How to Choose the Best Surf Skateboard: The Complete Guide

best surf skateboards

Surf skateboards, aka surf skates, are a special kind of beast.  Not your normal skateboard, not your longboard, they claim to be the closest thing to surfing on the asphalt.  Since the late 90s, these things have been growing quietly in parallel to the longboarding world.

Surf skateboards are rarely mentioned in discussions among longboarders, who typically see them as distinct animals.  Surf Skateboards take the concept of carving and pumping to a level unparalleled in the classic longboarding realm due to their unique truck designs. These designs truly make them the best skateboards for surfing the streets like riding a wave.

Surf skateboarding (surf skating) is a very appealing sport for new riders, seasoned longboarders, and ocean surfers alike.  If you’re curious about what surf skateboards are and what they allow you to do, or if you’re already sold on the concept but are not sure the options that exist on the market and how to choose the best surf skateboard for your needs, read on.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand exactly what and whom surf skateboards are for, what kind of riding style they enable, what skills and techniques you’ll need to master, which brands and models are available and what the key differences are between them.

Also check out my brand new Ultimate Surfskate Selector Tool which lets you select a bunch of key criteria for filtering and narrowing down a 50+ surfskate list to the best boards for your personal needs!

surfskate survey: what's your favorite surfskate
*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What the heck is a surf skateboard?

First appeared in the late 90s, surf skateboards are special skateboards/longboards designed to emulate the dynamic motion of riding a wave on a surfboard.

You might say they are a special kind of skateboard, as they’re typically short with smaller wheels.  However, they’re usually wider than a street skateboard, and because they have lengths of up to 40″, one may also argue they’re a special sort of longboard.

What really differentiates surf skateboards from “regular” skateboards and longboards is their special moving front truck. Normal trucks only turn along their kingpin axis :

Surf skateboard trucks, on the other hand, add an extra axis of rotation by mounting the truck on a rotating arm, allowing it to gyrate in an additional plane compared to a normal skateboard/longboard truck.

A good way to understand this is by looking at this animation from Waterborne :

As you can see, the Surf Adapter (Amazon page) allows a normal truck to turn along an extra vertical axis, in a plane parallel to the deck.   Likewise, the front truck on most surf skateboards is either attached to, or integrated with, a similar kind of rotating arm.

Such pivoting trucks enable the nose of the board to shift left and right as the rider shifts his/her weight between rails, and allow more dramatic transitions from rail to rail.  The board is able to turn much more dramatically due to the amplitude of movement of the nose, while the rear truck acts as a pivot point around which the board rotates.

This gives you something similar to the way a surfboard evolves on the wave, with the fins in the back acting as a pivot while the rider keeps shifting from one rail to the other to make the board move faster.

Update: here’s an updated animated gif from Waterborne featuring the newer version of the Surf Adapter.  I thought it was worth including since it illustrates well how surf skates work:

Best surf skate adapter

Who are surf skateboards best for?

If you are a surfer

Skateboarding was initially started in the 70s to keep surfers riding on land when the ocean went flat.  Surf skateboards go one step further, allowing surfers to actually use and improve their surfing skills on land.

So if you’re an ocean surfer, a surf skateboard can be a great surf trainer for you.  Many surf schools use these boards to help learners master surfing maneuvers, much easier to break down and demonstrate on land than in the water.

Surf skates are a great learning tool because the body motion they involve is much closer to surfing than riding a regular skateboard – keep reading for more about this.

If you’re a longboard skateboarder

As a longboarder, you probably know there are many different riding styles, from cruising to freeride to downhill to freestyle etc.

Among them, carving involves performing continuous flowing turns on your longboard, drawing imaginary lines, leveraging any small incline to keep going.   Pumping also involves short turns, but with deep body weight shifts that transfer energy and speed into the board and keeps it moving without having to foot push or ride downhill.

Both carving and pumping require a very lose and turny front truck and a rear truck that provides stability and pivoting capacity.  For this reason, surf skateboards can be considered the ultimate choice for these styles.  If carving and pumping are your thing, then a surf skate is definitely a possible option (though not the only one).

Note that surf skates may not be the best choice for long-distance carving or pumping, because the extreme looseness (which varies among models) make them less efficient for riding on large distances.  See this article on distance longboarding and this one on longboard pumping.

If you’re a newbie

If you’re new to skateboarding and longboarding altogether – and you’re not an ocean surfer – you may be wondering whether you should get a surf skate as your first board.  Here are a few considerations to think about :

  • Surf skates are A LOT of fun, but they’re not nearly as stable and easy to start on as a large, stable, classic drop-through or drop-down longboard (see this post about choosing a beginner longboard)
  • Some surf skateboards are more stable than others, as you’ll find out below (hint: do NOT start with a Swelltech, Yow, or Smoothstar surf skate as your first board unless you’re very talented or very patient)
  • If your aim is to only ride in small spaces such as a driveway, small yard, or small parking lot, then a surf skate may make sense as your first board since it’ll allow you to make tight turns in a limited amount of space – something you typically don’t get on a classic longboard.
  • If your goal is to use your first board for commuting, long-distance cruising or traveling, or riding down hills, then a surf skateboard is likely NOT your best choice.  See this article on choosing the right longboard for you.

Are surf skateboards for kids only?

If you’ve been watching surf skateboard videos, you’ve probably seen kids (“groms” in surf talk) slashing and ripping driveways, street banks and drain pipes with great agility.  Like this grom from my neighborhood :

So you may be wondering, are these surf skateboards good for older, heavier, or less fit riders?

The general answer is “yes”, as depending on your age and fitness level, you will be riding the surf skateboard differently.

As I mentioned previously, surf skates are less stable and harder to handle than classic larger longboards.  One important factor is the size of the deck you choose.  Bigger / heavier / less agile riders should typically go for a larger deck (e.g. 36″ and up), which typically provides more stability – albeit at the cost of some turnability.

Assuming you pick the right size board for you, depending on your physical build and condition, it may take you a couple hours to a few days to get the hang of it.  Once you do, however, you can really have a blast riding this thing everywhere.

Carving and pumping are probably the most exciting and stimulating skating activities you can get into without tons of skills and without much risk of injury – unlike freeriding / downhill or freestyling / skatepark.  For this reason, a surf skate can be a good option for an older rider, assuming you’re willing to put in a bit of effort initially.

Be aware that carving and pumping on a surf skate gives you an insane workout that will exhaust the heck out of you, working muscles you never knew you had – some riders have claimed to get close to a 6-pack after riding their surf skateboard for a while.

Surf skateboard riding

Carving and pumping

As I mentioned, surf skateboards are designed for carving tight turns and pumping – they’re often referred to as carver boards.   The swiveling front truck allows you to carve really tight turns with an extremely short turning radius compared to regular longboards.  This lets you easily turn tight corners and slalom around obstacles.

Effective pumping is the other unique aspect of surf skate riding: the special front truck lets you propel your board and pick up speed by doing rail-to-rail shifts.   One of the most astonishing abilities of the best surf skateboards (e.g. Carver boards) is that you can actually pump uphill from a still position – something few normal longboards can do.

This clearly shows how powerful these trucks are for generating speed purely based on body motion.

Surf skate stance

The typical stance on a surf skateboard is similar to that on a surfboard, i.e. your feet about shoulder-width apart, with your front foot slightly behind the front truck and your back foot right on top of the rear truck.

In most cases your feet lie perpendicular to the deck, although this depends on the type of surf skate you’re riding : some designs revolve around toe-heel shifting to get the board moving, while others involve more of a full-body motion – in this case, angling your front foot slightly can help you get the right motion.

More about this in the section on surf skate models.

Surf skate maneuvers

The maneuvers surf skateboards are designed for are different from classic longboarding – e.g. cross stepping, nose riding, kickflips, shuvits …  Surf skate riding emulates surfing, so a lot of the techniques you use are surfing based.

You can of course ride a surf skateboard like you do a regular longboard, but there are a couple of things to be aware of :

  • The moving front truck makes tricks such as nose riding or riding fakie harder
  • Leaning hard on the rails is the most effective way to leverage the power of a surf skate
  • Traditional freestyle and skatepark tricks can be awkward on most surf skate setups

Remember, surf skateboards are designed for quick and tight turning, deep carving, and pumping like a surfboard.  To really make the most of your surf skate, you need to learn some surfing-related techniques.

Bottom turn

In surfing, a bottom turn is the kind of hard, deep powerful turn you make after taking off on the wave and dropping down to the bottom of its face.   You lean hard onto the rail, shifting most of your weight into it.

bottom turn on a surf skateboard
Bottom turn

Surf skateboard designs allow you to perform similar deep turns, typically a prerequisite for subsequent “top” turns or snap.

Bottom turn. Source:

To go into the bottom turn, you need a little speed, e.g. a slight incline.  As you get into the turn, you bend your knees and lower yourself on the board, leaning heavily onto the rail that’s on the side of the turn.  This pressing and crouching is called “compression”, similar to a spring.

Then as you exit the turn, you “decompress”: again like a spring, you push hard to extend your knees and “unroll” and open up your body, releasing energy into your board.  The main purpose of a deep bottom turn is this “compress/decompress” motion which impulses speed to the board in preparation for the next turn.

Top turn

In surfing, most bottom turns (performed at the bottom of the wave) are followed by a top turn, sometimes call “off the lip”, performed at the top.   On a surf skateboard, you do your top turn as you reach the top of the bowl, the V bank, or whatever incline you’re on.

top turn on a surf skateboard
Top turn

For the top turn, you leverage the speed gained from your bottom turn, and push off the lip/edge, opening up your upper body,  to complete an S-turn and start heading down again (after heading up to the top edge).

top turn on a surf skate
Top turn

Note that you can learn to perform a “top turn” on flat ground – in this case, “upward” and “downward” refer to an imaginary slope/wave, what matters here is the body motion and weight shifts.

Snap and cut back

While a top turn is a smooth, S-shaped turn performed at the top of the wave, a snap is a very sharp angle turn in which you push your board around, spinning it almost 180º, typically slashing your fins out of the water.

snap on a surf skateboard
cut back on a surf skateboard
Cut back

On a surf skateboard, a snap is performed by pushing the back of your board out hard, sliding your back wheels, shifting your weight onto your front truck to offload the rear truck.  This is a radical move commonly used in surfing.

Best sruf skateboards snap or cut back
Cut back / snapback

A cut back is similar to a top turn (a snapback is closer to a snap) but instead of doing an S-turn and continuing forward down the wave, you actually perform a U-turn and then ride back in the opposite direction.  The purpose of a cut back in surfing is to get back closer to the curl – the energy zone of the wave you’ve gotten too far away from.

Surf skateboard features

What are the features to consider when looking for the right surf skateboard for you?  Well, obviously of a lot of the aspect come into play when choosing a skateboard/longboard also matters for a surf skate.  But let’s briefly look at a few features that are specific to these road surfers.

