However, every surf truck on the market has its own characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and target riding style and goals. Choosing the best
In this article, I will go over the most popular surf skates and adapters out there and highlight key points about what they work best for and what riders – including myself – like or dislike about them. Hopefully, the information here will help you sort things out a bit as to which surf truck to get for your board.
Note: to find out exactly what other surfskaters are choosing and why, take the legendary Surfskate Instant Survey (click below) and subsequently view other surfskaters’ responses!
The Waterborne Surf Adapter
The newer kid on the block, the Waterborne Surf Adapter (Amazon page) is carving (no pun intended) a path for itself, making it even harder for riders to choose the right surf skate truck for him/her.
The good news about this surf truck adapter is that it’s sold standalone – though they’ve just come up with some really intriguing
Like with the Yow (see next section), you can mount the Waterborne surf truck adapter on a 180mm (or wider) RKP longboard truck if you want to, or any truck you already own for that matter.
What’s unique about the Waterborne surf adapter is that it uses a single cube bushing as opposed to a spring, which seems to handle speed better and provides a somewhat more fluid and natural feel.
While it also provides a very surfy type of feel, it’s quite easy to ride in a straight line and is pretty stable at higher speed, more so than a Yow, Smoothstar, or Swelltech.
Compared to the Yow, the Waterborne Surf Adapter is lighter, giving it a bit more flow, and doesn’t have
Unlike the Yow though, there’s no feature to lock the truck and turn it into a regular skateboard – other than cranking the adapter’s nut very tight. A small thing most riders may not need, but for some, it does make the Yow a bit more versatile.
Again, the Surf
Check out the Waterborne Surf Adapter’s price and reviews on Amazon.
The YOW surf skate truck
Yow, a Spanish (Basque Country) made product, is actually a surf adapter you mount a regular longboard truck on to turn it into a
The Yow surf adapter is priced at $69 and can be used on pretty much any deck / board.
Yow is considered one of the pure surf training surf truck options. It’s particularly popular among surfers looking to improve their body motion through turns. For a beginner, it’s harder to learn on than a Carver truck as the front truck runs much looser.
So the Yow surf truck is generally radical, light to pump, and fun. More of a surf than skate feel.
With the Yow
The Yow surf truck adapter has a setting for locking the swingarm and make it fixed, turning the
The Yow adapter comes in a lighter S4 version and a harder pumping, stiffer S5 version – also well-suited for heavier riders. The softer S4 spring setup allows you to carve well and even slide quite easily.
See the pricing for the Yow adapter system here on Amazon.
Yow vs. Carver: for most dedicated surfers, riding the Yow tends to make the Carver surf truck somewhat bland and unlively, as they feel the Yow offers them a looser, surf-emulating feel.
For non-surfers looking for an all-around board, on the other hand, the Yow may feel a bit too loose and unstable for daily commuting. Some riders, however, choose to fit the S4 on a 20″ wheelbase deck and add risers for a better distance carving experience.
See also this post for an in-depth comparison of YOW vs Waterborne Surf Adapter.
The Carver surf skate truck
No matter what their style is, most riders agree that Carver still has some of the best hybrid (surf and skate) surf trucks. Carver trucks are great to ride and better-suited than other surf trucks for longer commutes. On certain setups (e.g.
Some say Carver trucks can compete with dedicated LDP (long-distance pumping) and slalom setups e.g. wedged Tracker trucks.
The Carver trucks are nevertheless surf trucks at heart. They
can be used for surf training and let you drive off the back foot like on a surfboard. Read on for differences between the CX and C7.
Carver CX surf truck
The CX surf truck offer more of a surfy feel and work better for tight turning than its C7 sibling. It’s snappier and lighter. Mounted on a small deck, it’s great for riding in crowded city areas and getting air at the skatepark.
The CX is a simple RKP Truck with a good rebound. It can be tuned to feel like a single fin, a quad fin, a 2+1 or a thruster surfboard. The CX mimicks high-performance surfing and is stable and responsive in transitions.
Adapting the bushings also helps in obtaining the desired feel. The stock bushings give the CX a high-performance thruster feel. For faster rail-to-rail transition and less hold on the tail, you can put a large cone on the rear truck instead of the barrel, and a smaller cup washer.
Small caveat on the CX surf truck for goofy riders: the carving moves tend to unscrew the bolt over time, which can be a pain as you need to constantly
Carver C7 surf truck
The C7 surf truck is typically seen as flowing like a single fin surfboard – or a single fin mini malibu with a 15.5″ wheelbase. In comparison, the CX feels closer to a fish
The C7 is great as a carving, freeride and speed pumping truck, as opposed to doing radical turns, flip tricks
The C7 surf truck also has the most tuning options for surf training. It’s quite expensive, however – there’s an increasing number of cheaper copies on the market.
