United States Vintage Surfboard Auction logo

Online vs. live auctions

Why online instead of a live auction?

Here are some of the reasons we're so excited about being able to offer this important opportunity to the surf collecting community.

Save thousands on travel expenses

Often travel to these events can be both costly and time consuming.  A common theme we keep hearing are collectors who spend thousands dollars on airline, hotel and car to attend a live surf auction, only to go home empty handed.  Unfortunately, after spending long hours in airport lines and on flights, many are priced out of the items they were hoping to buy.  For most the trip will be a total bust. Perhaps a waste of a couple days and several thousand dollars in expenses.

We heard from a collector that decided to drive to a live auction only to miss it entirely because he got caught in bumper to bumper traffic. Sure his pre-paid bidding fee was lost but more importantly he didn't even get the opportunity to bid!

Save lots of time and money, use the money you save to invest in what you love. Avoid the airport hassle & traffic and be assured you will get the same fair opportunity to bid as anyone else- you bid from the comfort of your own home!

State tax - more savings

Live auctions have to charge a state tax for the state the auction is located. States where live surf auctions have taken place are: California 6.25%, New Jersey 7%, Hawaii 4.16% and Florida 6%. On a purchase of $10,000 this translates to as much as $700 added to your cost!

At USVSA you will not be subject to this additional expense unless you are located in Hawaii - more money saved that can go toward your investments!

More money saved!

To run a live auction is expensive and so, understandably, other live auction houses need to recover as much cost as possible pre-auction. For this reason they will charge a fee for the right to bid, prices start at $25 - $35 and up. Sure, that's small money but when you're not a successful bidder it's salt in the wound. And unfortunately only a very small percentage of those that paid for bidding rights actually win at live auctions.

It is always FREE to bid on any item you like at US Vintage Surf Auction. We think all these expenses would be better spent on your collection. Don't you agree?

More options

Most auctions offer boards and collectibles that were found in their local vicinity.  Because USVSA has facilities and manpower on the East Coast, West Coast and Hawaii, we are able to offer boards and memorabilia found in and significant to all parts of the country!

We've even located some truly rare items as far away as Australia, Brazil and Japan. This translates into a bigger selection and more opportunity for you to find the collectibles that are important to you.

Auto Auction Extension

One of the most unique and important features, the 'Auto Auction Extension', will give the bidder a feel of being there live but without the other hassles of a live auction.  At USVSA any item that has been bid on near the end of the auction will cause the ending time on that item to be automatically extended allowing you another chance to bid again.  The auction will continue to extend until all bidding has ceased. 

We believe this will create a 'live' auction feel as well as being more fair to all the participants.  Not only does this do away with the 'snipe' issue so common in the other online sites, it also eliminates a quick 'fall of the hammer' that happens at every live auctions.  You'll have plenty of time to consider without the pressure of an auctioneer or audience urging you to decide quickly.

Auction prices

Live auctions generally only have those items that are priced at the higher end of the spectrum. This is because live auctions can be costly to run and the auction house needs to be sure they will cover expenses as well as make a profit.  U.S. Vintage Surf Auction will be able to offer the widest selection of boards and memorabilia in all price ranges.


Your anonymity will remain intact. Many collectors prefer if it were not public knowledge what they buy or what was paid. Usually, when bidding at a live auction, everyone will see who bought what and exactly what was paid. The word will quickly get around the room and eventually into the collecting world at large.

That will never happen at USVSA! We promise your identity and purchases will remain confidential.

Auction frenzy

Live auctions are very fast paced, for good reason, to boost the level of 'auction frenzy'. Because live auctions are held in a few hours, bidding on each item lasting only a couple minutes, an 'auction frenzy' environment is created and sometimes people just don't have the time to make a rational decision in the pressure of the moment.

Auction frenzy will causes some people to pay more than they might have wanted and others who would have bid again lose out because they just didn't have the time to consider before the hammer fell.  That will not be the case here, you can place bids anytime during the auction period.  Even at the end of the auction, due to our Auto Auction Extension, you'll have as many chances as you need to rebid each time you've been outbid.


If you've ever been to a live surf auction you know the boards are typically beautifully displayed in stand up style racks back to back, on the floor or against a wall.  Great for inspecting the deck of the board but not so good if you want to inspect the bottom, nose, tail or fin.  Most other collectibles are displayed inside glass cases, often overlapped by other objects where only a portion of an item can be viewed.

Auction catalogs almost never describe the condition of non surfboard items: a bidder is left to decide solely by a single small photograph.  Surfboards are typically described with a 1 to 10 rating sometimes including a small 'r' if the board has been restored. This doesn't really tell us much.  What kind of restoration was done?  Has the board been stripped down to foam and re-glassed?  Has it been re-glossed or pigmented?  Is the auctioneer's condition 9 the same as your condition 9?

U.S. Vintage Surf Auction will not only provide photos of all sides of the items to be auctioned but will describe in detail the condition allowing you to be the judge. In addition, we will be available during the auction period for your email and phone questions.

Financial information

Live auctions will take your credit card information in the me-lee of the auction activity and while they are all honorable, it is a pretty hectic scene.  Mistakes can happen.  It is possible to let personal and financial information on paper slip away or to be misplaced.  And who knows what happens to that information after the auction?  Is it kept on file?  Does it go in a trash can?  If so is it shredded first?

USVSA will never need to take your credit card information.  If you choose to pay with a credit card, you can do so through the super secure Paypal web site (you do not need to be a member). And of course checks, money orders and cashiers checks (no cash) are also acceptable.

Payment plan

USVSA is the only surf auction that has ever offered payment plans on some select items.  This makes it possible for a buyer to get into something special with time to perhaps sell a less important part of his collection, liquidate stocks or other investments to help cover costs.  We can help you sell most surfing related collectibles if need be.  In some cases we might even be able to buy your items outright.  Please feel free to inquire anytime on any items of interest.

Our thanks

We would like to be very clear that we are in no way disrespecting the live auction process.  The people that have been doing the live surf auctions are our friends and colleagues.  They have done a fine job at what they do and we owe them our most sincere gratitude for helping to make what we do possible.  We have nothing but respect and admiration for them and wish them all continued success.

It is our belief from all the feedback we've received that there is a need, a void that needs to be filled and we're delighted to be in the unique position to offer this service.

We would like to thank all the live auction pioneers, in particular, Randy Rarick, Allen Seymour and Danny Brawner for paving the way into the future of vintage surf collecting.  On behalf of the entire team at U.S. Vintage Surf Auction we'd like to thank you for giving us a chance to share this long overdo opportunity and we are very excited to have you participate with us.

United States Vintage Surfboard Auction logo
399 E. Kawili St. #201, Hilo, HI 96720
Ph / Fax (808) 969-7171
Toll Free: (877) 969-7171

Home | Register | Login | Consign | Contact | Auctions

International flags

United States Vintage Surfboard Auction

Maui Web Designs Copyright © 2007 USVSA. All rights reserved