  • Truck turning angle: how much the front truck is able to rotate on the swivel arm.  This is a key factor in the surfing feel you’ll get on the board, as discussed earlier.
  • Truck wedging: affects the angle between the truck’s baseplate and the deck.  Wedged pads are often used between the deck and the front truck to modify the angle between ground and wheels when turning.  This also affects the board’s pump ability.
  • Truck resistance: for those surf skate trucks that use springs, the amount of resistance of the spring is important in the carving feel.
  • Truck height: some surf skate trucks are higher off the ground than others, which affects the stability and versatility of the board.  Higher rides may turn faster but may be harder to ride over longer distances and at greater speeds.  Lower boards may suffer from wheelbite in extreme turns.
  • Axle width: also a determining factor in wheelbite and pumpability.
  • Rear truck: the width, height, and geometry of the back truck affect the surf skateboard’s ability to pivot around “its fins”, which in turn is a key point in surfing.  A bigger, higher, stiffer truck generally works well with most surf skate front trucks.
  • Wheelbase: distance between front and rear truck.  Smaller wheelbase means tighter, more critical turns.  Many surf skateboards models offer short decks (around 30″) for a shortboard feel.  Depending on your size though, you may need a longer deck for a correct stance.  This can provide more of a longboard surf kind of feel.
  • Concave: deck concave plays a critical role when carving hard turns and radical surf maneuvers like snapbacks or 360 slides, as the concave is what keeps your feet locked-in.  Concave is typically less critical for longer surf skateboards since the rider tends to do less extreme turns on them.
  • Wheel width: wider wheels provide better grip and stability, while thinner wheels allow for faster transitions between turns and more slidability (less traction).
  • Wheel hardness: while soft wheels absorb cracks and bumps well and have better traction when turning, harder wheels are faster on a smooth surface and break into slides more easily.

The best surf skateboards on the market

Now that we’ve looked at the most important features in a surf skateboard, let’s turn our attention to the leading surf skateboard brands in the market today.  In the following sections, I will recap key information about each brand.

Please note the opinions and evaluations I share about the different boards are my own, so take them with a grain of salt.  Your choice of surf skateboard may differ from me and any other rider based on your own preferences, height and weight, level and experience, and riding environment.

For each of the brands, I’ve included a “slider” kind of graph that reflects my own assessment of how each board is positioned in terms of skate vs surf riding feel, using a scale from 1 (pure skateboarding) to 5 (pure surfing).

Keep in mind that a higher mark does NOT indicate a better board, just a different style.  A “surfier” board may be much harder to push and cruise on than a “skatier” one, and not as fast or pumpable uphill as a “mixed” board, while a “mixed” board may be snappier and better for airs than a “surfier” one, etc.

See also: Flow surfskates review
See also: this post compares the top surfskate trucks on the market. 
See also: Surfeeling surfskates review
See also: Landyachtz surfskates review

SwellTech SurfSkate

Price range:  US$ 200 – 260

UPDATE: see my new in-depth review of Swelltech Surfskate (2020) here

The SwellTech surf skateboards are real little surfboards on wheels – literally judging from the great shape and design.  Take a look at the legendary 34″ Jamie OBrien. See it here on Amazon.

swelltech surfskate jamie obrien review

Jamie O’Brien (image source: Swelltech)

The Hybrid Camo is a slightly longer deck at 36″ in length with a 21.5″ wheelbase. See its price here on Amazon (or click on the image below).

swelltech surfskate hybrid camo review
Hybrid Camo (image source: Swelltech)

The Premiere Blackout is Swelltech’s largest surfskate with its 40″ length and 23.5″ wheelbase. See its pricing here on Amazon.

Swelltech Surfskate Premiere Blackout 2019
Swelltech Premiere Blackout

Besides these boards’ awesome looks, the “Swelltech Truck System” enables one of the closest riding experience to surfing on the market, with a 360º rotation capability that enables the rider to point the board in any direction.

swelltech surf skate truck

The front truck is loaded with both external springs for hard carving and internal springs for stability in pumping.  It comes with wedged risers that tilt the truck backward, resulting in smoother rail to rail transitions and high pumping efficiency.

The front truck allows free movement of the front of the board, while the back truck, a regular, narrower reverse kingpin truck, acts like surfboard fins, i.e. providing a stable pivot while the front spins freely.

On a SwellTech SurfSkate, you gain momentum through back foot pressure (vs front foot on some other surf skateboards) which is similar to surfing.

The free-moving front trucks teach you to keep the board on the rail, just like in the water or on snow.  It lets you make critical turns by doing full-body rotations, emulating top to bottom surf-like motion as opposed to side-to-side, toe-to-heel wiggles.

Check out this 18-second video :

Swelltech SurfSkate boards are really nice for surfing mellow ramps and low-grade inclines, e.g. at the skatepark, providing a compelling surfing experience.

Be aware that the super loose front truck results in relatively low stability, making it harder to kick push for everyday transportation – this board is designed mainly for pumping, so kick pushing and maintaining speed will take a bit of practice.

Depending on how you ride, you may also experience some wheel bite, a normal consequence of having a very loose turning truck.

Check out the sweet-looking Swelltech Surfskate Austin Keen Pro on Amazon.

Yow surf skateboards

Price range: $250 – $340

Surf skate scale 4

Yow was started 4 years ago in the Spanish Basque Country.  They offer a surf skate adapter for converting your skateboard/longboard into a surf skate.

Yow’s surf skateboards have been improving and are gaining traction in Europe, namely among longboard skateboarders.

What’s unique about Yow is that all parts of their surf skates are manufactured locally by HLC, one of the biggest skateboarding factories in Europe that’s located in the Basque Country.

Yow’s Surf skate System v3 comes in two versions, S4 (thinner resistance spring, for lighter riders) and S5 (thicker spring, for heavy riders).

yow surf skate truck

While the riding feel on a Yow mounted truck is closely inspired from the Smoothstar and C7, Yow has the added advantage of coming with a locking pin, which lets you instantly turn your board back into a regular skate/longboard.

In addition to the surfskate adapter, the brand offers an attractive line of complete surf skateboards.

yow surf skateboards

When comparing Yow vs Carver, for example, Yow offers a much looser and shortboard-style riding experience but at the cost of less stability, similar to Swelltech. See the comments at the bottom of this post for more detail about how they compare.

Check out the awesome YOW J-Bay 33″ complete surf skate on Amazon

For much more info, go to my in-depth post on YOW surf skates here.

Slide Surf Skateboards


UPDATE: since this article was published, I’ve written a separate in-depth post on Slide skateboards – check it out here

If you’re looking for a less expensive yet quality surf skateboard made at a reputable European skate manufacturer, you may want to look at Slide’s surf skateboard product lineup.

Created by a Taiwanese surfer and skateboarder who designed and engineered the Slide truck, the board uses a spring-loaded multidirectional truck with similar functions to other leading surf skate trucks.

Slide has partnered with Australian surfboard equipment company Hot Buttered, a world-renowned brand in the surfing world founded in 1971, which has been manufacturing skates and trucks since 1987 (“OZE” brand).

Hot Buttered, in turn, works with Sancheski, a family-owned company in Northern Spain which has been building skateboards since 1966, making it one of Europe’s oldest skateboard manufacturers.  Sancheski is in charge of the Slide brand for Europe.

Just to say this isn’t some obscure, no-name Chinese brand making copycats for a quick profit – even though the boards are actually built in China (like most others) under Sancheski’s supervision.

Sancheski has been continuously improving the design and quality of the products, leveraging its extensive experience in skateboard manufacturing. Improvements include the boxing of the spring to protect it from dirt, the addition of rubber pads for smoother carving, and improved materials quality.

Last year Sancheski also changed the wheels for softer, stone-grind ones for improved traction, stability, and slide control.  This year, they introduced brand new revamped models with nice pastel colors.  They’ve also made Slide replacement parts readily available – something that had been problematic in the past.

Like most competing surf skates, Slide’s moving front truck allows the rider to pump and generate speed really well like they would on a surfboard.  The 165 mm Slide truck is very stable, making it a good choice for new surf skaters of all ages.

Slide surf skate truck

The Slide truck is highly adjustable: you can easily tighten up the internal spring for normal cruising and commuting, or loosen it if you want to carve and pump like on a surfboard – using the provided Allen wrench to adjust the front bolt on the truck.   The rear truck is a standard aluminum 165 mm truck.

The boards have a nice retro look and provide a pretty good surfing experience when riding on flat ground and small inclines.  Riders are generally happy with the truck’s pumping ability, although it may not carve as deep as some other surf trucks.

Slide surf skateboards provide good value for money, being quite cheaper than leading competing boards while still offering good quality craftsmanship.  Here are three cool examples of Slide models – these are available on Amazon (link next to each picture):

If you’re new to surf skateboarding, or you’re on a budget but want to practice your surf skills on land and have a blast carving surf-like turns on a surf skate truck, you may consider giving Slide a spin.  You’ll get a nice looking decent quality deck and a pretty good surfing feel for an unbeatable price.

Carver surfskates

Price range: US$ 185 – $280

Surf skate scale 4
C7 truck
CX truck

Carver pioneered the surf skateboard in the late 90s and has paved the way for many other surf skate companies, remaining a leader to date.

UPDATE: check out my complete new post for an in-depth comparison guide of the complete Carver Skateboards lineup

They offer a wide range of high-quality decks mounted on a choice of two different surf skate trucks, the C7, and the CX.

The C7 has a spring-loaded swivel arm that allows the nose of the board to move from side to side.  The truck is extremely adjustable, with multiple levels of advanced tuning to get the feel you want – either tighter or really loose.

carver C7 truck

Check out the Carver C7 truck kit here on Amazon UK

The CX is a more regular reverse kingpin truck without a swing arm.  It’s a “hybrid” surf and skate truck, but its special geometry and light weight make it more pumpable and tighter turning than most normal RKP trucks.

Carver CX truck

Check out the price for the Carver CX truck kit on Amazon UK

Both the CX and C7 are designed to provide a surf-like experience.  The CX actually turns sharper and is snappier than the C7: the C7 feels like a single fin surfboard while the CX is more like a shortboard.

Nevertheless, the CX is more stable than the C7, hence better suited for normal longboard riding.  With the C7, it’s easier to pull tight turns off the back foot, or slide the “fins” (back truck) by putting more weight on the front foot.

Compared to the Swelltech, the C7 handles speed better but is slower to initiate turns due to more constrained movement.  Its turning radius is wider and requires harder leaning into turns, as the Swelltech responds better to pressure.

Both the C7 and CX are easy to learn on and great for city pumping and some distance riding – though you should expect quite a hard ab and leg workout.

While the CX is typically considered better for cruising and moving around, both can be used at the skatepark – choose the C7 to surf the bowl or the CX for skate tricks and airs.

