Tips on buying a used snowboard

For anyone looking to save some money, buying a second hand snowboard can be a good deal. The trick, like buying anything secondhand, is to make sure that it has no damage that is not repairable. If you just want to find a good deal, search for cheap gear here.

Major things to look out for

Cracked or damaged sidewalls

Have a good look along the sidewalls, check that there are no vertical cracks in the sidewall. Normally, for a board to have cracked sidewalls it would have taken a big impact, and they are very difficult to repair once they are weak.

cracked snowboard sidewalls

Sidewalls splitting/separating from base or topsheet

Check that there is no gap between the sidewall and the edge, or the sidewall and the topsheet. You want to make sure that there is no gaps for water to get in and start soaking in the core of the board.

sidewalls separating from base or edge

Core damage

This can be a tricky one to find. Have a look at the board in the light and look for any subtle lumps or cracks, especially outside of the bindings on the nose and tail. What can happen on big impacts, landing or just unlucky crashes is the core can crack, while still keeping the base and topsheet intact. The easiest way to check is either look at the board at an angle in bright light, or run your hand over the topsheet and try and feel for any inconsistencies.

cracked snowboard core

Die cut base separating

If the board has a die cut base, check out the joins where the different colored sections connect. Run your hand over the base to feel if any of the die cut pieces are coming up. Although it is possible to repair them with epoxy and clamps, once one part comes up the rest tends to soon after.

lifted die cut base

Cracked edges

If you are looking at buying a park board or a board that has been used for jibbing, have a good look at the edges. Check for vertical cracks in them, especially in the middle of the board, where it would have taken the most impact on rails. If the cracks are raised (you can feel them with your finger as you run it over the board), you will want to avoid buying it.

If you can see the cracks but not feel them, use them as a point to try and negotiate a cheaper price. Just remember that if they are cracked, they are going to be weaker. A couple of my boards have had cracked edges for years and I can ride them with no problem, I didn’t even know until I had a really close look at the board.

cracked edges

Minor things to look out for

Split topsheets

In most cases, a split topsheet is just cosmetic damage, and can be fixed at home or easily in a ski repair shop.

split topsheet

Damage in the base, scratches and core shots

Most scratches and core shots in the base of boards can be fixed, so they are not normally something to worry too much about. As a rough guide, if you can feel a scratch but it doesn’t change colour (hasn’t cut all the way through the base layer), if can be quite easily fixed with ptex.

core shot

This one is a core shot, as the ptex has been scraped away all the way to the core.


These are just some normal scratches, they can be repaired with ptex as it is not through to the core.

If it is a deep scratch, and has gone all the way to the wood core, you will want to repair it with Metal Grip. Although lots of people will try and repair core shots with ptex, eventually it will crack out as ptex can not bond to the wood core as well as Metal Grip.

Sites to find secondhand snowboards:

Of course, if you are buying online it is much harder to give the board a good looking over, you pretty much have to trust the seller to be honest. Though to be fair, you could easily accidentally sell a board with cracked edges and a split between the edge and sidewall without even knowing it.

It depends on what they have, but the blemish section on can be worth a look. The boards there get a discount because of cosmetic damage, so if you want to save some money for the tradeoff for some scratches and marks, it might be a good trade off.

If you are lucky, you will be able to get a board that is in good condition and has none of the above problems.

Another option that might help you save some money is to use this search page to find new gear from previous seasons, which might end up being a good option to buying a secondhand board,

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3 thoughts on “Tips on buying a used snowboard”

  1. Super helpful article! I just checked out a board on craigslist and knew to turn it down when I saw a crack in the sidewall and edge separation. Thanks!

  2. I recently won a Mott’s Clamato 50th Anniversary Limited Edition snowboard. I am wondering if you might know what company created this series.. Burton says it was not their creation. Mine is numbered 20 of 265 but there is no evident maker’s mark or manufacturing detail or logo. I am disabled and need to sell the board for I will never use it but people who are potential buyers need to know what brand it is so I wonder… Where can I get more information about the construction and quality of the board?

    • Often the promo boards are just a cheaper generic camber board, but occasionally they are just different graphics on a nicer board. Does it have real sidewalls, or does the topsheet roll down smoothly to the edge of the board?