Tuesday, August 11, 2009 Updated: June 15, 12:26 PM ET
Used Board Hustle
Airline board fees are a damn rip off. There's no doubt about it. For years, surfers were subject to discrimination by airlines, who insisted on charging to fly our surfboards while golf clubs, skis, and other gear favored by lawyers, CEO's (and other tie-wearing people of influence) were free.
Bikes have had the same unfortunate rates for years. I learned from our BMX blogger, Brian Tunney, that DK Bikes makes a travel bag that is disguised as a golf bag. Brilliant!
Think this could work?
Well, we can't really scream discrimination anymore. Everything has an outrageous fee these days. If you checked your lunchbox, most airlines will nail you $15 to $20.
The most obvious choice is to find an airline that doesn't charge for boards. My buddy just paid $200 more for a ticket to Oz on Quantas because they don't charge for boards.
Imagine that! It will wind up costing him less in the end. With many airlines, there's always the dreaded case where they open the bag, charge you per board, and you wind up paying them blood money.
So what I've done is tried to just not fly with boards. I've rented boards in Hawaii for the week. And on my last little sojourn to California, I picked up a 5'10 Timmy Patterson quad at the Patterson Surf Shop in San Clemente for $225. They had a good selection of fairly priced sticks in decent shape. I rode it, and just left it in my buddy's garage.
The other avenue I was trying was Craigslist. Just pick the city you're flying into, check the sporting goods ads, and see if you can work something out with a surfer pawning his gear.
Used boards, ready to ride at Usedsurf.
It would have cost me $200 to fly the board round trip. So, for an extra $25, I own a board on the West Coast for whenever I need it. And the airline doesn't get a chance to beat the life out of it.
Then there's always deals like Usedsurf.com. They have a site and a physical shop in San Clemente. You can actually check the inventory online before you head out there. A lot of shops are listng their inventory on their sites.
So what if it's not exactly what you ride at home? You might get something an inch bigger, or something more suited for the region you're traveling too.
I highly suggest this practice. In addition to saving you cash, you support the local economy wherever you go, instead of giving money to the airline.