Many surfers love the C7 – Carver is the official surf trainer for 7 international surf teams for the 2020 Olympics. Some hardcore surfers, however, feel that Carver boards ride more like a skateboard than a surfboard due to the side-to-side wiggling motion it involves (vs full body rotations).

For this reason, these riders tend to opt for surf skates with freer front truck movement and a bigger focus on body rotation and back foot pressure – which they consider closest to surfing.  

The majority of Carver riders, however, rave about the boards’ very high quality and long-term everyday use.

If you go for a Carver, make sure to choose a deck length well suited for your size: you want to be able to stand with your feet at least shoulder wide, else you may find it hard to pump and balance.  If you’re a taller rider, go for a longer deck, even if that means a wider turning radius.

Smoothstar surfskates

Price range: US$322 – 345 (completes)

Smoothstar is an Australian brand that markets surf skateboards using a truck adapter with a swing mechanism, the Thruster System.   The Thruster adds an extra axis of rotation to the trucks, similar to other surf trucks we’ve seen earlier.

Like the Swelltech, the Thruster adapter has an internal spring that provides resistance and response to the skater’s body rotation and pumping motion.  The spring combines with the bearings inside to enable smooth rail-to-rail transitions and creating a pumping motion.

Smoothstar primary focus is on surfing functionality.  They tout their boards as being significantly different from products like Carver’s (they’re actually quite adamant about it).  They emphasize their boards truly emulate surfing as opposed to wiggling back and forth as on competing boards – generating speed but not in a true surf style.

They published a comparison test between their Thruster and “another” surf skate truck (likely the C7 ?) which concludes the Thruster turns more, is stronger, has more carve from wedging, offers better transitions, and allows more radical tricks.

Smoothstar’s surf skateboards have indeed gained good recognition among surfers and surf coaches, who praise the surfing feeling of pumping and carving they get on the boards, including longer wheelbase models.

Smoothstar surf skateboard
Smoothstar completes

Smoothstar allows you to purchase the Thruster adapter for use with your existing deck and trucks [UPDATE: apparently the company no longer sells the adapter standalone, though last time I checked it still appeared to be available on the Australian site].

smoothstar thruster surf skate adapter

Some Smoothstar riders, however, do think the deck sits a bit high off the ground and have a high center of gravity due to the extra layer the adapter adds.

Some riders compare it to the C7 for surf style riding.  While the C7 is more stable and ridable for everyday city commuting and pumping, the Thruster offers deeper carves and more of a surfy feel.

All in all, if you’re a surfer (or wannabe) and want something a bit looser and perhaps a bit closer to surfing than a C7, you may want to give the Smoothstar a shot.

Surf skate brands compared

Since writing this post, I’ve launched a cool survey regarding everyone’s favorite surfskates, which has revealed super interesting comparative feedback. I’ve dissected the data from the survey myself and wrote an in-depth synthesis. If you’re trying to choose a surfskate that meets your needs, this should be super helpful for you!

Check out my newer post The Most Popular Surf Skate Brands Revealed

Wrapping up

hopefully, this overview of the surf skateboarding landscape has helped you get a clear idea of what surf skating is, who it is for, and what the main brands and products on the market are.

If you’re a seasoned surfer, you may go for a surf skate complete from Carver (with a C7), Swelltech or Smoothstar.  If you’re more of a traditional skater/longboarder, you may prefer to replace your current front truck with a surf skate truck or slap a surf skate adapter between your truck and deck to turn your longboard into a surf skate.

If your goal is to get into surfing or use your skate as cross-training before hitting the waves, you’ll opt for a free moving truck with lots of turning.  If you also ride your board for transportation and cruising around the city, however, you may look at a less extreme, more stable truck such as a Carver CX or a lockable Yow front truck.

Finally, if you’re a new rider and are not willing to fork out the big bucks for one of these expensive little guys, you may choose a less expensive alternative like Slide to familiarize yourself with surf skateboarding and learn the basics of rail to rail carving, back foot driven surf turns, and effective pumping for speed.

Note: for a more detailed comparison of the top surf trucks out there, also check out this other article.



Hey fellow boardrider, want to post a comment or question? Due to the ever-growing number of comments on this site, I've moved them here:
As always, I try to answer as many of your questions as possible. Since the forum is better organized, other riders may also help answer your questions. You can still post comments here if you want to but from now on, I'll mainly be monitoring the forum. Ride on!

  • In this article you mentioned Waterborne surf adapter to demonstrate how surfskate trucks work. How would you rate that truck in your 1 to 5 skateboarding vs surfing scale? Do you have experience how it compares to similar style adapters from YOW and Smoothstar?


    • The Surf Adapter has a quite fluid natural feel, unlike others it uses a bushing instead of a mechanical spring. On the skate-to-surf scale I would say it’s also a 4 or 5. Quite easy to ride in a straight line though, and pretty stable at higher speed.

      • Would you say the surf adapter is closer to a yow or a smooth star adapter in its looseness and turns or is it totally different?

        • I’d say it’s totally different. YOW and Smoothstar have the exact same truck geometry. The Surf Adapter is better at handling high speed though.

    • Very strange that nobody talks about changing bushings on cx trucks – You’ll find if you switch up carver original bushings for the likes of bones hardcore soft or orangatang knuckles you can make the cx truck as extreme as you want – I personally have orangatang knuckles soft on the back truck and on the front truck I have orangatang on bottom and bones hardcore soft on top – the deck I use is carver resin 32 with redrilled holes to lengthen the wheelbase – for me this rides exactly like a shortboard – I’m an advanced surfer who’s been surfing around 20 years – hope this helps

      • Pretty cool tip Jay thanks for that! I’ll order some Knuckles from Loaded and mount them on my CX, and I’ll set it up on the Omakase deck, that should be a pretty sick combo. I’ll be sure to report back when I do.

  • Hey,

    Very useful information. Thanks so much.

    I am struggling between which to buy still though.

    I am currently deciding between YOW and Carver C7. Can you please tell me what the differences are between them please?


    • It really depends on your goals, do you want to cross train for surfing ? Or do you want to carve and pump for long durations ? Both the C7 and Yow are really good carvers and both can pump uphill. Yow is looser so it’s a matter of preference. The body movement is different too, more leg work for the Carver vs more core for the Yow – although you can learn to use your core on a Carver as well. For longer distance pumping I would probably go with the Carver, more comfortable and stable. Learning to ride a Yow or similar is harder for beginners. Your wheelbase and your back truck also play an important role, though. In short, I would choose the C7 for more versatile use, and the Yow for more looseness and super quick turns but less stability. Just my 2c

  • Thanks for the comprehensive article! I have been using a Carver C7 set up with sharkie wheels. I had tried a cx at the park and was impressed at the speed achievable with fewer pumps though more effort.

    I have tried looser rear trucks and tighter spring in the C7, VS tighter rear truck and looser front kingpin and spring and can’t seem to find a good set up for pumping better speed.

    I am trying to pump harder VS more rpm per se to get speed.

    I have searched but can’t seem to find answers on what effects on pumping the adjustments of the kingpins and spring do.

    Can you help?

    • Hey Eric, can’t really comment on the specific impact of tighter/looser front/rear trucks on pumping on a Carver, but in general, a looser front truck (and if possible with some wedging) and a more stable rear truck (dewedged) works best for pumping, that’s how I set them up on the topmount pintail I use the most for pumping (Bear trucks). Other than that, pumping is strongly affected by wheelbase, a shorter wheelbase will mean faster acceleration and low top speed, and a longer wheelbase means slower acceleration and high top speed from pumping alone. Hope this helps!

    • FYI here’s what another rider said: I think for me the kingpin is quite loose and spring a bit tightened works best, but I agree that C7 just aren’t best for pure pumping.

      • Thanks. I have definitely settled as well on a tighter rear, almost cranked down kingpin. Still trying to see if pumping with more force against the tighter spring and front kingpin actually translates to more speed from the effort.

    • I have a hamboard huntingdon hopp alongside a loaded icarus and several surf skates. Its the bentley of longboards – big heavy, great fun but if you want to pump it its like full body experience. The surf skate trucks they provide as one of two options are quite stiff and they hold in the stright position before moving into the turns which makes them otion a little jerky when trying to carve or pump. My personal favoritie is the Slide surf skate which is a good compromise between speed and manouverability.

      • Thanks I have a board with the same trucks as the hamboard I am enjoying it but when I see the some of the other surfskate I wonder if its different which I would try before I buy

  • Hey,
    Thanks for the info!
    What are the major differences between YOW (without the pin), SurfSkate and Smoothstar? I’m an intermediate surfer who wants something as close as possible to a surfboard.

    • Hey Nils, I’m a surfer as well, each of the three have a different feel primarily based on how loose and how far the front truck turns. The looser and turnier the truck the more surfy feel, while more constrained trucks make for a more skatey feel. That’s what I tried to measure with my “skate vs surf” scale in the article. For me, Swelltech is probably the loosest /surfiest of the 3 with its 180º truck, though there’s ongoing debate about this – Smoothstar also focuses primarily on surf training and is used by surf coaches in Australia. Surfier skates, though, are harder to ride and pump on for longer distances beyond a parking lot or driveway session, so that’s also something to consider. Everyone has their own preferences and riding goals. Personally, for surf training I prefer the Yow because I don’t like a board that’s super twitchy, but of course that’s just me (I mainly surf on a 7’0)

  • I’m a newbie for surf skate , I love to ride around at the street , I am thinking to get the swelltech , what do you think ? Thanks

    • The Swelltech is great but the front truck spins 180º which makes it super loose and turny, maybe not the best option for getting started unless perhaps if you’re already a seasoned boarder (surf or snowboard). The Yow is another very loose surfskate, great for a surfier experience. It also depends on what you want to do primarily, e.g surf driveways and small parking lots (Swelltech, yow, Carver CX), cruise some distance while shredding (Carver C7, Slide), or ride park and pool (Slide, CX, Yow).

      I think the Slide is a good choice for a newbie as it’s cheap yet good quality, stable enough for learning and for cruising around town, yet it allows some good surf-style carving and pumping. Check out this post

      In case you haven’t seen it I have another post on surf trucks and surf adapters, in which you’ll get roughly the same answer:

      Whatever you end up choosing make sure you get the right length/wheelbase for your style and size / weight.

      Hope this helps! Ride on

  • Thank you so much for the time and effort put in this huge amount of info !
    It’s the first place on the netwith as much detailed explanations, and I”m looking for weeks already. I’m not leaving comments in general but you deserve it a 100 times. RESPECT!!!

    I’m 51 and used to skate when (a lot) younger. I was first attracted towards longboarding as my aging bones seem to keep me away from skateboarding again. Then I discover surfskates, which I didn’t know even existed.

