Carver Skateboards has pioneered the surfskate since 1996 and is still the most iconic surfskate brand out there. Carver is the first name that usually comes to mind when you think about surfskate. Though some solid competitors have emerged, many riders remain faithful to Carver, for the high quality and uniqueness of its surfskate trucks and decks.
Carver has quite a huge lineup, however, and choosing the best Carver skateboard for oneself can be a real challenge! In this post, I want to take a close-up look at the 2019-2020 Carver Skateboards lineup and help you pick the best Carver surfskate for your own needs.
Update: check out my awesome surfskate selector tool here
The ultimate Carver Skateboards surfskate list
In order to help you sort out which is the best-fitting Carver surfskate for you, I’ve put together an exhaustive compilation of all the Carver boards available in the 2019-2020 lineup, complete with specs, shape attributes, and riding characteristics. Click on the following image to view the list in the form of a Google Sheet which you can sort and filter:
This compilation constitutes a solid basis for our discussion on choosing the best Carver Skateboard.
How to select the best-suited Carver skateboard for your needs?
Basically, there are two sets of criteria you need to match when choosing a Carver surfskate:
- Your size and weight: taller riders typically need a longer wheelbase (distance between trucks). Bigger riders with larger feet may want more deck width and/or nose width.
- Your boarding skills and style: your experience with board sports (surfing, snowboarding, longboarding etc) can influence your choice of Carver skateboard. A shortboard surfer may choose a shorter and surfier Carver, a longboard surfer a more flowy setup, a longboard skater may opt for a more stable Carver setup.
- Your riding goals: the best Carver skateboard for you will likely be different whether your main goal is surf training/simulation, relaxed cruising and carving, distance pushing and pumping, skatepark/pool/pump track riding, or downhill speed.
- Your riding environment: you may choose a different Carver skateboard (deck, trucks, wheels) whether you plan to ride mainly in small driveways, city sidewalks, skateparks, smooth bike paths, or uneven pavement.
- Your personal taste: for a given size and type of setup, your preferences in terms of shape and graphic design will guide your final choice of the best Carver skateboard for you.
Carver surfskate features
- Wheelbase: this is a crucial factor when choosing your Carver board. A longer wheelbase means more stability but slower turns.
- Width: while wheelbase is more important than length, deck width plays a key role in how comfy and responsive your Carver board feels
- Shape: the aspect ratio and shape design of your Carver board is important not just for aesthetics, it impacts how the board leans, carves, and pumps. Concave is also important for technical riding.
- Tail and nose: tail shape (e.g. pintail, squash, round), nose width and concave, kicks (small or large, single or double) should match your riding style. Kicks are important for slashing, cutbacks, and skatepark.
- Trucks: your choice of Carver trucks (C7, CX, C5) should match your riding style. Certain Carver decks should be paired with specific trucks. C7 is flowier, CX is shortboard-like, C5 is great for street tricks.
- Wheels: each Carver setup comes with a specific set of wheels matching the board’s riding style. Larger wheels are best for distance cruising, medium wheels for surf carving, smaller wheels for tricks.
- Style and artwork: each Carver skateboard has its own unique style, most of them based on either a specific surfboard shape or pro surfer. Some Carver decks come with signature artwork from a famous artist.
Check out the Carver Skateboards store here on Amazon UK
Now that we have an idea of the criteria to use for choosing the right Carver skateboard for you, let’s look at specific examples of rider needs and the best match in terms of Carver surfskate.
Best groveler Carver skateboard for every day, progressive surf skate
If you’re an average-sized rider looking for an everyday Carver surfskate to improve your carving and street surfing skills, the following are some of the models that may best fulfill your needs:
The Channel Island (CI) Pod Mod is a relatively wide and short (9.75″ x 29.9″) skateboard with a shape based on Channel Island’s Pod Mod best-selling, progressive, everyday fish surfboard shape.
The Courtney Conlogue (CC) Sea Tiger is also on the short and wide side making it a good choice for improving your surf skills., with a very similar size but a slightly longer wheelbase (16″ vs 15.5″). Its full squash tail (vs swallow tail for the Pod Mod) makes it a snappy surf trainer, on the borderline with performance.
See the price for the Courtney Conlogue Sea Tiger on Amazon UK
The Carver Haedron nº3 is another good option for surfers looking to progress. It’s a 30″ long deck with a slightly longer 16 3/8″ wheelbase, making it an easy board for practicing pumping and driveway slashing.
Check out the Carver Haedron nº3 here on Amazon UK
The Yago Skinny Goat 30.75 is another progressive board, this one with a wider stance (0.75″ width) and even more wheelbase. A good option if you’re a slightly bigger rider looking to improve.
See the Yago Skinny Goat on Amazon UK
Best Carver skateboard for performance surf training
Some Carver skateboards are very well-suited for proficient and advanced riders seeking to cross-train for performance surfing.
The Carver Firefly is a snappy, 30 1/4″ long deck with a roomy squash tail and kick, and a relatively wide nose for foot control. This facilitates radical turns, slides, and cutbacks. A CX setup combined with the 65mm wheels results in a very responsive performance board.
