Why you should never ask “how much” for someone’s “magic” board

I was recently asked how much for a surfboard sitting in the corner of my living room.

It’s been dry for awhile.

It’s yellowed.

Patched up dings dot its profile. Some dings haven’t been patched up. It’s a patchwork.

I nearly gave a price.


Then I got to thinking.

I have been ensconced by a system that encourages me to assume a framework of valuation that sees things simply as objects in a market. Let’s put it down to the power of capitalist ideology. Under such conditions I am building a tendency to see surfboards as simply “stuff”: to be sold in the market or dumped when they cease to be “useful”.

Weirdly enough at the moment I am re-reading Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (the 1962 translation by John Macquarie and Edward Robinson). In it Heidegger writes,

It is precisely through the characterization of something as ‘a value’ that what is so valued is robbed of its worth – Martin Heidegger

Ironically, even though surfboards are now traded and sold en mass on a daily basis, to drive a “capitalism of cool” and generate huge profits for a surf industrial complex, the experience of a “magic” board can shine a light on how the capitalist ideology is not the only way to dwell the world.

The board in the corner is a magic board.

A magic board cannot be valued in the market. It escapes the market as it becomes something other than an object, even from the moment the artisan shaper visualises how foam, sweat, planer, water, fibreglass, wind, muscles, etc. will come together.

The surfboard is already, from its inception, more than an object or “stuff”.

When it leaves the artisan shaper’s hands the board then begins to become part of me, the rider.

The waves we rode together built memories where I am not a surfer and board but a hybrid experience. Each bump and crack and depression is a sensorial encounter, past and still present in memory and body.

I understand the “magic” to be how the board has charmed my life by enabling me to feel new experiences and make new relationship, both human and non-human. This magic board has revealed a different way to dwell in the world, one based on feelings rather than objectivity. My life is richer because of it.

So, I told the person enquiring



No, you can’t bloody buy it even though I don’t ride it anymore.