Surfboard Prices

The Most Expensive Surfboard in Hawaii

This 10-foot-six-inch big-wave gun would be fully functional out at 20-foot Waimea, but its $19,900 price tag pretty much ensures that it’s going to be hanging on the wall of someone like, say, the king of Morocco, rather than speeding up and down Kamehameha Highway on the roof-racks of a surfmobile. Made by Lon Klein of Haleiwa Surfboard Co. and available at Martin & MacArthur, the board is crafted from koa and other hardwoods, such as mango and monkeypod. Its hollow-core construction draws on techniques used to make string instruments and airplane wings. If a cello and the Sopwith Camel had a surf baby, this is what it would look like. And yes, says Klein, the king of Morocco actually did buy one, but, “I don’t know if he ever rode it.” haleiwasurfboards.com, 637-4415; martinandmacarthur.com, 845-6688.


photo: courtesy martin and macarthur


photo: courtesy wavestorm

The Cheapest Surfboard in Hawaii

The surfboard market’s reigning, el-cheapo supreme is the $105 “WaveStorm,” Costco’s soft-top special.  Soft-top surfboards are not high-performance, wave-shredding tools, but, if one ever hits you in the head, it won’t knock you unconscious—a real plus for beginners. Soft-tops are nearly impossible to ding. If one blows off the car while you’re driving, you brush it off, strap it on better than you did the first time and be on your way. They’re usually found in small surf, but not always. North Shore pro surfer Jamie O’Brien rode one of these at big Pipeline and caught several good waves before the board snapped in two like a stale Twinkie. He took it back to Costco for a full refund.

The Cheapest Surfboard's Arch Enemy

No, it’s not the most expensive board. It’s the handmade, renewably resourced alaia board— 21st-century surfing’s uber-retro throwback to the finless planks of ancient Hawaii. Whereas Costco’s soft-top surfboards are mass produced in Taiwan, not unlike sneakers or basketballs, alaia are typically carved from wood, one board at a time, often by the same people who will ride them. Our favorite new twist? Big Island board builder Gary Young’s Alaia Lite, made with the recycled foam core from old surfboards, and covered with a wood composite veneer featuring koa, kaimani and albizia. Whereas a vintage alaia could tip the scale at 100 pounds, a six-foot-six Alaia Lite weighs a mere six pounds. (808) 965-5190, bamboosurfboardshawaii.com.


photo: courtesy gary young