See pricing for the Carver Firefly here on Amazon UK
The Carver CI Flyer is a thinner and responsive shape with a wider tail bump, based on the iconic Channel Island Flyer performance surfboard shape. The lean shape paired with C7 trucks offers quick snappy turns for shortboard cross-training.
Check out the price for the Channel Island Flyer on Amazon UK
The Carver Knox Quill skateboard is another performance option. Despite its 31.25″ deck and relatively long 17.5″ wheelbase, this board allows full power transfer during deep carves and sharp cutbacks. The wide spoon nose and tail provide added control for radical surf maneuvers.
Check out the Carver Knox Quill on Amazon UK
Best Carver skateboard for distance, longboarding, power surfing
If you’re looking for the best Carver skateboard for distance, down the line pumping carving and power surfing on flat or downhill, you may consider the Channel Island Black Beauty. This lean, symmetrical narrow pintail with a longer ( 17.75″ ) wheelbase allows for long drawn-out lines and faster pumping on open roads.
The Carver Oracle, with its distinctive skull artwork, gives you maneuverability and responsiveness on flat but also speed and stability downhill due to its respectable 17″ wheelbase.
The 32-25″ USA Thruster with a C7 truck is also a good choice if speed and stability are important, for both fast power-riding on flat and for downhill. This is big thruster shape boasts an 18″ wheelbase giving it stability at greater speed – also making the Thruster one of the best Carver skateboards for taller riders.
The Haedron nº6 has even slightly more length and wheelbase (18.5″), also making it a very suitable board for drawn out carves and downhill – especially with a CX setup. The Haedron has slightly less tail room for the foot than the USA Thruster (pintail vs squash).
The Tyler Riddler, the largest skateboard in the Carver lineup, is a 35.5″ progressive longboard design with a 20 3/4″ wheelbase and a bump wing template. The Riddler is no doubt Carver’s top option for smooth longboard trimming.
Check out the price for the Carver Tyler Riddler on Amazon UK
Best Carver Skateboard for cruising, pushing, relaxed pumping
Short and snappy Carver boards with tight turning CX setups are great for rad surf maneuvers, but not always so good for cruising and pushing. The 29.5″ Carver Swallow is an easy to pump and very stable board for cruising due to its special shape combination.
The midsize (33.75″ x 9.875″) Greenroom, set up with a C7, also offers stable carving and comfortable cruising and pushing, with an ample platform and a relatively wide stance. The 70mm soft wheels also add to the stability and cruising comfort.
The Carver Headron nº6 (see picture earlier), with a comparable length, width, and wheelbase, is another good skateboard for easy pushing and cruising – as mentioned, its pintail shape also makes it great for flowy down-the-line rides.
Best Carver skateboard for street and skatepark
If you’re coming from a traditional street skateboarding background, or are a fan of pool and park surf riding, the following are probably your best options for a Carver skateboard.
The 30.75″ Booster with a CX is a great option for advanced radical surf training and pool and park riding – subdued wheelbase (16″), deep concave, wide tail (6.625″) and nose (4.25″) kicks.
Check out the price for the Carver Booster on Amazon UK
The diamond-tailed, 31″ Carver x Lost Plank, when set up with a Carver C7 truck, offers quick efficient pumping in pools and skateparks as well as aggressive street slashing. Its super-wide (10″) shape eliminates any toe drag.
The 32″ narrow-shaped Carver Impala Street Surf is designed to blend traditional new school skate tricks with grippy and snappy shortboard-style carving. The slightly bigger Bel Air Street Surf, on the other hands, is meant for blending skate tricks and longboard-style surf flow, being a mix of pool and street board. Both come complete with the narrower C5 truck best-suited for traditional skatepark and street tricks.
Best Carver skateboard for younger and/or smaller riders
Younger and smaller riders should generally opt for smaller Carver skateboards for a more responsive and snappier riding experience. The Triton Argon is the smallest board in the Carver lineup, at 26″ x 8.75″ (14.4″ wheelbase). It’s a nice, wide and responsive board, easy to carve for lighter riders. It comes with Carver’s lower C5 trucks, softer bushings (adequate for lighter riders) and smaller 61mm wheels.
Check out the Triton Argon here on Amazon UK
Another valid alternative is the slightly larger sized (27″ x 9″), fish-shaped Triton Hydron, also designed for groms and younger riders.
Check out the Triton Hydron on Amazon UK
The Triton Nitron is a slightly larger version of the Hydron (1″ longer, 1/4″ wider), same wheelbase but with a wider nose and a squash tail.
Check out the Triton Nitron 28″ here on Amazon UK
The Bureo Ahi has a similar size and shape than the Triton Hydron, but also adds concave, a full kicktail, and small a nose kick. The Ahi is a revolutionary, eco-friendly, high-performance plastic skateboard made from recycled fishing nets. It comes with the CX5 mini trucks and large 65 mm wheels.
