Bodyboard sells for $15,000 at auction
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)