week, then ask to see if you can buy it off them.
One final word… as with any purchase, you should find out the reason as to why someone is selling their board. If it sounds a little too good to be true, there is a significant possibility that it is too good to be true ! Happy shopping !