A Definitive Guide To Craigslist, From A High-Functioning Addict
The mystery man behind @CListboards is throwing the biggest surf swap you’ve ever seen, Sunday in LA.
There is perhaps no better example of a truly Democratic Space on the internet than Craigslist.
No matter the niche, kink, need, or market, there’s a rabbit hole for nearly everyone. And if you’re like most of the Stab team, the time we spend scouring the site for fetish properties like surfboards, if we’re being honest with ourselves, borders on problematic.
But one there is one man on the internet who has used Social Media to highlight the history, hacks, and heritage of the surfboard resale game: @Clistboards.
This Sunday, June 2nd, at the Waterfront Venice, the man behind it will be lurking at this lil’ get together:
On the occasion, we reached out to @CListboards to hear about what you can expect this Sunday, and about the trials, triumphs, and tribulations of a lust-filled life spent on The List.
Ok, so this board swap on June 2nd looks like its shaping up to be mental! Has the response to it been surprising? How many people are you expecting?
At first I was thinking to myself “damn, I hope some heads show up to this thing, it would suck if no one shows” And now I’m like “fuck do we need a bigger parking lot?!?”
As far as turnout goes it’s the same with surfing: I keep my expectations lower than a snake in a wagon rut—and I’m never terribly disappointed.
I mean Craigslist is one of the last arenas where two people can leave happy after a trade. Most modern transactions are money for internet plastic unless you live in the barrio. Until we collectively start doing the bullets for water thing.
But as for this SWAP I won’t be happy unless a person suffering from homelessness takes off with a board under each arm and gets chased down the alley. Sean ‘Turrah Lurrah Tool Belt’ Tully is in charge—he’s got a long rat tail going, ask him any questions on the day…
How early should people get there to swoop the real deals?
Well, it’s good to remember the boards that are meant to find you usually have a way of doing so and the secret really (don’t tell anyone) is that the real deals can be the last ones of the day. It’s like waiting for the final boarding call at the airport. If everyone did it the planes wouldn’t fly on time but it sure is nice to finish that dry chicken sandy and be last on when they finally start that air con up…
Give us a few of the boards people are bringing that make your loins swell a little, got any photos?
It’s funny my loins have not inflamed over a board for a while. But good Gut Instinct—and gut health in general— is paramount to a good craigslist approach.
You really want to trust that organ; it’s the third brain after all. If you are counting down from the head and the heart. And I guess the first brain if you are upside down.
I’ve gone against my gut on boards and regretted it many times. It’s like writing, Go with what you know. And I am a student of surf history first and foremost…
Got a DM from Knosty the other day asking if he could bring up some rigs, but no pix—that’s always fun. The guy knows his stuff and I respect his approach.
And there are some boards of Providence Rhode Island that boast heavy historical significance that will be there, usually the same ones that look like a piece of Greta Garbo to the average man.
There is Topanga Terry (@terrytopanga @_stevenbaldi) who has some down home and down-railed single fins, and his pal Orion Sheppard @shepshop2019 who made the flyer for us and does his own printing on hard to find vintage tees and sweatshirts… they are accomplished artists in their own right and are bringing rigs like these:
The oddballs and oddities always make for a fun outlier swap, I’m not sure the board will make it on the day but this dude Steven sent me a pic of a cherry red 17 foot dick brewer gun.
“I’ve never seen a more bitchin rocker profile and the fin must be 13 inches…”
At a different time in my life, I would be at the ATM right now, but alas, times change and I got nowhere to put her. The boards belong in the ocean anyway. He said it was shaped for Snips for the Cortez Bank assault of the mid-aughts.. and I don’t doubt it. I just don’t wanna see something that special turned into a tiki bar sign or something worse, you know?
Kyle Albers who shapes the @deepestreaches boards sent me a pic of such a rad board but I would feel weird sharing it here. Some things have to just stay personal I guess even in 2019. But I can tell you it’s pale blue and 9’10.
Oh yeah, and then I got this lineup shot from another bruddah and, my oh my look at that sleeper in the back right corner, hiding in plain sight:
Can’t wait to see what that might be. Looks like a Zulu Nation shield.
