Guide For Buying a Second Hand Windsurfing Setup
A definitive guide to buying a second hand windsurfing setup, including most common problems and key things to look out for or avoid
Because there are many elements that make up a complete windsurfing setup, it is important to look at each individually and also bear in mind that certain elements may have been replaced, sometimes more than once, potentially making a whole second-hand windsurfer package look more modern than it really is.
Foot straps can be an indication of how much the board has been used. If the straps are worn out they will be weakened and may very well need replacing. This is not a major problem however, so don't let it cause you too much concern
The deckplate and mastfoot are essentially the articulating point of the board and sail. Have a visual inspection all around both parts for any damage. More importantly, see how the joint functions by attaching a sail and moving it in all directions. Is the movement juddery, is there undue resistance or does it make a sound as it moves? If so this could indicate internal wear and tear and it may be worth taking this into account when making an offer.
The mast track is another component that can suffer from wear and tear. Is the deckplate inhibited when it is slid along the track? How secure does it feel when the deckplate is tugged on? Problems in this area are often difficult to rectify so be cautious.
Starting at the main hull, check out the condition of the non-slip. This covers the top deck and as you can imagine, prevents slipping. It is likely to have worn down over time and this can give an indication of the age and usage of the board. Boards can be re-covered but this costs money so take it into account if the non-slip on the board you are buying is in poor condition.
As long as the ‘core' of a windsurfing board is intact and has strength, it should be functional and easy enough to sort out any cosmetic or secondary problems. Having said this, it is not always easy to analyse the condition of the core but there are certain things to look out for:
Press down on the board and feel for any soft areas or weak spots. This can sometimes be symptoms of delamination or water penetration. Both of which are difficult problems to sort out. Ask about any repair jobs on the hull. Most will probably just be puncture repairs and are probably not too serious, but repair work has the potential to cover more damaging fractures or long cracks.
Flip the hull over and take a good look at the underwater surface. Run your hand over the underside to feel for any cracks, dings or creases. Dings you can usually live with, but serious cracks completely undermine the integrity of the board and should be avoided. Likewise, creases in the hull indicate some form of high impact and should be considered carefully.
The nose and rails are also areas of the hull that need to be checked out. Damage to the nose is more likely than the rails but look out for impact marks or gashes on both
UV light is a sails worst enemy. Over time UV will denature the monofilm material that the majority of sails are made from and they will lose their strength and flexibility. Modern sails are much better at resisting damage via UV light but exposure time is the real issue so it's always a good idea to give any sail an inspection. Check out the responsiveness of the material by putting pressure on it and look out for any discolouring, crispiness and even flaking of the material that could suggest the sail is on its death bed.
Check the mast and battens for fractures or irregularities in their flex. These components are most often made from carbon or glass fibre and whilst the battens can be tested by applying pressure to each end (they should curve in a foil shape) the mast can be tested by working along the length and testing the bend by hand. Any points which feel weak or unresponsive should be investigated further.
The sail cloth and luff sleeve should be inspected for imperfections. Any damage is likely to be to the stitching or nicks in the material. These are usually not a problem and easy to repair but larger tears or holes may need more work.
Remember that problems that are cosmetic or associated with fittings can be sorted with relative ease. Problems with the core of the board or sail however, often cost more to be corrected than its worth.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Duncan Heath is MD of Extreme Sports Trader, the online marketplace for extreme sports equipement in the UK