    Now I think that would be the best way to get back to it. I would like to be able to reasonnably cruise my board (I live in the country, the town is miles away) but most of the time I think I will use it on big parking lots. There is also a skatepark next town (but no bowl …)

    I got mostly interested in the carver Proteus (30′), the carver haedron (also a 30′ deck) and the yow Pukas La Loca (33′).
    I’m 1.75m, 65kg.

    Do you have an idea on which would seem you the best option?
    I thank you very much, and wish you a great one !!!

    • Hey thanks for your kind words! Really glad you find the article useful. If you want to cruise to town a few miles away I suggest you go for a longer deck as pumping on a 30″ may get you tired after a short while. 33″ sounds like a good choice but be aware that the Yow truck, like the Swelltech or Snoothstar, is really loose and good for surf training but less stable and so not so good for distance pumping. The carver CX is typically better for punping longer distance. The Haedron nº6 33″ might be a good option for you with its slightly longer wheelbase than the nº3. I personally enjoy cruising distance on my 34″ Loaded Poke with Carver CX (I’m 1m86 – 80kg). Looser trucks and shorter decks are great for shredding small spaces, driveways, small parking lots, park & pool. It all depends on your own riding goals.
      Also check out my post on Carver boards and this other one on surf trucks. Best of luck, ride on!

  • Hi,

    Very nice article, thanks.
    I started riding on a 41″ drop through not too long ago (I’m 40 btw). I tried out a Carver a friend has and I hated it for some reason. Felt too unstable.
    A few weeks later, during a week of beginner surf classes, the instructor asked if I wanted to go to a skate lesson. I was “oh, not a surf skate again, I hate those”. But he told me it was not that bad and I just needed to get the hang of it. I did go and after a few tries I was ridding it, then slowly carving. It was amazing. The next day I was passing the surf store and couldn’t resist and got myself a Miller surfskate (31″ I think).
    I since then left my other skateboard behind and have such fun on the surfskate. I also get to do it by the beach, and that is a plus. I just pop the trunk and here I go. I’m quite poor at it, but who care? I have fun.
    On a little side note, I recently started to do yoga, and it’s incredible how a lot of the times I’m working the same areas of the body I need for surf/surfskate. Younger guys probably won’t notice it much, but us older dudes feel things more…
    Have fun.

    • Thanks for your comment João! Agree, surfskate is really addictive once you try it! And yes, really good core workout, and great surf cross-training. I did test some Miller surfskates again a couple of weeks ago, I think they’ve gotten much better than they used to be, namely due to improved bushings. They’re easy to find in Europe particularly in Spain and Portugal, and they’re like half the price of the Carvers. I also like to ride larger decks with surfskate trucks for longer distances, you can pump on them for hours, I like it better than kicking. Keep riding, keeps you forever young 🙂 !

  • Woow, man! Such an informative and helpful article! Thank you very much for puting this up on the net! All the blessings!

    • Hi Marco, I’ve tested the Miller and it’s really cool, much better than it used to be namely due to the new bushings. I’m in contact with Miller Division and will probably be doing a review soon.

  • Thank you for a fantastic overview of surfskating!

    I bought a Swelltech Surfskate (JOB Pipeline model) a few months back and I definitely agree with everything that has been written.

    1. It’s definitely not a board for beginners.
    2. It’s not the right board for cruising over long distances.
    3. However, it is a fantastic tool to improve your surfing!

    Once you get used to the board, the surfing experience is uncannily authentic!

    I definitely recommend this board for serious surfers that are wanting to improve their surfing.

    • Yes, I think the Swelltech and the Yow are the trucks will give you the closest experience to shortboard surfing.

      • Hey, this is awesome info. I love my hybrid camo and JOB Swelltechs and HATE my carver cx and C7’s. If you were to recommend a similar YOW board to teh swelltech experience, which one would you say? I’m 5’10” and 185lbs if that matters.

  • Hi Jesse, thanks for the article! What do you think about Carveboard or Streetboardz(very similar) those with big wheels for improving surfing? (using them downhill).
    and another question, i have a Yow 31′ system v3 s5 trucks RKP and i weight 75kg, for a a more surfy feeling in a bowl or a wood wave, would be better a yow system s4?

    • Hey Daniele, sorry I haven’t had a chance to test the Carveboard or Streetboardz yet, so can’t comment on those! About the Yow, I would say the S4 would be more fun since it’s looser. Some experienced surf skaters I know really love the S4 in the bowl.

  • I am still confused between c7 and cx. I love both of them but I need to set up my mind to buy only one. I hope you guys will help me.

    • Check out this paragraph of my post on Carver boards for a comparison between the C7 and CX.

      Also, here are a couple of relevant excerpts from my exchanges with Carver:

      “I would also like you to mention that the C7 is the most adjustable truck on the market with multiple levels of advanced tuning to get the feel you want either more tight or really loose.”
      “Also please note the CX truck actually turns sharper and is snappier than the C7. C7 is like a single fin surfboard where the CX is more like a high performance short board.”
      ” I have been surfing and skating my whole life and I like a Yago at 33.75” with CX trucks as this gives me the best surf feeling on a skateboard. I think opinions will always vary and it depends on what you are riding, how you are riding, and the terrain. Around this area (Carver HQ) it is all banks and hills and not flat ground so I guess it also depends on what you are comparing.”

      As far as I’m concerned, I tried both and I confirm the C7 allows for more of a flowy surf-style riding, while the CX is super snappy and great for tricks as well. Both are very pumpable though, as mentioned above it depends on your riding style and terrain, but also on the type of deck you mount the truck on.

      Hope this helps! Jesse

  • Hi,

    Thank you for detailed information. This helps a lot.
    I bought my Icarus with Paris 180mm, but I would like more fun surfy pumping.
    I’m considering 1) using waterborne adaptor or 2) replace with CX or C7 truck.

    Definitely, first one is more budget friendly, but not sure how reliable and good fit for my Icarus, which has quite long wb compared to normal surf skates.

    Do you have any recommendation?

    • Hey, I just published this new article about surf adapters including the Waterborne and the Yow, you can check it out as well.

      I ride a Loaded Poke with a CX for my carving and pumping sessions, works really great. The Icarus has a larger wheelbase than the Poke (28″ vs 20″ I think) so it’ll be harder to pump from a standstill and gain speed than with the Poke, however once you have speed you can pump faster and over longer distances with less effort. In other words, if you want to surf and do cutbacks in parking lots and driveways, I’d say get a shorter deck, but if you want to do surf pumping while traveling on longer rides, the Icarus will be great.

      With regards to CX vs C7 vs Waterborne, all of them can work, again it depends on what kind of ride feel you want. The Waterborne and the CX are both bushing systems while the C7 uses a spring. A bushing gives you a different feel, some say a more natural one compared to springs. I think the Waterborne gives you more turn than the CX though perhaps at the cost of some stability and efficiency for distance riding. However, also adding the Waterborne Rail adapter (sold separately) on your rear truck adds more lean and stability to your board! The CX, on the other hand, is like a regular truck but much turnier. It’s more lightweight than the Waterborne. I really like it for riding distance while surf carving/pumping. I think the Waterborne Surf + Rail adapters go for about $100, still cheaper than the CX. The C7 is surfier but pricier, and again it’s a spring system so different feel, more classic fluid surfing – the spring may need replacement after a while.

      Sorry for the non-straightforward answer! If you want to be conservative, go for the CX, it will always carve and pump fine on anything, you can loosen the front truck more to make up for your long wheelbase. If you want to try something different and more radical, mount the Waterborne between your Paris trucks and your deck, you’ll still feel like your riding on your Paris trucks but you’ll become very tight turning. Jesse

      • Hi Jesse,

        Thank you so much for detailed explanation.
        I will definitely check your new post on Waterborne and Yow system.
        One more follow up question. Do you think Waterborne Rail adapter is necessary with Paris 180mm + Kegel + Icarus? Or, is it okay if I just go without it? I think there’s no option of buying them separately, so I might need to make a good decision when I’m buying it.

        Thanks again for detailed explanation.

        • Hello, the Rail Adapter helps make the rear truck setup lean as far as the front does with the Surf Adapter. This makes sure that your rear outside wheel doesn’t lift during hard carves. More wheel contact means more grip and more speed. I definitely think you can go without it though! If you later feel the need to improve your setup for more speed, you can try reaching to Waterborne and ask them to buy the Rail Adapter separately since you’ll already have bought the Surf Adapter. Cheers! Jesse

      • Yo Jesse great content! Been reading it for days now lol, I’m looking at boards and I’m trying to decide between something between 31 and 33 in with a wheelbase of 15.5 to 17″. And trying to decide between running caliber twos on waterborne or just getting the c7 setup with Carver. I’m 5’10” 175 lb and I’m looking for something that will allow me to carve in parks and on the streets, something lightweightish for travel purposes, mellow downhill (less than 25mph.) My stance is a bit wider and I love the full hip rotation for pumping with back foot focus. I need a concave deck with ample room for my size 12 feet and a good size tail for better maneuverability. I have novice level skate and downhill experience and intermediate surfing ability. Some Carver setups I’ve considered are the Yagos, Origin, Booster, and knoxhill. I’ve tried the c7 set up on the CI Pod and the stance is a bit too narrow for me by about an 1.5″-2″. I do like the feel the c7 provides. Thank you for your time! Please and thank you bruddah! Bless

        • Hey Jesse, with your height and weight, if you want to do a bit of downhill I would probably go for something around 31″ – I’d say even longer but it might be too much for park riding. 31″ may give you the stance you need? A Waterborne setup may be a bit too loose for speed unless you’re experienced, Carver is more stable. I suppose you’ve checked out my Carver comparison guide here? Yeah the Knox Quill or Origin would probably work for you length and wheelbase-wise.

          The C7 is great for classic surf carving and pumping, though for park the CX is probably easier to work with. The C7 will typically give you better back foot pumping.

          For a really roomy board for big feet you could also check out the Loaded Omakase deck (see this). Awesome concave on that board, you could set it up with a C7 or a Waterborne.

          Not trying to get you even more confused, but just so you know the Swelltech is simply amazing for back foot-driven surf pumping and carving, see my new post with video here. It actually handles speed unexpectedly well once you get the hang of it. Never tried it at the park but I’ve seen it do quite well in bowls. It’s completely different from the Carver though, the front truck spins freely (360º angle) so it depends on what you want to do, true surf riding vs more all-around (C7).

          If you want to play it safe and get something easy to get started on but still good for surf training, go for a Carver complete – or the Omakase with a C7. If you want to really surf the streets and are not looking to do much pushing and ramp then perhaps consider the Swelltech.

          Hope this helps anyway lol

    • Hi Chung Kim, I’d be interested to know what you ended up doing – and how did it go? I’m thinking of doing something similar.

