Bodyboard sells for $15,000 at auction

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

The bodyboard world was in a spin this week when a thirty year old board was sold at auction for USD$11,005 (AUD$15,400)

The board, a BZ Ben 001, ridden by '86 World Champ Ben Severson and was just one of 24 boards Severson sold via the Vintage Bodyboarders Collective (VBC) Facebook page. The marquee board of the auction, the Ben001 promised to draw the highest bidding.

Released in 1990 by BZ, the first 999 Ben boards were individually stamped with a three-digit number, meaning 001 is unique. "It is the unicorn," said Severson of the board before the auction.

While most of the boards in the auction were mass-produced, their value attributed to provenance, a few were custom made by Severson or were prototypes to later production models including the T-10, arguably Severson's most famous model.

Severson only won one world title, and that was in 1986 while riding for Morey Boogie, so why so much interest, and coin, for Severson's boards now?

Writing on the VBC page, vintage board guru Jordan Stallard explained it like this.

“Bodyboarders want the top of the line board, but throughout the 80's, the board with the highest price point and/or the most aesthetic beauty would often times ride like a boat anchor. Riders would put it aside, grumble about money being wasted, and "settle" for their flexible and often rockered Mach 7-7. The Ben Board entered the scene and checked all the boxes. Top of the line price point - check. Amazing board to look at - check. Rode like a dream - CHECK."

Vintage Bodyboards.com creator Rob Beaton echoes Stallard’s sentiments.

“To me, the Ben Board was the right board at the right time for the sport. It was a board that would be seen, and a board you'd want to be seen with. That impression seems to have endured through the decades. And hey, let's not forget the serial numbers - the idea to number the first 999 boards was pure genius! Those numbered boards are more sought after to this day, thirty years later.”

By way of comparison, last year a Pat Curren 11'4" Elephant Gun from the late fifties sold at the California Gold Auction for USD$12,000 (AUD $16,700)

Comments

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 2:47pm

Reckon they would have got twice as much if they included the Esky;)

fcalmon's picture
fcalmon's picture
fcalmon commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 7:39am

Gold Jerry, Gold !!!

90% of what you know was told to you....

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 10:12am

Gold

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson commented Saturday, 8 Aug 2020 at 10:34pm

The funny thing is unless you ride a surfboard like a 1980s tour surfer and surf 10 foot Hawaiian waves all the time then Ben Severson not only bodyboards better than you he also surfs better than you and surf waves that would make you shit in your wetsuit.

Seabiscuit's picture
Seabiscuit's picture
Seabiscuit commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 2:51pm

Got a genuine laugh out of me savanova - bravo!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 2:54pm

BBers and surfers getting along...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ben Player (@ben_player) on

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 3:55pm

Love he doesn't even call him off just charges through lol.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 4:30pm

I didn't count the seconds but that was an amazing wave the board going over the top was surreal like it was digitally enhanced.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 6:34pm

Unreal.

BooglordBen they call him....

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 8:49pm

10 points - a lid getting properly barrelled like they were designed to, and a kook eating it.

Fark, I hate drop-ins.

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 10:15am

What a wave

rooftop's picture
rooftop's picture
rooftop commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 3:21pm

Barrelled by a kook. Nice.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 3:22pm

I've heard that the arbitrary nature of auction values allows for good money laundering opportunities..

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 3:41pm

We're probably just at the start of a period of higher valuations of vintage bodyboard hardware, as the rider demographic who lived through through the golden years (late 80's, 90's) are now at an age where they can afford to spend up on nostalgia (i.e. grommets back then, now in their 40's and 50's).

Queef Jerky's picture
Queef Jerky's picture
Queef Jerky commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 11:21pm

Rebel sport are selling a really solid brand new board with stringers for $80

Wish my old boards didn't rot into old rubber and foam, because I had an original Mach 6-6 hahaha

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 3:56pm

Mike Stewart must have a nice little retirement package in his garage.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 5:59pm

he does, that's a fact.

