Bob Twogood Chalup-ski surf ski open water kayak, 21-foot, $50.

Bob Twogood at 'twogoodkayaks' in Kailua, Hawaii makes some of the best kayaks you can buy at any price. Twogood rents his kayaks to folks who want to do kayak tours of the Hawaiian islands, and even offers lessons. What would you do if you saw this beautiful boat in a yard with a '$50' sign taped to it?

Well, if you were anything like all the people who had been to that Saturday yard sale before I got there at noon, you'd walk right past it. And I live in a coastal community! Let's talk about why the smell of cash was so strong here.

When it comes to almost anything 'boat', pretty much any seagoing vessel is worth more than $50, as long as it meets certain qualifiers:

a) It must be in good seaworthy condition. That means no rotted out floors or other areas, no holes - or sloppily executed patch jobs - on the bottom, and no other problems that would make the thing more suitable for the city dump. Boats are notorious for accruing abuse and neglect, often left sitting outside uncovered for months on end, collecting rainwater and soaking up destructive ultraviolet rays. Remember, unless you want to be in the business of repairing boats, you'd be wise to avoid buying projects that need work other than a good scrubbing and maybe a wax job.

b) It must be a contemporary design that people still use. For example, kayaks, canoes, rowboats and most small fishing boats have changed little over the past several decades, which means that older models are often well accepted by modern buyers. Pleasure boats, on the other hand, haven't fared as well. Remember those funky looking 'runabouts' - the boats with the fully enclosed front ends and the wraparound windshields - that were so popular back in the 1950s and 1960s? Well, they're a great example of what people are not looking for in a boat nowadays. That silly enclosed front end wasted so much room that could have been left open and used for seating. And the cramped little storage space that the enclosed nose provided had the accessibility of an overturned washing machine.

c) It must be easy to transport by a roof rack, or by a serviceable trailer that the boat is already on. The last thing you want to get stuck with is a boat perched on rickety, rusted out trailer that needs repairs before you can pull it home. Remember - the guy who buys this boat from you on eBay may be driving quite a distance to get it, and the last thing he'll want to pull it home with is a trailer that may fall apart on him during the ride home.

d) It either doesn't require a motor (canoe, kayak, rowboat,) or is small enough that it takes a motor light enough to be carried away by one person. Think along the lines of a 35-horsepower outboard on a boat of about 14 feet in length. Let's take a minute to veer off topic and talk about this outboard motor thing.

An interesting thing about smaller outboard motors is that up to around up to around 35 horsepower, they're usually pretty light. Most of the smaller outboard motors even have handles on them so that they can be carried around by one person. The average 35-horsepower outboard motor, for example, weighs only about 125 pounds, making it relatively easy for one person to move around. But... when we go from 35 to 40 horsepower, things get much uglier. The average 40-horsepower outboard motor weighs in at over 200 pounds - much too heavy to be easily carried around. Of course, this horsepower-to-weight cutoff point isn't exact, because there are many factors that will influence the weight of an outboard motor, such as the manufacturer and the year it was made. But the line of demarcation appears to be right at the 35-to-40 horsepower point, as a general rule.

Something else you must know about outboard motors is that regardless of size, they're really expensive. This means that some owners will often hold onto their costly motor when the time comes to unload their old boat. This, naturally, means that there are plenty of these smaller outboard motors sitting around in garages across the country.

e) If the boat takes a motor, there's very likely a title for it somewhere. And depending on your state, there may be one for the trailer, as well. If applicable, make sure that the seller not only has title, but that it's in his name. Depending on how your state handles boat/trailer titles, it can be a mess if you get stuck with a title in the name of some guy you can't track down.

After giving this kayak a close inspection all over to check for any damage, rot, cracks or holes, the deal was a go. Keep in mind that kayaks often have to be moved - both in the water and out - by one person, which means that weight is always an important issue - this one, for example, weighs only 45 pounds. So to keep the weight manageable, the fiberglass must be really thin. Now, although a very thin fiberglass hull can be extremely rigid and stout regarding stresses that are spread out over large areas of the hull, as in rough water and heavy waves, it doesn't hold up too well to stresses that are concentrated in small areas. Thin fiberglass is susceptible to the bumps, dents and other abuse that a kayak can suffer out of the water, which a much thicker fiberglass or aluminum hull could take in stride. Luckily, this boat was free of anything serious in the bump and dent department.

Something I don't want to forget to mention here is the fact that this kayak was hand-made by a small company in Hawaii, not spewed out on a mass production line making a gazillion boats a day. And as opposed to the much shorter recreational kayaks that are intended for use in rivers and streams, this one is made for use in open water, as is evidenced by the long, slender shape and the big spoon at the front, which is meant to prevent the nose from diving into oncoming waves.

The longer I sell stuff, the more I enjoy doing the 'local pickup only' option whenever possible. The beauty of this deal was that all I had to do was haul this kayak home, take a few photos and make my profit. No packing or shipping at all.

This BoB Twogood 'Chalup Ski open water Kayak sold on eBay to a local buyer for $536.

Photo of Bob Twogood 21-foot Chalup Ski open water sea kayak