  • Hello,

    Great article! I am a beginner, and want to buy my first surfskate.
    On your recommendation, I am considering a Slide Surfskate:

    But I also noticed that Carver’s cheapest board (the Triton) is a similar price:

    What do you think is best for a beginner?

    Thanks for your help,


    • Hey Brad, I haven’t tested the Triton so not sure what the deck is like. I know the Carver CX quite well though and it’s an awesome truck. The Slide surf skate is pretty cool too though quite different. Did you see my review on it? There’s a section in that review where I compare the Slide to a Carver board. In short, the Slide truck is not as tall as the CX and as a result, the Slide rides lower to the ground, making it better for park and pool riding. The Slide truck is also not as loose as the CX so it’s more stable for distance pumping but maybe not as snappy for radical surf cutbacks. So which one you choose of the Slide or Triton really depends on your riding style and goals, assuming the decks are of comparable quality – wheel size is comparable, I think it’s 65mm for the Slide vs 68mm for the Triton. Hope this helps a little! Jesse

      EDIT: just noticed you said you’re a beginner, the Slide may be a good option since it’s a bit more stable and lower to the ground

  • Would be great to see streetboardz included in this comparison/ review- same function but quite different in design

  • Dude this is one excellent article thnkuuuuuuu very much . I’m looking to improve my surfing only … and have fun …. I not a beginner surfer but I am also … turn along the wave, basic turns but no really dynamic stuff… also my scateboard riding I swap feet ! So I’m after the most surfy keep my goofy surfing stance and keep learning on land . Which would you recommend ? The Yow ( still not cheap @£80) truck converter or the whole hog with the £££ swell tech or the Slide not a lot more than the Yow truck or even one of these rubber wheeled carvers like the Streets scate ? I really want something but most of my cash is just gone on a new wet suit ! Also would rather spend more and get it right … u know the deal . Thnku So Much for all this . Big Up Bless

    • Hey sorry for the late reply! The most affordable (yet quality) complete surfskates are the Miller and the Slide. Like you said, an alternative if you already have a skateboard is to just get a surf truc or even a surf adapter. The Carver C7 truck is awesome for surfing but is quite expensive, the Carver CX is cheaper but not as surfy. I would probably go for an adapter (again if you already own a skateboard), either the Yow or the Waterborne, see this post for a detailed comparison. Hope this helps! ride on!

      • I ride a smoothstar, 32.5 Joanna Defay model and its my preferred board. Got on it a couple yrs back on vacation in Aust, loved the ride from the get go and couldn’t leave australia without one. Loose, tight turns, responsive, snappy! Just like a surfboard!! Tried a carver cx set up today, made it as loose as it can get, did not like it. Its just not loose enuff, no fun! Not surfy. So if u are an asphalt surfer, seriously, go for the smoothstar.

        • Yeah the Smoothstar is one of the looser surfskates along with YOW and Swelltech (180º spin angle). The CX is a regular TKP truck with a urethane bushing (not a spring) though it does have a special geometry that makes it more turny than a regular truck. But if you want a true surf-style truck you should check out the Carver C7 instead of the CX. It’s surfy and flowy albeit not as loose as the ones I mentioned, so it’s more stable and comfy for distance. As always it all depends on your style and what you want to do on your surfskate.

          • Just got my hands on a Slide Maui wowwie as well… its a good ride for that price point for sure… just to keep a second surfskate board handy and it feels very much like the smooth star except it sits higher n it’s not as loose. I like it!

          • Yeah people often compare the Slide to the CX. I think it rides lower than Carver though, which makes it even better for ramp. Not sure about vs the Smoothstar.

          • just an update! Got a Carver Haedron 6 33” with C7 trucks today. Its still kinda stiff, but its def more surfy than the cx trucks. And i realised the stock carver wheels are bigger and softer, making it a more stable comfy ride! It’s closer to the Slide surfskate in terms of feel than the Smoothstar i’m used to. All very good surfskates at diff price points. Thanks for this great informative piece, Big Kahuna

  • Great article amigo, thank you. For a novice longboard surfer looking for dryland training, what would you recommend? My first thought was a 33″ or longer Carver with C7’s, or maybe a Poke with Paris trucks and the Waterborne adapter (that I can take off when I want to skate more traditionally). I feel like those options give me a little room to take steps on the board and simulate cross stepping. However since the Swelltech forces you to turn off the back foot, I’m wondering if that will be more beneficial to my longboard surf turns. What would your experience tell you is most appropriate?

    • Hey, I have the Poke and both the Carver CX and Paris trucks, with the CX I can pump pretty well though I get more of a surf feel on my Landyatchz pintail with the CX. Since you’re a longboarder, I’d go with a longer deck like 35″-40″ (Carver Haedron, a longer YOW, or maybe even a Hamboard). As for the trucks it’s a tough call, personally I find the Swelltech too twitchy, it’s mainly good for shortboard-style rad stuff but I like a more flowy carve and more efficiency for distance. I’d probably go for the C7, quite stable and flowy, or perhaps a YOW S5 (harder spring than S4). Alternatively, Hamboards’ HST truck is supposed to be great for longboard cross-training (see my article here) but I don’t have a lot of experience on it. So to recap, check out a longer Carver complete, or some other longer deck you fit with a C7, or maybe a Hamboard. Oh and the Waterborne is also an option but I can’t really say how it compares with a C7 on a longer deck.

  • Helo,

    I have a question.. Which board us looser.. The smoothstar or the yow Surfskate.. I have a yow and thinking about to buy a smoothstar but I don t wanna have a looser board than the yow… Thaaaaaanks for the answer..

    • Hey most riders agree Smoothstar and Yow trucks have comparable looseness and surfiness. I personally like the Yow feel and deck shapes better but that’s just me. Other things I like about Yow is you can buy the trucks standalone, and als you can lock the front truck into a normal skate truck.

  • Man, that’s the best article I’ve read on the subject! Thanks!
    I’m looking at a surf skate for an electric skateboard. Any idea what would work best in terms of trucks or board type?
    I’m more keen on the ‘thruster/shortboard’ style of tight streetskate carving than the longboard style big carves – but I don’t know if that would get out of control with an eskate!

    • Hey thanks for the good words! Never tried surf trucks on an e-board to be honest, perhaps other riders can chime in. Check out the surfskate survey results to see what other surfskaters are saying – you can also take the short survey yourself if you have a minute so as to share your thoughts. Ride on!

  • Hi guys,

    I have a Miller Division surfskate and, sadly, I have to leave a warning to everyone. I will start with a little background.
    I started skateboarding less than 2 years ago. And I’m in my 40’s, so nothing too radical. I started on a longboard and in October last year I tried and fell in love with surfskates. I bought myself a Miller classic for 199,99 Euros which I was pretty happy to pay considering the 300 price mark of the Carvers.
    Being a rather novice skateboarders and moving to a surfskate, I started slow but built up to having some decent carving skills that allow me to move a bit. Not much else, I’m afraid, but I’m very happy to just cruise and carve.
    Unfortunately, about 7 months in, one of the front bushings on my board was totally shred. It came with a spare pack (I read somewhere one is softer than the other, but have no idea) so I wasn’t too upset. Still, got me thinking if that was normal. Moving another month, I noticed my board is developing some nasty looking cracks on the bolts area. The board is painted (no griptape, it’s a grip “clear coat” oe something like that). I sent an email to Miller and got no reply. With the help of our Jesse here, I got in contact with one of the directors who (without even seeing the board) said the cracks where due to mishandling.
    I took the board to the store and after about a week, the reply was the damage was due to “use and external factors”. This reply was (apparently) from the warranty service, not Miller.
    This is a surfskate that I use for surfskate moves. In about 8 months, I have ridden it most days, but only about 10 to 15 minutes (coffee break) a day, with some longer sessions once and a while. I don’t pull tricks, not even slides. Also, I’m average to low weight (68kgs) so can’t be that either.
    The warranty claim at the store is still pending because I demanded a technical report and not just a lame *** excuse, but I’m not keeping my hopes high.
    My opinion is that the Miller is a nice looking, nice ridding…. toy. It’s not built to last long and the fact they claim that it was damaged because of the use (under 100 hours of flat carving) only adds to the fact that it’s not built for the long run. I have mates that own Carvers that are banged, scrapped and beaten for years and they are tough as nails. Chances are I got a bad board, or even worse, I got one that lasts just as long as the other Millers out there.
    It really makes me sad because I have had much fun with it, but beware when you buy it, it may cost you more that you wish to pay.

    P.S. All the people I show it find it very strange as the board is in very good condition (some scrapes, but that is normal). Apparently Miller think it’s fine for a board to last 8 months.

  • Do you know if SwellTech is still in business? I’ve tried to buy a board, but haven’t been able to. Seems like their site is down and no one is answering the phone….

    • Hum very strange indeed, I checked out their site a couple of weeks ago and it worked fine. They also seem to have new content on Facebook and Youtube from 5 days ago so I doubt they’ve gone out of business!

  • Hey great article – I have an Obfive surf skate and it is my first board. I snow board in the winter and found this board to be a great trainer for fitness and balance. I tend to pump along the beach paths for about 5 or 6km and get a great work out. Due to these distances i have worn down the back wheels dramatically and the rear pivot cup is pretty much toast!

    Ive been researching wheels and feel that this topic may be helpfull for us skate surfers. My 65mm wheels have almost gone concave at the rear yet the fronts look ok. What wheels do you recommend for my style of riding? Do you recommend a particular hardness i.e. 78a , 81a etc and when i choose my wheels do you recommend switching out the bearings…and if so what do you like?

    My local shop has Roundhouse wheels and the next shop sells a lot of Blood orange Morgan pros. The round house wheels are very square whils the Blood orange is a more rounded edge profile. What would you think is the difference as it pertains to my ride style.

    Once again for the great article

    • Here’s a comment from a surfskater you may find useful: have tried several wheel and bearing combinations. Best bearings seem to be Swiss bones. The difference between a square and a rounded wheel seems to be turning radius vs stability. both can be good. Wheel offset is also something to play with. I ride a swelltech and like the full offset of a stimulus orangatang (rounded) or zig zag retro (square). the Roundhouse wheels are a good choice, but I found the above wheels to be more fun on a swelltech. might be diff on a more solid board.

  • Hi,
    Great article! I keep coming back to it and I’m now set on a Smoothstar or a YOW.
    Being in Europe, the YOW seems much easier to get hold of! But I’ve never seen or tried one, whilst I have tried a Smoothstar (holy Toledo). I loved the board, and liked the fact that the surf truck was adjustable. I know the YOW comes with a locking pin, but is that truck adjustable like the Smoothstar?

    • Hey Adam, the YOW truck can only be locked for easier pushing, it’s not adjustable like the Smoothstar. What YOW does have is the choice between the S4 and S5 version, i.e. softer 4mm or harder 5mm spring for a slightly different feel. Combined to the right wheelbase you get faster pumping and snapbacks or softer turns and higher stability.
      Check out my new post on comparing surfskate brands based on my recent surfskate survey for more in-depth rider feedback:

      Ride on!