Justint's picture
Justint's picture
Justint commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 6:56am

Ive seen inside “The Vault”. Those pipe winning Turbos. Droooolllll

GONAD_MAN's picture
GONAD_MAN's picture
GONAD_MAN commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 4:15pm

I have Manta BodyBoard still in the wrapping untouched. It was given to me as Christmas present, must be late 80's.Dont know why iv'e kept it.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 4:24pm

$20K rings true for Boogerz / Skaterz (Pro Signature- Retro Icon)
2016 Tweed Heads Vintage Bodyboard Collection (37 boards)
1960's.... $20,000 "Vintage Body Boards"
https://riptidemag.com.au/2016/02/11/is-this-the-best-vintage-bodyboard-...

24/25th March 2018 Gas Bay WA Vintage Collection (112 > 103 boards)
https://www.choicehomes.com.au/article/australias-largest-vintage-board-...

Top 5 (AUD) - Skate Deck Rich List
(All about Rocks Star Signatures or Art)
Pro Skaters live in Decked out Galleries (Art is Never Ridden)

Pro signature on iconic decks would equally nudge $20,000

5 ) $20,840 " The Gold Skateboard "
4 ) $27,790 " The Supreme Mundi "
3 ) $37,515 " The Beatles Deck " + T Hawk ($20K) > #1
2 ) $48,630 " The Beastie Boyz Quiver "
1 ) $52,800 " The Bob Dylan Deck "

Full credit to the Shit Skateboard Company
https://shitskateboardcompany.com/blogs/news/top-5-most-expensive-skateb...

$800,000~ (248) Supreme Skateboard Collection
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/29/skateboard-deck-collection-sells-for-a-r...

$1.3m - " The Rampant Surfboard "
https://destinationluxury.com/worlds-expensive-surfboard/

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 6:26pm

Never owned a BZ, my main board was a custom 44inch Mez, but I'll always remember this Hawaiian produced VHS movie I had. It featured music by The Offspring and it had a section where Ben surfed a neat little left hand reef with Ben skimming effortlessly metres from the beach in and out of the barrel. Suspecting it was a south swell mysto spot.

bdp's picture
bdp's picture
bdp commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 10:12pm

Bought A BZ T-10 from the surf shop I used to work at. I believe it retailed at about $450 against the Morey Mach 7 at about $275. Saving all summer. Took it out Knights and creased it with reverse rocker on the first surf. Devastated.

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 10:38pm

Interesting article. Have boogie boards changed/evolved as much as performance shooters have over the years?

Queef Jerky's picture
Queef Jerky's picture
Queef Jerky commented Thursday, 6 Aug 2020 at 11:30pm

Performance gains aren't as related to boards, compared to the drag from legs and feet. But I generally think modern boogers expect a stronger and stiffer/springy board compared to the old kitchen sponge with a sticker

But damn those old sponge boards could absorb and wrap into the coolest spots!

gingeryeti's picture
gingeryeti's picture
gingeryeti commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 10:02am

New ones are far stronger, thinner and weigh nothing.

dandob's picture
dandob's picture
dandob commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 10:08am

Yes mate, better, stronger materials with better recoil properties allow for more speed and projection in the boards.

There is also a "tension" build into the boards when the deck and bottom skins are laminated now.

The bottom is laminated first which bends the core one way, then when it cools the deck is added, which pulls against the bottom tension in the opposite direction, giving the boards an inbuild "springiness", like two taut bowstrings pulling again each other.

It's the flex and recoil dynamic that beginners have to learn to master to really make a booger go.

Some boards come with removable carbon fibre stringers that can be replaced with stiffer or flexier ones depending on water temperature.

redsands's picture
redsands's picture
redsands commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 8:46am

Ben, you summed it up perfectly.

jasper99's picture
jasper99's picture
jasper99 commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 3:02pm

Bodyboards were seen as the pests of the surf back in the late 80's early 90's so I'm wondering now after watching this clip, are mid lengths the new "pest"? hehe

Burgess's picture
Burgess's picture
Burgess commented Friday, 7 Aug 2020 at 5:59pm

Bodyboarders probably were pests in the early 90s cause they were just kids. It's a young sport, early 90s it was rare to see anyone over 30 on a lid. Slick bottom boards weren't common until the late 80s - that's when the sport started booming. Now it's common to see bodyboarders in their 30s and 40s in plenty of lineups. Nothing but respect for the top bodyboarders - riding the planets biggest slabs just for the love of it. Regarding the $ the Ben 001 fetched, the reason could be that Ben has always been an elusive figure(elusive = exclusive), compared to Mike Stewart who is fairly prominent on Social media etc and seems more approachable.