And might have some handshaped and glassed Josh Farberow 8’0 snubs and a 7’4 quad with hand painted native California wildlife and symbols. Glass in fin only like they should be.
You got your D-Fin bloodhounds, those 80’s guys that love bright sprays and flat decked 5’10’s, and then your Old Yeller Dog-beater guys. I’m the latter and I try to stay within the 150$ MAX rule. But I did splurge on the first HY-1, that Hynson shaped in the basement of the longboard grotto after his prison stint. RIP. Not him but the grotto. Only a couple torch bearers now left of the Halcyon days.
I guess each generation has their own even if it’s waiting for your amazon delivery… But it’s still in our DNA even if the culture has had a bad face lift and no one wants to say it. Like the ‘Emperors New Clothes’ kinda vibe.
Any crazy ephemera or surf-y cultural capital you’re expecting to blow minds? Surf mag collections? ’80s posters? What kind of random shit are people dragging out of their storage units for this?
Gary Busey paid rent to my homies parents with the balsa gun from the end of Big Wednesday, that Matt gives to the kid—but that thing is hidden like some ROSEBUD level shit, or the Ark at the end of the first Indiana Jones.
I think when those things become so precious they lose their actual inherit value that’s what I am fighting against. When the object can’t fulfill its intended purpose, it is just too sad.
My personal favorite find I got for $1 at the end of a swap, It’s a production still from Big Wednesday in black and white. It’s Jan Michael, surrounded by beer cans in Mexico after he finds out his girl is pregnant…
It’s like that “well are you gonna ever grow up rock bottom moment” that I’ve been trying to avoid my whole life.
But I kept it to remind me of his off-screen fate. A reminder that the dues get paid eventually one way or another and that time waits for no man.
Also framed the still of him at the end, when the pier is condemned and it is night and he has to say goodbye to Bear, but realizes the board he got from him has his spirit in it.
I won’t ever forget when he takes a look at it before handing it to the kid on the beach like he’s saying goodbye to his mentor/father and a version of himself and his childhood all contained in that one board at the same time. And he gives it away.
Those are the moments I look for at the SWAP. That and “Old Guys Rule” stickers.
I would say if you have a VHS player, keep it in good condition.. Heck even a DVD player these days is ALMOST obsolete. But getting lost in these old long format surf films is good clean fun.
I love the vintage collector club dudes and have been going to their events for years but Jesus Christ it’s the same boards almost every year! I highly recommend their Doheny swap and others. But these guys bring the real deal salty ass kit. Hawaiian shirts, leashes with no velcro left, old jersey’s, Birdwell jackets with patches all over them…
You stay too long and you realize the blessing of having a small workable Cali quiver. It’s kind of more about appreciation without having to possess, it took me a while to learn that one. Still working on it really.
But there is also nothing like a nice rattan magazine rack though, am I right?
Without outing you to the world, we wanted to get the backstory on just who, Clistboards is:
Well, I’m just a guy. I like surfing, and I like surfing different boards without being in the hole $1000 just to put a new feeling under my feet…
So I turned to the list. At the time it still had all the boards I had wanted to ride—like in North Shore, where he has to work his way through the history of surfing quiver, right? That’s what I wanted to do, so I did.
But it’s never enough and you end up becoming what you always feared. I was becoming the guy with cobwebs on my fin boxes and twisted sisters left on the rail in the sun.
So I figured I’d screen-cap the best surf posts (boards and content) in perpetuity—if I could’t ride it at least I could always reference them for myself and they wouldn’t be completely swallowed by the sands of time and revisionist history, like can sometimes happen in a Creative Tribal Culture that turns into a Commercial/Commodity/Consumer Culture.
And then of course the human element.When you show up—take the drive maybe sit down have some lemonade on the porch—you get the story of the board. Maybe someone’s kid didn’t take to surfing, or someone has to pay their wife’s medical bills. A lot of times money is not the reason for the sale; it’s that they want to see the object, whatever it is, fulfill its Destiny and be appreciated, and nothing holds mana like an old surfboard.
Usually, they are still waxed—so I don’t even have to get my arm tired before I paddle out. I ride most a few times, then just give them away to someone that might fit it better than me. It’s pretty simple. Makes traveling without boards more fun too.