      • Cool, thanks Jesse!

        Hmm.. it’s a tough call. I did like the fact that the Smoothstar was adjustable. I can’t find anywhere near me to try a YOW, and I’m just a bit concerned if I go for one and it’s just toooo loose… hehe 🙂
        Then again, I want a board specifically for surf training on land (not skating), so from everything I’ve read, that shouldn’t be an issue – the YOW should be “set” to be “right” for surf training..

        Interesting to see from your survey that YOW are the main challenger to Carver!

        • Yeah YOW is a good option for surf training, at my local spot so many surfers ride it alongside Carvers. I recently ordered one myself for a friend on Blue-Tomato (here’s their YOW page). I like their design too. You can also easily take it to the skatepark/bowl even without advanced skills thanks to the lock option.
          Ride on!

  • Jesse – thx very much for your great site —

    I’m a 67 yr old, 6’0 / 195 lbs former pro surfboard builder,
    retired Chiropractor/Massage Therapist —

    too many injuries from early days,
    but want to simply pump/carve driveway style
    to get fit again and feel the flow again for SUP
    and some future surf retreat trips –

    no tricks, no bowls, no rails, no flips, just simple easy carving!

    I do yoga, Pilates, balance training tools, etc etc

    I want to start w/ a “Slide” board from Amazon,
    then later maybe play with YOW / Waterborne —
    but I need the deck/trucks/bearings/wheels etc
    to get started 1st !!

    I’m focused on the Slide Fish@ 32″ or the Hog @ 33″ —
    don’t care about looks/graphics,
    just want the feeling of leaning & carving again!

    Thanks so much for your time and suggestions –

    • Hey Doug, seems you have similar surf skate requirements as mine, I’m also into pumping/carving and surf SUP. I’m 6’1 and 185 lbs with old back injury (from the SUP surfing). I don’t do all the great training you do (Pilates and Yoga) but I’ve done a lot of Foundation Training and I still do abs and pull-ups daily. Just to say we have a somewhat similar profile (though different age group).

      As you seem to already know, Slide and Carver are more stable and also better for getting places. They’re not as loose and tight turning as the YOW/Waterborne but indeed more mellow and easier on the body and they do give you a nice pumping and carving experience.

      If your goal is primarily driveways (vs paths) then a relatively shorter deck and wheelbase will be snappier and tighter turning for surf training. However, you also need to take into account your size and the fact you don’t want to go too hard on yourself initially and simply enjoy a smooth and fluid carving experience, so you may consider a slightly longer deck. Personally I have a lot of fun on my 34″ Poke with a Carver CX setup – though for pure SUP surf training a C7 might be a better fit.

      The 32″ Slide Fish could probably work for you in the beginning because of the stable truck (I believe the Hog is 30″, a bit short for your size IMHO). Something like the Carver Greenroom with a C7 (around $240) may give you more surf training mileage as you build-up your carving muscles – still an easy and mellow truck compared to the hardcore surf ones but surfier than the Slide for someone with surf/sup experience.

      If down the line you want something even snappier and more radical than the C7, like you said you can move on to something like the YOW or Waterborne – you can even keep your Carver deck and fit the YOW/Surf Adapter onto it (haven’t tried it but it should work fine). Then you’ll be able to compare with the C7 and choose the best truck for each session based on your specific training goals.

      That’s probably the course I would take. Hope that’s helpful! Jesse

  • I have a 7 year old son who wants a skateboard. He has surfed before (a couple times) and really likes a surf skateboard of one of his friends’ Dads. We are landlocked most of the time, so I want him to keep the feel of surfing familiar but also enjoy skateboarding…I’m wondering if you could point me in a direction of a surf skate board for a kid who wants to learn to surf skate in this situation.

    • Hi Juli, it’s really cool your son likes surfing and surf skating. Many young kids at my local spot (and elsewhere) ride Carver skateboards as they are stable for learning and quite durable. Other brands like Swelltech, Smoothstar, Waterborne etc also make good products but they are much looser and unstable and would be harder to learn on for a child. Carver also has the Triton sister brand with some good entry-level models specifically for smaller kids, namely the Triton Argon (link) and the Triton Hydron (link). Take a look at my Carver comparison article here, you’ll find a big recap table at the beginning. Make sure to equip your son with a helmet and pads at first and choose a very smooth surface for getting started, until he gets comfortable with the pumping. Although surf skating is probably the safest skateboarding style, compared to street, freeride, downhill etc. Hope this helps, ride on!

      • Thanks so much for your reply. I’m going to check these out. Do you have suggestions for a mom who wants to keep up with her 7 year old, same sort of surf skateboard. Pretty much a beginner but have done some surfing long ago (but not well), and am 40 years old and about 165lbs, and 5’2?

      • I’m going to check these out. Do you have suggestions for a mom who wants to keep up with her 7 year old, same sort of surf skateboard. Pretty much a beginner but have done some surfing long ago (but not well), and am 40 years old and about 165lbs, and 5’2?

        • Hi again Juli, I would say for yourself get a Carver (or Triton) as well, also with a CX truck which is more stable than the C7 for commuting – and cheaper. Given your height and weight you could go with a 30″ or 31″ deck for comfort and stability and easy pumping over distances. Check out my Carver comparison table and just pick a 30-31″ deck with a design you like.

          If you’re on a tight budget, the Miller has a similar feel to the Carver although cheaper (though not as quality built). See my Miller review here.

          Alternatively, if you’re the adventurous type you could go for a looser surf skate system such as a YOW, it would be more of a challenge at first and much less stable for getting around but you get a more radical shortboard surf experience, and your child could graduate to it after a while.

          If would like something in between that you and your child can eventually surf train on (and if you can afford the price difference) you can opt for a Carver with a C7 truck, a bit less stable for commuting than the CX but more fluid and closer to a classic surfing feel. After some getting used to you and your child would be able to compare both trucks (you can mix and match) and see what you like best. If you order from Carver’s website you can choose the truck you want.

          Hope this helps!

  • Hi!
    Love the article!

    I’m looking for a surf skate I can ride during the week to help improve my surfing. I only get to surf on weekends. I consider myself an beginner intermediate surfer, I can do bottom turns on a shortboard but that’s it. I also have no skateboarding experience.

    What type of surfskate would you reccomend? I’m 15 years old 5’8 and 135 pounds. I was thinking of a carver with c7 trucks but they are a bit pricey.

    Thank You!

    • Hi Camila, really sorry for the late reply! Yes a Carver C7 (check out my complete comparison chart here) would probably be a great option for you, you may be able to find a used one online. Or you could try to find a regular longboard from a decent brand (Landyachtz, Arbor, Sector9 etc) in the 31″-33″ range and get a Waterborne surf adapter (see Amazon here). Another option is to get a Slide surfskate, these are much less expensive (see this Amazon page for example), although you may outgrow it sooner since you’re already a surfer – Miller surfskates are easier but not as radical as YOW, Swelltech, or Smoothstar.
      Hope it helps!

      • Thank you for your reply!
        I decide to go with a carver. I’m not sure what model to get, I was thinking of something in the 30″ range. The models I had in mind were the Lost Maysym, the Resin or the Knox Quill but I’m not sure if they will be too short/unstable since I’m new to skating.

        What do you think would be the best Carver for a beginner?


        • I think any of these would work fine for you after a bit of initial practice. both Carver trucks are quite stable and easy to handle compared to other brands. If you want more stability choose a longer wheelbase e.g. the Quill (17.5″ vs 17″ for the other two). The Quill also has a wider nose and tail for more foot room, and some concave in the nose for comfort when carving. You can not only use it for surf-training but it should also be a comfortable board for daily transport to school, store etc. Since you’re already a surfer the C7 may be a good fit – although pricier than the CX.
          Hope this help! Whichever you choose, you’ll have a blast on your Carver!

  • Hello! My name is Jeff Roar. I am 13 years old. I am interested in buying a Surfskate. I am currently deciding between a yow CHICAMA 33″ and a carver swallow cx (29.5). My main goal is to pump (not long distance), cruise and carve. However I still want that surfy feel. I am 5,10 125lbs. What would you recommend. Thank you for your informative article.


    • Hey Jeff, thanks for dropping by! Well each truck has its own style, the YOW is looser than the CX for doing radical surf snapbacks and slides. The YOW truck is also faster to start pumping from a standstill including uphill. The CX, on the other hand, is more stable, easy to pump for a beginner, and can pick up more speed after start and when pumping from point A to point B – it’s a good truck for skating short trips.

      Now, besides the trucks, the other main difference between these 2 setups is length/wheelbase. Since the Chicama is quite longer than the Swallow, that may offset some of the contrast between the trucks, as the longer wheelbase will add stability to the YOW truck and make it less twitchy. So if your main goal was to practice surf carving, I would say go for the smaller deck. But since your objective is mainly to pump, while still working on your surf skills, I would say the YOW setup can be a good option, you’ll be able to work on your surf turns with the YOW truck, but thanks to the longer wheelbase you won’t be exhausting yourself too much – you can lock the YOW truck too if whenever just want to cruise around.
      Just my 2 cents. Aloha!

    • For pumping fast and moving around I ride a Loaded Poke with Carver CX setup (see the setup here), it works awesome for me, I love it. The great thing about the Poke is the concave, wheel flares, and kick/nose which help tuck your feet in and help for super-efficient pumping. But of course there are many other options, you can mount a good topmount deck with wheelbase 20″ or more with the CX truck set and you’ll be pumping real good while still having a surfskate type setup. There are also non-surfskate long distance pumping setups which are even more efficient for distance pumping (see this post) but that’s a different story.

    • Are you 5’7, 5’9, or 5’10? In any case, for fast pumping on longer rides (vs for doing quick snapbacks) I would say choose a deck in the 33″-35″ range

        • I haven’t tried it but seems like a cool new concept for surf training. Seems a little high off the ground for regular riding though. Some rad moves in the bowl!

          • Very true – the spring also absorbs some of the energy when you push, which is a bummer.

            They have a new electric board which I’m excited to try out. That should solve the pushing issue (and then it doesn’t really matter how high you are off the ground).

          • Hi ! Thanks for the extensive and great article !! Really helpful ! I am a beginner surfer looking to improve my skills and stabilty on the board .
            I am 6ft and 14st . Slide and carver c7 seem to be the best choices for me . Just wondering would be your advice (budget aside) . And what would be the right lengh for me . Cheers ! Ramy

          • Hey Ramy, both Carver and Slide are good choices for beginner surf training as well as short commuting, since neither is too loose and both are quite stable for normal riding. The C7 is surfier than the Slide though, and closer to longboard-style surf feel, while the Slide is more stable for pushing, street tricks, and park riding. The Slide is also lower riding than the Carvers, so easier to push on for traveling A to B. The Slide is also much more affordable than the C7, but you may get more mileage out of a Carver as they’re really durable.