jasper99's picture
jasper99's picture
jasper99 commented Saturday, 8 Aug 2020 at 4:43pm

Agreed mate, I was a young lid back then and was met at my local beach with nothing but contempt and hate filled stares from the local heavies and that continued for years.
Fortunately we had a beach that we could escape too and have to ourselves most of the time and the sport flourished but has since not done so well.Early 90's was the time to make some coin in the sport. Glad to see Ben Severson making some cash of these historic boards.....

seen's picture
seen's picture
seen commented Tuesday, 11 Aug 2020 at 9:45pm

Quite a few of the cooler young groms are on lids around here. They see stand up surfing as lame and jocky.... kinda agree some days.

Seymour Scagnetti's picture
Seymour Scagnetti's picture
Seymour Scagnetti commented Saturday, 8 Aug 2020 at 3:59am

I really wanted a Morey Mach 7-7 when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I got talked out of it and was lucky enough to be gifted with a Cutloose 6’3” belly channel thruster. Was this a severely lost opportunity or just fortune?

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 9 Aug 2020 at 6:45am

I’m barely seeing any bodyboarders around local beaches these days. Has the popularity amongst teens died off somewhat?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 9 Aug 2020 at 7:07am

Yeah bodyboarding numbers really do seem to have dropped a lot over the last ten years. 

I suspect the proliferation of softboards, high volume shortboards and mid-lengths has filled in the space that perhaps accounted for those who tried regular shortboards or longboards and couldn't find something that worked for them, and deferred to bodyboards.

Of course, many bodyboarders took up the sport on its own merits, and there certainly are geographical clusters of bodyboarders around the country - but by and large they're absent from most lineups these days. I reckon I've seen maybe two or three individual riders on the Tweed Coast in five years.

dandob's picture
dandob's picture
dandob commented Sunday, 9 Aug 2020 at 10:00am

Yes Ben, your aspirational, wannabe, not very skilled bodyboarder has become your aspirational, wannabe, not very skilled hipster. Get the look, get the board, get the lifestyle.

The other factor is that average beachies are fairly redundant for a bodyboard. Something with suck and push is required to get the blood really flowing once a certain level of skill is reached.

Couple those two factors together and the average guys who would have previously been seen booging at beachbreaks are now mid / softboarding it.

The more skilled don't bother with beachies, ergo less boogs in the lineup.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Sunday, 9 Aug 2020 at 11:03am

Fair points by dandob bit of hyperbole aside.
As a stick-lid-stick middle aged surfer (wannabe ha ha) who also destroyed their body through Aussie rules and charging Aussie hardpack I'd argue that riding a modern shortboard is easier on the body than lidding or trying to maneuver a board greater than 7'.

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 commented Sunday, 9 Aug 2020 at 3:12pm

Ben, some of that's absolutely spot selection. How many reefs do you surf on the tweed?

Still plenty of crowds but much of the BB cohort is now 30+ and only surfs "Bodyboard spots" when its firing (read reefs, wedges and slabs). I'm very much in this category now too. As for the groms I can count the number of serious groms on the sunny coast with my fingers. Kinda sad.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 9 Aug 2020 at 3:34pm

Yep totally agree. Though, there ain't many reefs on the Tweed. And there's a distinct lack of reliable beachies like Dbah or Straddy.

Ironically, I surfed the local fave this morning, and with about nine surfers in the water, two were bodyboarders - one in his 60s (at a guess) and the other in his 40s. First bodyboarders I've seen in months and months (of course it was gonna happen the session after I posted the above comment).

Slaying The Beast's picture
Slaying The Beast's picture
Slaying The Beast commented Monday, 10 Aug 2020 at 7:43pm

Here I sit with a T10 in the boot of my car, what the fuck HOW MUCH. They were a pricey board but the shape, crisp arcel foam not to mention the caverns that it hauls you through.
I swapped a Morey Boogie Mike Stewart Mach 7 (my wifes bodyboard) to a backpacker in who handed me a BZ T10 that was in mint condition.
Might get it out of the boot.
I don't boog anymore took up longboarding instead.