Here again, the C7 surf truck can be made even easier to pump and more responsive by replacing the barrel with a cone in the back truck, and tighten up the front truck (both swing arm and bushing).
The Swelltech Surfkate truck
The Swelltech surf truck system turns 360º and is highly focused on surf training to allow surfers to improve their surfing technique and practice surf-specific maneuvers.
The Swelltech Surfkate truck forces you to skate rail-to-rail by creating full body compression and achieving proper weight distribution by balancing your front and back foot pressure when turning and pumping – very close to the surfing body motion.
A consequence of the truck’s 360º range of motion is that it’s much more unstable than some other surf trucks. Riding a Swelltech Surfskate vs a Carver C7, for example, is harder and requires more effort. On the other hand, once they master it, surfers agree it significantly improves their surfing – and even their
The looseness and instability of the surf truck
Compared to a Carver, while the Swelltech Surfskate is seen by many as being closer to surfing due to the fast and loose carving motion, maintaining speed over distance is more of a
Here’s a great video showing some really nice ditch surfing on a Swelltech Surfskate:
One caveat is that the Swelltech truck is not sold standalone, so your only option is to get a complete skateboard.
The Smoothstar surf skate truck
Smoothstar’s “Thruster” surf truck adapter is another “pure surf” spring-loaded turning mechanism that offers a shortboard surfing feel. It’s closer to a Swelltech than a Carver, though it does not have a 360º turn range.
Designed specifically for surfers in mind. Thruster I is the original spring-loaded turning mechanism. Designed to fit directly onto the skateboards front trucks. Allows the front trucks to turn freely way beyond a normal front truck skateboard set up.
Like other adapters, the Smoothstar fits directly onto the skateboard’s front truck. It’s designed specifically for surfers and gives them that surfboard riding feeling. Riders commonly compare the
Unlike the Yow, however, the Smoothstar can easily be adjusted for more or less turning resistance. Riders also agree there is quite a bit of difference in the riding experience between the two, possibly due to the Yow using a rounded spring while the inside of the Smoothstar is closer to a C7.
The Smoothstar Thruster surf truck is no longer sold separately – though it used to be not so long ago. Here again, you’ll have no choice but get one of Smoothstar’s complete boards, no custom build option.
Curfboard surf skate truck
This one is a complete truck, not just a surf adapter. It’s not sold standalone but mounted on the
In fact, most riders agree the Curfboard surf truck shines for moving around town as it provides smooth and pleasant cruising with low friction – even more so than the C7 – and easy speed building. It’s really designed for cruising and carving. Not as great for skatepark riding.
Some riders find pumping on a
Due to the missing bushing in the front truck which normally acts as a dampener, the Curfboard works best on very smooth pavement but is not so comfortable on rougher roads as the bumps and cracks transfer directly to the deck (even with added shock pads). An important caveat to keep in mind.
Overall, while the
Here’s a good video of the Curfboard in action:
The Slide surf skate truck
While the surf trucks we’ve seen are generally on the looser side compared to the Carver, the Slide truck is actually tighter and stiffer than a CX, with a more limited range of motion.
While you may not get as much as a surfy feel out of the box on a Slide, the surf truck’s differentiates itself through two main aspects: stability and low height. This makes the Slide one of the best-suited
The low height also makes the Slide truck more capable than most other surf trucks,
Such stability and low ride are mainly due to the absence of a bushing and the constrained swing arms in the Slide truck, which also reduce the possibility of wheelbite in tight turns.
As a result, the Slide surf truck works really well for carving, pumping, and street and park tricks. It can also be used for surf training, particular for beginner surfers or
The Slide truck can be purchased standalone at around 60€ in Europe. Read my in-depth review of the Slide skateboards.
The Miller Division surf skate truck
I couldn’t collect as much data about Miller’s
Riders agree that with the
When mounted on one of Miller Division’s complete
The truck uses high-quality bushings – and comes with harder ones for a harder rebound feeling.
Overall riders have positive feedback about the way the Miller surf truck responds, turns and pumps. At 90€ for a pair of front and rear trucks, the
New surf trucks are constantly entering the market and the battle rages on. Each brand positions itself differently on the “pure surf vs pure skate” scale – see this article for more about that scale.
If you’re new to
If on the other hand, you’re a hardcore surfer – or hoping to become one soon – you may venture into the extreme realm of pure surf trucks and opt for a Swelltech, Yow, or similar.
The choice is never an easy one, and as always, your bet is to test different options before you buy, if at all possible.
Featured image: Fabrício Castro