            In summary, if you’re a complete surf beginner and you want comfortable commuting and perhaps some bowl riding, go for a Slide. If you’re planning on becoming a serious surfer and don’t mind a little extra effort when getting around, and you have the budget, choose the Carver. As for length, for your height and level I’d go for a longer deck e.g. in the 31-33″ range. Hope this helps

  • Hi,
    Do you have any experience with the OB Five Rkp1 Surfskate boards or any info on which they are most closely rated against from the boards in your article ?


  • Hey,
    Your article absolutly rocks it ! I was struggling finding information about surfskate and then I found it… The perfect review ! As a shaper, I find the article goes deep into detail and has some very precise and accurate technical knowledge.
    Thanks !

    • Hey Baptiste, thanks for the kudos man, much appreciated, really glad you found the article useful. I’m working on an in-depth review of Swelltech at the moment, they have one of the most surf-oriented surfskate lines out there, so as a shaper you may be interested in that! I plan to finish and publish the post early this week. Stay tuned!

  • Hi Jesse,
    Thank you so much for your articles – they are very interesting and extremely helpful for learning all about surf skates.

    I am a total newbie to surf skating (only tried it once and loved it) , and I have no experience in surfing, skating, snowboarding or anything related . I have read quite a lot about the different types of boards, brands etc., but I find it quite difficult to choose a board without any experience in this field.

    I would like to get myself a board which allows me to learn and practice the basics of surf-skating…(so probably not a Swelltec, Yow and Smoothstar for now).
    Two boards caught my attention: Slide Surfskate GUSSIE AVALANCHE 31“ and the Ocean Pacific Surfskate 29.5“. I wasn’t sure about the size of the board (I am 162cm, 50kg) and I wondered if there is any notable difference between 29.5“ vs 31“ or the boards ? Do you have any recommendations about which board to choose or perhaps an alternative to either of them?

    Thank you and cheers 🙂

    • Hey Leyla, thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoy my articles! Yes choosing the right surf skate can really be a challenge at first. Slide is definitely a good choice for learning, stable enough yet offers very good surf carving and pumping.

      I haven’t heard much about Ocean Pacific and never rode one personally, so can’t comment on those.

      Regarding size, a 29.5″ may turn a bit quicker than the 31″. On the other hand, the 31″ will be slightly more stable and easier to learn on, and better for pushing/pumping on longer distances (e.g. down the street to the store etc). Since you don’t have boardsport experience, I would go for the 31″ – and again I would definitely pick Slide.

      Have a great time learning to surf on concrete! Aloha

  • Hello Jesse,
    I’ve been reading your page a lot while stuck at home. I live in Michigan where I usually spend a lot of time on the lake behind the boat skiing, surfing, wakeboarding etc. Since we are unable to go out for the foreseeable future, I was looking for a setup that could give me this feel on the street. I’m 5’8 135 38yo. I skated a lot when I was younger. I can surf, snowboard, snow and water ski. I’m interested in something that I can make nice turns on pretty flat terrain. Mostly pumping for a few miles. Not trying to practice big cutbacks. Just for cruising around the neighborhood mostly. Thanks for your advice.

    • Hey, if you want to pump for a few miles, you may want to consider a relatively long cruiser deck with a surf truck. My go to board for distance pumping with nice surf-style turns is the Loaded Poke with Carver CX truck (see my post here) and the Poke Surf Simulation setup here on Loaded).
      Another more affordable option is the Omakase with Carver trucks, super-wide deck, a lot of fun for pump and surf turns, you can order it with Carver CX trucks from Loaded here. See my Omakase review here.
      Of course you could also go for a Carver complete, but to me complete surfskates are not the best for distance pumping and carving, they are better suited for surf training and driveway/parking lot slashing.
      Another board I’ve been enjoying ridding for moderate distance pumping along the beach is the Flow Wedge — see my complete review here. It may be good option for your size as well, though perhaps not as comfortable for distance as the Omakase.
      Hope this helps, if you have more questions I can help with let me know. Ride on!

  • Hi,
    I need some advice! I surf, but not all that often as I am land locked. I am not particularly good either, and have been out of the water some years due to having kids. I am trying to get back into it, but manage at best two surfs a month, and then a couple weeks a year to central america. I ride a 6 2 normally, and really want something to keep my fitness, agility and surf skills up but have zero skateboarding experience. Ideally, it would be good develop some of pumping and cutback etc skills on land that I could transfer to the water as I go. I have recently tried a Globe carver that I am told is particularly stiff.. and yeh I did find it kind of stiff. So, having read your article, I am thinking about the Yow… I guess I am trying to weigh up the stability factor with the surfing factor and am nervous that at my ripe old age of 42 I´m gonna fracture a hip on something too loose. Would love your opinion. PS… no real intention to travel big distances, I am really wanting the surf experience.

    • Hi Sophia, I know what you mean about stability vs surfiness, that’s a very frequent dilemna. Yeah the YOW is really loose, great for proficient surfers and/or skaters but kind of tough for newer/occasional riders. The first option that comes to mind in your case is a Carver with C7 trucks, these boards let you practice your surf skills while giving you pretty good stability. You could even start with a Triton (Carver’s entry-level, good value) if you’re a smaller rider – you didn’t mention your size.

      Another middle ground option for some nice pumping and decent surf carving experience is the Flow (by DB Longboards), I really like it – even though I’m comfortable on more radical skates like the Swelltech. Check out my post on the Flow Wedge here.

      Speaking of which, for true hardcore surf training, no-one beats Swelltech IMO. Be aware though it’s close to YOW for looseness and stability (or lack thereof) even though it has a very different surf feel. Expect a learning curve initially and wear pads. That’s probably the closest you’ll get to a true surf feel though. See this post.

      Hope it helps. Keep riding Sophia, aloha!

  • Hey man,
    Thank you very much for the article, and the advices, amazing content in here.

    Many great boards around, so I’d need some advice to make sure I make the right choice:
    – I’m 1m70 for 58kg
    – I’m still a beginner at surfing (I do surf only during summer), but I like it very much and like the idea that I can train and get better at it during the rest of the year (not afraid of efforts)
    – I like cruisin’ and own a cruiser (short) and a longboard. Love to go for rides.

    My eyes were on Yow boards because the system looks cool (and the fact that I can lock the trucks is nice), it’s made in europe (shipping would be environmental friendly) and seems to pose a challenge. BUT, reading your article, I fear that I won’t be able to go for a medium/long distance ride with it (it seems more focus on bowls – and I don’t ride ’em – and/or to be a short rides’ type of board).

    So, my questions are:
    1. Is there a size of surfskate you’d advise me? (i don’t especially want something for beginner, I can work 😉 )
    2. Would you really recommend me Carver over YOW?
    3. What if I choose the YOW mini Malibu 36″?
    Would the lenght balance the fact that YOW board seems to be more designed for short turns?
    (Please tell me if I’m wrong and don’t read the idea correctly – I need to learn)
    4. Finally, If you were me (money not being the issue), what board would you chose? :
    – Carver Swallow 29.5″
    – Carver RESIN 31″
    – Yow Lakey Peak 32″
    – Yow Huntington Beach 30″
    – Yow J-BAY 33″

    Sorry for the long post, I’m really interested in surfskate and that’s both gonna be my first one and my 30th birthday gift 😉


    • Hey Quentin, well as always it’s a hard choice because of the many variables and personal goals and preferences.
      First is the question of what you want to do, snappy surf training in driveways vs distance pumping, these are very different and kind of opposite in terms of board choice.
      Yes, the YOW is really loose and surfy, it takes very little movement to get the board to turn which is great for radical surf snapbacks and backfoot-driven tail throws but not so good for efficient pumping for going from A to B.
      Carver is more stable and better for traveling, particularly the CX which is the closest to a regular longboard truck (though still a surf truck). The C7 allows for a more flowy classic surf style but is still OK for commuting.

      If you’re a beginner surfer, want to practice surf carving and pumping, but still want to use your new board for getting from A to B, then I’d say go for a CX or C7. Also check out the Flow, I like it for longer rides with some nice and easy surf carving (see my video as well).

      Now regarding deck length (which really amounts to wheelbase), same dilemna: shorter for snappier turns vs longer for easier and faster pumping. Given your size, you could go smaller (28″-30″) for driveway shredding but your commuting experience will likely suffer, even more so with the YOW. If you go longer (31″-33″) you’ll still be able to practice your surf turns through perhaps a little less extreme (but good practice for beginner surfing) AND you’ll have a much better time traveling some distances on your board. Like you said, you can lock the YOW truck for regular pushing. Or you can pump the CX for hours like I do on my Poke + CX setup. Or, get the Flow (I ride the Wedge) and get a nice mix of surf carving and distance pumping.

      So yeah, tough decision, there’s no single clear answer, hope I didn’t add to the confusion! Aloha

      • Hi Jesse,

        Thank you, it’s actually really helpful (the struggle is REAL, then).

        I went crazy, bought the YOW 36″ and a 32″ deck so I can do both =D

        Thank you very much for the answer mate, ride well!

  • Hey man, thanks for all the great advice this really is a great resource for us amateur surfers/ skaters. I have a carver cx setup that I love but am now thinking about getting a 2nd board for a more surfier feel and snappier turns. Any advice on which to go for I’m currently considering SwellTech, yow and smoothstar. Just wondering how they differ and if you have a preference they all seem pretty similar to me! I mainly want to practice tight turns and ride bowl. Thanks again for all you are doing for the community 🤙🏽

    • Hey, well I’m a big fan of the Swelltech (see here) which is the closest I’ve seen to true surfing. I mean the lean on that thing is insane, feels exactly like a surfboard, backfoot-driven with that awesome tracpad in the back. You can’t really do much on it if you don’t use a full-body motion, leading with your shoulders – you can also do that on a Carver but you don’t HAVE to, a hip-heel-toe type motion will get you going, you can spot a surfer by the way s/he rides a Carver because of that, non-surfers use more of a skateboarding pumping motion. On the Swelltech you don’t have that option, you have to use true surfing motion if you want to get going. At first it feels unstable and hard but you quickly get the hang of it.
      YOW is also really loose compared to Carver, more free turning though not as much as the Swelltech which spins a full 360. YOW is great for extreme turns, snapbacks, and driveway shredding, definitely a valid option for surf cross-training. It doesn’t have the deck lean (rail dive) of the Swelltech so to me, it’s still a skateboard, albeit a super-responsive one. I suspect it would a better choice for pool/bowl than the Swelltech though – haven’t really compared them so can’t say for sure. One good thing about the YOW is you can lock the truck for regular skateboard pushing so that’s a plus, Swelltech is 100% pure surf training so not your best choice for getting from A to B.
      Hope it helps!