Although also quite small at 28″, the Carver Snapper is wider (9.625″) and designed as a mini-board for full-sized riders with its relatively long 15.375″ wheelbase. It’s a good Carver option to use for warmup before a performance surf session.
Best Carver skateboard for retro or classic style
If you’re into retro surf style or classic shape, a few Carver skateboards may attract your attention.
The Mini Simms, for example, is inspired by a Bob Simmons (widely considered the “father” of the shortboard) shape. The very short (27″) and wide outline results in a very tight turning board which still feels like a longboard.
Check out the price for the Mini Simms on Amazon UK
Some of the Carver x Lost boards reproduce some of Lost Surfboards‘ legendary classic styles. The Carver Lost RNF model, for instance, uses Mayhem’s most classic model inspired by the vintage “hot rod” style from the 50s, with a double sidecut outline.
Check out the price for Carver Lost RNF on Amazon UK
The Carver Bel Air Street Surf skateboard is also based on the hot rod shape. The Greenroom also uses a retro template with an ample platform (picture in earlier section).
The Origin also draws its design from widely-used early surfboard shapes, resulting in smooth and flowy rides with strong rail-to-rail responsiveness.
Best Carver skateboard for flashy & impressive artwork
If you’re an art and design lover, the best Carver board for you is probably one that not only has the right shape and setup but also stands out by its artwork.
The Carver x Lost series are the products of a collaboration between Carver and Lost Surfboards, with some featuring awesome art: the Lost Beanbag with its super cool riding skeleton doing a classic hang-ten, the Lost Psycho Killer and its beautiful earth colors, the Lost Rocket V3 and its ocean landscape and dreamy shades of blue.
The Swallow and the Greenroom also boast amazing surf art, the former featuring a big set of turquoise waves about to break on a sunset background, drawn in portrait mode, the latter displaying a barreling green wave and firey skies in landscape view.
The Carver Yago Dora 30″ also has beautiful contemporary pop-art inspired graphics with juxtaposed geometric faces and shapes in white color on a black background.
Best symmetrical Carver skateboard
Symmetrical boards have a special feel to them and are well-suited for dancing and classic freestyle tricks, riding both ways, freeriding on hills, etc. Actually, none of the Carver skateboards is 100% symmetrical since the CX, C7, and C5 truck sets are directional, that is, they are not meant for riding in both directions – the rear truck being more stable than the front.
Even for regular surf carving and pumping, however, symmetrical shapes have their appeal for style and technique. The Haedron (both nº3 and nº6) is a great near-symmetrical pin-tailed Carver board.
The super-short (27″), super-chubby, super-turny, squash-tailed Mini Simms is another awesome example.
The Lost Beanbag is a true double-ended twin shape, short and wide like the Simms though with a round tail.
See the Mini Simms on Amazon UK
Most versatile Carver skateboard for a single board quiver
If what you need is a versatile Carver board for doing a bit of everything, some surf carving, some cruising and pumping, some pushing and commuting, maybe a bit of pool riding, check out these two board:
The Triton Xenon is an (affordable) all-around option due to its longer wheelbase (15.5″ for a length of 29″), slimmer deck with a 9 5/8″ width, and taller CX trucks which make it suitable for many riding uses.
Check out the Triton Xenon here on Amazon UK
Another notoriously versatile board that makes a good single board candidate is the midsized (33″) Haedron nº6, which works great for drawn-out carving, pumping, and distance pushing
Best Carver skateboards for innovative/progressive shape
If you’re the explorer type in skateboarding and/or surfing, you’ve probably noticed a few of the 2020 Carver surfskates embrace innovative, progressive shapes from the surfing world. The Carver x Lost Rocket V3, for example, replicates Mayhem’s modern triple-winged design.
The Carver Proteus’ boxy template and wide nose is a reuse of the shape of its surfboard counterpart.
Check out the Carver Proteus 30.5″ on Amazon UK
The Lost Maysym is asymmetrical lengthwise, that is, is has different outlines on each side, and its rounded tail features an asymmetrical wing. This progressive shape seeks to optimize performance in both stances (normal and switch).
Best fish Carver skateboard
In surfing, fish surfboards are shorter and rounder than regular shortboards, wider, usually thicker, and have a swallow (W-shaped) tail. In the water, they are “skatier” and allow quicker and tighter turns in smaller waves while being easier to paddle on.
Fish-shaped skateboards, on the other hand, are mostly about the stylish look. The wide shapes of fish skateboards do give you more foot room for performing snappy surf-style maneuvers, but that’s not really specific to fish skateboards. Regardless, if you like fish-style shapes, Carver has a few options available in the 29 – 30″ deck length range:
- 29″ Carver x Lost Psycho Killer (with wings)
- 29 1/4″ CI Pod Mod: classic CI fish shape (Amazon)
- 29.5″ Swallow: very stable fish shape (Amazon)
- 29.5″ Carver x Lost RNF Retro: hot rod style with double side cuts (Amazon)
The 27″ Triton Hydron fish model for groms (younger skaters) also belongs to this list.
See the Carver Channel Island Pod Mod on Amazon UK
Featured image and product shots courtesy of Carver Skateboards