At least it used to…and like uncle Farbs always said, “it’s not the arrow it’s the Indian.”
Now I figure it’s secondary economy status, just like being a scooter charger or a Lyft driver, I just get people to do the dirty work for me because I can’t bear to see any more Abandoned Children in another khaki cottage cheese duplex garage in Hawaiian Gardens, CA.
I don’t post the boards I’m after anyway, it’s a big rope-a-dope.But I treat it like a local radio station—gotta have some social utility. I have seen 4-5 lost or stolen boards returned or recovered through community action. That gives me some hope.
Sometimes I post people’s boards, if they don’t look like dogshit or even if they do, and when they sell them I tell them to Venmo me what they think is fair. [Laughs.]
How long have you been scouring Craigslist for board bargains and surf ephemera, tchotches, etc.?
Oh way too long. 15 years, maybe ?
How much time a week do you spend scrolling through the CL search results for “surfboard,” “surf,” etc.?
Prob 25 hours a week I’d say give or take. It’s a treasure hunt and sometimes I don’t even know what I’m looking for until it finds me. But I don’t set alerts or anything like that, that’s just cheating…
Being good at searching is a skill, and I don’t want to say too much here, but fuck it my time is almost up anyway: Surfers are not always the best spellers.
How much time is too much time?
When you see the same garbage over and over AND OVER AND OVER. And when you think you have been off it for a while, but you look again and it’s all the same shit.
It’s like any other addiction: when your life suffers because of it, it might be time for a break.
Despite the seemingly harmless nature of your account, we get the sense you ruffle some feathers sometimes—calling out serial posters, scammers, trash hoarders, etc. Who are your top-three offenders?
Oh well, you know, it takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round, I think. I’m sure they are just people too, trying to get by etc.. But I dunno I think they could do better sometimes.
I don’t have to name names they know who they are (and we do too) but every town has one these days. A middle-man, no intention to ride, just straight flipping.
But they probably sleep fine at night even with the knowledge that they are ruining the spirit of Craigslist.
Most obvious examples are easily found between San Clemente and the border. They just create this fake bubble that can artificially inflate prices for the one poor sap that actually wants the board (usually me). They will hold boards hostage in a garage for 5 years, just cause.
Lucky for me I’m usually looking for boards that nobody else wants anyway. I like to think that I am the Miss Clavel of my own orphanage.
But yes it’s fun to get a conversation going with some of them through social media, wish I could show you the DM’s of these shame-free, Grade A jerks. These guys call themselves out pretty quickly without my help.
If it walks like a kook… talks like a kook.. well then it’s probably what you think it is.
That said, the HB guy that has had the “143 surfboards in my yard” is a pretty classic example, but at least he doesn’t have the time to post them all one by one.
Also if you are doing ding repair and giving them New Life I salute you. But if you are selling $140 Wavestorms, you sir, are a jerk. There will always be culture vultures, that’s just the way it is. Always has been. And will be.
Sidenote: actually ordering a new board from a local shaper is the only thing that’s gonna help anyone trying to make an honest living through surfboard building.
What are some good rules to live by, as a seller on Craigslist?
Just post at a price you want to sell it at that’s honest, and don’t budge. Take good pictures and tell the goddamn board’s story, and why it is what it is.
I like to add some humanity to First Contact, I usually offer my name and phone # off the bat as a golden rule. Maybe a sentence or two of why I want it. And if I want it at a lower price I just ask, no sense wasting everyone’s time driving around for no reason.. Sometimes I send them a pic of the board getting ridden a few weeks later, you might just bring a tear to a veteran’s eye with that kind of offering.
What’s worse, a cashless tire-kicker or an opportunistic deal-flipper?
This is a great question, because it really just raises more questions… both are almost equally as loathsome as the other. They are a perfect symbiotic yin and yang to one another and cannot exist without the other and yet they don’t even know it.
It’s going down Sunday June 2nd at the waterfront Venice 9:30ish until everyone leaves. Free coffee while it lasts (one pot). Bring an environmentally sustainable cup ya bums. Oh, and breakfast tacos.
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