  • First of all, this article is one of the best comparisons between the brands I’ve seen, and I have experience with quite a few! That said, I’m looking for some advice…

    I’m 6’4-5, 185lbs with size 14 feet. I’ve been surfing around a decade, but out in the SF Bay Area where the waves tend to be small and closeout with the exception of the rare day. I have a few surfboards in the 6’1-7’2 range that I ride, but I primarily ride a 6’1 LibTech Lost Puddle Jumper as a quad, which for me hugs the balance of groveler and performance board.

    I’ve been through a few surfksates and have one that I love, but am looking for a second. Here’s what I’ve owned or used:

    – older Carver Greenroom CX 34″ (thought the CX was too stiff for the wheelbase to swapped to a C7)
    – older Carver Greenroom C7 34″ (my primary, love it for distance pumping!)
    – Carver Resin CX 31″ (this is where I put my CX. I would love it but the board is technically too small for me, as the nose is too narrow for my front foot. As a result I can’t bond with it)
    – Waterborne front and rail adapter with Indy trucks on a 36″ Santa Cruz Woody Shark (The Waterborne is great but the wheelbase on the board is too long for me – I can’t seem to find the right board to put it on)

    I’ve noticed that when it comes to the Carver trucks, my 18 7/8 wheelbase on the Greenroom with the C7 is perfect for getting from A to B with that surf feeling. For the CX though, I seem to want something in the 17″ wheelbase because that feels a little snappier, like a shorter surfboard. I didn’t enjoy the Greenroom with the CX because of the wheelbase.

    At the end of the day I only want to hold on to two boards – the Carver Greenroom C7 being one of them. For my second board I want something fun to ride, snappier, with a sharper turning radius, with the idea that I can ride it around but also improve my surfing. Despite my height, my stance isn’t huge, but my large feet mean I’m more comfortable with a wider nose/tail to work with. Looking for something to compliment that Greenroom.

    Here’s what I’m considering…hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction as none of these are available to try in my area:

    – Smoothstar Felipe Toledo 77
    – Smoothstar Manta Ray
    – Carver Yago Dora Skinny Goat 33.75″ CX (hard to find these days!)
    – Carver USA Resin 32.25″ CX
    – Carver Super Surfer 32″ CX

    Any thoughts here? I have zero experience on the Smoothstars as they aren’t available in the US without importing, and are expensive as a result (just a bit more than the Carvers). The Yago Dora 33.75″ (if I can find it) and the Super Surfer both have 17″ wheelbases and are both a bit longer than my Resin, with more width in the nose and tail for my foot. Meanwhile, the Carver USA Resin is similar to my current Resin, but just a hair longer (not sure if the similar shaped nose will be an issue for me though).

    Sorry, I know that’s a lot but it’s so hard to get good info on this stuff from someone experienced! Any thoughts?

    • Man that’s a tough question you’re asking, it’s making my brain heat up :)) So to recap, you already have your distance pumping (with a surf feeling) setup and you’re trying to decide on a second board for snappier moves with the CX. Based on your description, it seems to me 32″ may be a little short except perhaps for the Super Skater which has a wider nose outline – that can make a big difference as I found out with the Flow Wedge. The Yago Dora does have a shorter wheelbase than the Greenroom but lengthwise they’re exactly the same, and you didn’t like the CX on the Greenroom, so I wonder how much better the Yago CX will be for you vs the Greenroom. The Super Surfer has the 17″ WB you want for the CX and is quite a bit shorter than the Greenroom (32″ vs 33.75) but with a wide nose, so I guess it were me I would go for that for driveway slashing.

      I haven’t ridden a Smoothstar in a while either. For pure surf training I absolutely love my Swelltech though (see my post), you may want to look into it as well. It’s much looser than the Carver and it’ll take you out of your comfort zone initially but it will give you incredible surf training due to the extreme lean and 360 truck – especially considering you’re a shortboard surfer. Once you get used to the Swelltech (it may take a few hours) it’s actually surprisingly stable, I actually ride some distance with it but on smooth terrain. It’s like riding a real surfboard on pavement, after a while it becomes so totally natural, getting back on a Carver feels very stiff.

      Anyway hope this helps! Aloha

      • Yeah, you can really see my predicament, huh? Really appreciate the response.

        How sketchy is the Swelltech? The exposed springs make me nervous and we don’t have the smoothest roads around here.

        In terms of the Carver’s, one of the reasons I was considering the Yago 33.75 is because the wheelbase is actually only 17”, which is the same as the Super a Surfer. Am I wrong to think that will make it handle identically only with more board space for my monster feet?

  • Hi there,

    Very informative post, thank you for taking the time to write this all out! I do still have a question as I am new to skateboarding and do not want to make the wrong decision.

    My boyfriend owns a ‘normal’ skateboard (symmetrical shape) and I’m starting to get how to cruise with it. I would like to buy my own board now, as we would like to go and cruise together. However, I am passionate about wavesurfing, although I am still somewhere in between beginner and intermediate level. Reading about surfkates and being far from the sea, I would be great to also being able to practice my surfing skills at home.

    There are thus several aspects that make me doubt about what type of board I should buy:
    – I’m a beginner to skateboarding
    – I wish to be able to (easily) cruise with the board
    – I wish to have a (bit) ‘surf’ feeling, so I can practice surfing skills too (although I am not very good in surfing yet).
    – I am 1.74m, weigh 66 kg.
    – Ofcourse, price is important too as it will be my first board. It is therefore very unlikely that I will buy something that is more expensive than 150 euros.

    I saw a board from a brand that was not stated in your article that seemed alright for me to start, but as I do not have any knowledge about the quality/suitability, I am putting it here as an option as well:

    I am very curious about your recommendations. Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Hey Nathalie, I don’t have any info on Tempish, saw it on skatepro before. I see it’s a Czech Republic company, some riders say it feels like Decathlon’s surfskate. Never tried one myselft – though I did try a Decathlon but IMO it doesn’t feel like a real surfskate, it doesn’t turn and the quality seems not so great. Given your criteria – stability for cruising + affordable budget – I would narrow down your options to Slide (e.g. this one) or Flow (by DB Longboards, around $150, ships from the US, see my post here). Both are good quality reliable surfskates – I ride the Flow a lot and have tested Slide extensively.
      Triton surfskates (from Carver) are also good value but these would probably be too short for your size and for easy carving.
      Hope this helps. Aloha!

  • HI.. thanks for the information, always helpful here.

    Have you tried Globe Costa surf skate? It uses a pair of Revenge Alpha I trucks (front and back side identical trucks), and a flexible fiber-carve board. I’m keen to buy this one just as surfing practice skateboard. Good price, Globe makes good skateboard, but not sure if as a surf skate this is quite it and how it would fit in your Skate-Surf scale.
    Thanks mate

  • Hi, thanks for the article, it’s really helpful! But I still can’t decide! I’m choosing between the YOW LAKEY PEAK 32″ and the Smoothstar 32.5″ Johanne Defay. I just want it for surf training and in your “skate vs surf” scale in the article you give Smoothstar a 5 and YOW a 4, how big a difference are there? I’m leaning against the Smoothstar because of this but it’s easier and cheaper to get a hold of a YOW board for me. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

  • Hi I think I’ve decided I want to go with the swelltech. I’m 5’7 140 pounds . Been surfing for a little over a year riding 6’0 Holy grail surfboard . I’m at stage in my surfing where I’m working on making my bottom turns more vertical and cutting back deeper into the critical part of the wave . My Question is should I get the Hybrid or J.O.B model . Appreciate your input in advance!

    • The JOB Pipeline has a 34″ deck vs 36″ for both the Hybrid and the JOB Banzai. The Banzai is perfect for me (6’1 180lbs) so I’d say the smaller Pipeline deck may be a better match for your size and your technical/performance surf goals. Other than size it’s down to personal preference, the Hybrid shape has a more tapered nose and “sidecuts” in its outline while the JOB has a fuller outline so perhaps slightly more foot space. But again I’d probably go for the shorter deck for tighter turns and snapbacks. Just my 2c. Also check out the new surfskate selector here.

  • Thanks man, good review. I am thinking now between Swelltech and Smoothstar Toledo, to practice for surf or wakesurf on the street. What would be main differences between them?

  • Great article! I was wondering if you could help me choose a skateboard. I’m 14 years old, 5 ft and 100 lbs. I’ve only surfed 3 times before, and with a 7 ft soft board with 3 fins. I don’t get to surf as much as I am landlocked, so I wanted to get a skateboard to help me get a head start on surfing for when I am able to go. Would you recommend surf skates for me, or would another board such as a longboard be better? I was thinking about getting a Carver Swallow (29”) or a Carver Snapper (28”) as I am on the smaller side. I was originally thinking about C7 trucks rather than CX, but I’m not sure if it will help me with my surf longboarding (7 ft). I’m afraid that the surfskate will make me get used to shortboards, and that I’ll just get mixed up riding on a longboard surfboard. I’ve only skateboarded on a Penny Nickel Board (27”) before so I’m not sure how longboards/surfskate work. It would be great if you could help me out. Thanks!

    P.S. I also read your other article “8 Best Skateboards For Surf Training” FYI

  • Hi there!

    First of all, thank for this post. It’s so detailed and informative. Amazing work!

    I was wondering if you could help me pick my first surf skate.There’s a lot confusing info out there.

    I am a total beginner. I don’t skate or surf. I’m a pretty average snowboarder as I rarely get to practice and am mostly into carving, not really big on flips and such. Which Surf skate brand/model do you reckon I should look at to start off?

    Thank you!

    • What’s your height/weight? Do you plan to also use your surfskate for getting around or just driveway slashing parking lot carving?
      Also check out my surfskate selector tool here to start narrowing down your choices.
      For more answers, please post your future comments to the forum.

  • Hey!
    Thanks heaps for this article! I have been wanting a Surfskate for ages and you’ve given me the confidence to get one. But there are so many??!!
    ‘Yow’ is easily available to me in Europe.
    I’m 5’3, 60kgs. I surf a 5’10 surfboard and can do basic smooth manoeuvres (top/bottom turns and some rail-rail on easy open waves).
    I can skate but slowly on a slight hill and my cruiser doesn’t turn as much as a Surfskate.
    I wanted a Surfskate to help with my overall surf technique turns etc, and to practice when the surf is crap!
    Could you suggest which Yow board I should get?
    I thought the Pukas black or maybe the JBay?? Wide with Wide, soft wheels And the S5 system.
    Thanks in advance! 🌊

About me

Big Kahuna

Hi I'm Jesse. All my life I've been passionate about the board riding lifestyle. Some years ago I got into longboarding, and in doing so, I discovered a whole new universe and a fantastic community. There's something for everyone in longboarding regardless of age, gender, size, and fitness level. Ride on!

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