If you have a surfboard to sell, or you’re looking to buy, “stop hoarding, go boarding” may just be the catchphrase for you. Unlike generic classifieds sites like Craigslist, fledgling site goboarding.com is spreading its wings to fly high above the classifieds competition with categories specifically designed for surf, skate and snowboard riders.
Site creator, Matt Patterson, is a Newport Beach native and grew up surfing primarily around southern California. As a result, he says the surf portion of the site is his passion. There, people can locate an specific board or browse what’s for sale, similar to walking into a surf shop and browsing the racks. “We want them to be able to find an exact board, and also cruise around to see what’s up there,” says Patterson.
What sets goboarding.com apart from the competition, Patterson says, is one: the effort it makes to support the ethics of manufacturers and eliminate grey market and counterfeit products. If one such product is found on Craigslist or Ebay, there’s not much the manufacturer can do. If goboarding.com is notified about such a product on their site however, they will close that account immediately. “End users can come to our site and feel like they are almost certainly getting the genuine article. We can’t stop all the sneaks, but we can try.”
Two: it’s a site designed specifically for board riders, and is one that only they will frequent. It doesn’t feature extra categories like furniture, personals and auto parts, weeding out unnecessary clutter to sort through. Each posting requires surfboard fin types and board dimensions to be listed.
Finally, Patterson says they’re also working with retailers to give them shop accounts with unlimited concurrent items and full e-commerce.
While at this time, goboarding.com can’t offer the same visibility or exposure that a site like Craigslist can, users can take heart that the customer base is 100 percent surf savvy. “There may be a million people on Craigslist, but 99.7 percent of them don’t surf or have any interest in your surfboard post. Goboarding is all surf/skate/snow participants and enthusiasts,” Patterson says. He feels Craigslist and Ebay have gotten too big. “I for one, don’t want to go searching through 110,000 postings of makeup, toys, and real-estate if I’m looking for a Channel Islands Fishcuit.”
Newly hatched in February 2008, Patterson has big plans for goboarding.com; many of which will go live in the coming weeks. Many people appreciate the way Craigslist keeps its transactions local, but while there are benefits to having a worldwide market in this situation, according to Patterson that feature is also coming to goboarding.com. For now the site shows products from only the U.S. and Australia.
“As soon as the first person places a single item from Canada, Europe or anywhere else, we will add that country, ” he says. “The currencies pre-loaded in the site are US Dollars (USD), Australian Dollars (AUD), Great British Pounds (GBP), Euros (EUR), and South African Rand (ZAR).” For now, those countries aren’t listed in order to prevent people from turning up searches with zero results.”A lot of the products up there are classic and vintage boards that people scour the earth for. We want them to be able to see what might be on the other side of the planet.”
The part of the site that will allow people to narrow down their search to a more local area, similar to Craigslist, remains off for now to prevent zero-result searches. As more items are posted however, it will be turned on. In the next few weeks, Patterson says a whole new slew of search criteria will be activated to make the site more user-friendly.
When it comes to preventing scams, Patterson takes it seriously. It’s an issue for every classifieds site on the Internet because it’s so easy for people to hide behind an alias and their computer screen. In this case though, the online surf, skate and snowboard communities, along with the surf industry, are the only stakeholders here. It promotes self-regulation. “FCS has come on board and supported us because we will support them. We have only genuine FCS products on our site and if we find [a fraudulent posting], we will delete them.”
When buying from a retailer on goboarding.com, like any other online purchase, you have the retailer to deal with directly. Shops and manufacturers are clearly marked with a “buy now” button on their listed items. They are the only sellers that have this feature.
There are many things about goboarding.com that put it far ahead of its competition. While still growing, it offers board riders what Craigslist and Ebay can’t. Everything about the site is made with surfers, snowboarders and skaters in mind and Patterson claims the site will eventually offer product reviews, blogs, and an online community. If Craigslist hasn’t met your surf related needs, goboarding.com may offer what you need. Don’t think just surfboards either. They’ve got boardbags, surf movies, rare and collectible items, traction pads, surfboard racks, and wetsuits with more on the way. It may be brand new, but goboarding.com has leapt headlong into creating a functional board rider-specific classifieds site. As it grows, it’s trying to find a comfortable perch in the industry and community.