Carver Skateboards Review

carver skateboard reviews

Carver Skateboards has pioneered the “surfskate” market and to this day, remains a leader in the segment in spite of the growing number of surfskate competing brands.

Carver continues to build top-quality skateboards and trucks, for many the best surfskates ever made.  Their patented truck systems are among the most efficient, versatile, and durable on the market. 

The surf community’s involvement with the brand is astonishing.  Carver is the official surf trainer for 7 international surf teams for the 2020 Olympics.  Their skateboards and other products are sold in 61 countries. 

If you’re considering buying a surf skateboard or truck , you can’t go wrong with a Carver.  Although Carver’s boards and trucks are pricier than others, they’re clearly worth every extra dollar.  The hardest part, however, is deciding which truck and deck to choose based on your build, experience, riding goals, and riding environment.

In this article, I take a close-up look at each Carver skateboard in the lineup to help you pick the best deck or complete skateboard for your needs. I’ll also review Carver’s unique trucks and the features what makes them some of the best trucks for surf skaters out there.

The Carver skateboard lineup is quite broad with over 20 board models so choosing one can be quite overwhelming.  To help sort things out a little bit, I’ve categorized the Carver skateboards by size (mini, short, medium) and by riding style (surfskate, longboard, park & pool).

25.5″ to 29″ Carver skateboard reviews

The mini Carver boards are designed for very fast turning, snappiest carving and easy pumping in small spaces – driveways, parking lots, small banks.  Like for a surfboard, the shorter the looser but less stable.  A mini is generally well-suited for a smaller rider or for someone looking to practice shortboard snaps and cutbacks.

Tye Stick 25.5” Carver skateboard

More compact even than a traditional street deck, this super portable board fits in a backpack but can still be pumped like its bigger siblings, thanks to the mini CX truck it gets shipped with. (8″ wide, 65mm wheels, 14.25″ wheelbase. $160)

Carver skateboard Tye Stick

Bureo “The Ahi” 27″ Carver skateboard

Awesome plastic deck made of recycled fishing net nylon.  Double kick and upturned nose, large tail kick, wider (9″) and rigid deck, concave for foot lock-in. Comes with the CX mini. (65mm 81A wheels, 14″ wheelbase, $195)

bureo carver skateboard review

Mini Simms 27.5” Carver skateboard

Retro model (inspired from a shortboard design from the 40s) with a wide nose over the front truck for easy nose riding. Very light, fast pumping, including from a standstill. Very wide for its size (9 3/8″).  It rides like a larger board, though the short wheelbase makes it best for tight spaces. (wheelbase 15″, 65mm 81A wheels.  $231)

mini simms carver skateboard review

Swallow 29″ Carver skateboard

Short and wide, the short wheelbase makes it easy to pump while the width makes it comfortable for cruising. Nice kick tail for kick turns and obstacle hopping. Ships with either the C7 – for flow – or CX – snappier. (width 9 5/8″, wheelbase 15.5″, 65 81A wheels. $182 C7 / $198 CX)

swallow carver skateboard

Channel Island Pod Mod 29.25″ skateboard

Designed in collaboration with Al Merrick/Channel Island based on their famous Pod Mod surf shape.  Built to help improve surfing performance. (width 9.75″, wheelbase 15.5″, 69mm 78A wheels. $245 CX, $261 C7).

channel islands pod mod carver skateboard review

Conlogue Sea Tiger 29.5” Carver skateboard

Built for pro rider and surfer Courtney Conlogue. (width 9.75″, wheelbase 15.75″. 65mm 78A wheels. $258/ $286)

conlogue sea tiger carver skateboard review

30″ to 33″ Carver skateboard reviews

This is the short board size range, equivalent to a regular thruster surfboard. Surfskates in this range are designed for mixed usage, mixing suf-style pumping and tight carving with normal pushing and short-distance traveling. The variations in size within this range have subtle effects on riding feel, e.g. more responsiveness vs more stability.  Go longer and wider if you’re a bigger rider and/or you like stability vs looseness.

Proteus 30” Carver skateboard

Box shape and cut-off nose allowing for a wider stance and reduce swing in snap turns. Nose concave for front foot leverage, ample 6″ tail for kick tricks, ollies, pivots and shuvits.  The skateboard version of the Carver Proteus surfboard, with a similar performance profile. (9.875″ width, 17″ wheelbase, 6″ tail, 69mm 78A wheels. $220/$244)

Proteus Carver skateboard

Firefly 30.25” Carver skateboard

Slightly shorter version of the popular squash tail 31″ Resin. Ample wedged kicktail for good foot lock-in and leverage in tail-driven snaps.  Great for surf training and power carves, easy pump and tight turns coupled with nice stability resulting from a slightly longer 16.5″ wheelbase. (width 9.75″, tail 6.25″, 65mm 81A wheels. $219/$235).

Firefly carver skateboard

USA Booster 30.75” Carver skateboard

Designed the the USA olympic surf team.  Deep concave and increased nose kick for foot lock-in for progressive tricks – blow tails, 180º reverses, boneless air.  Choose the CX  for radical surf training. (9.625″ wide, 16″ wheelbase, 4.25″ nose, 70mm 78A wheels. $231/$246)

USA Booster carver skateboard

Channel Island Flyer 30.75” Carver skateboard

surfskate version of the Al Merrick Channel Island Flyer surfboard. Big wide 6.125″kicktail for back foot power, proportionally thin (vs fat) profile. (9.75″ width, 16.75″ wheelbase, 69mm 78A wheels. $246/$262)

Carver skateboards channel island flyer

Oracle 31” Carver skateboard

Designed for more speed with a narrower, pointier nose and tail, but with enough width in the middle for good responsiveness when pumping and carving on flat ground.  (17″ wheelbase, 9.875″ width, 70mm 78A wheels.  $234/$250)

Oracle Carver skateboard

Resin 31” Carver skateboard

One of Carver’s all-time best sellers, the skateboard version of a squash-tail thruster for slashing waves.  Snappy and pumpy foundation model. (9.75″ wide, 17″ wheelbase, 69mm 78A wheels. $227/$243)

Resin Carver skateboard

Knox Quill 31.25” Carver skateboard

An evolution of the Fort Knox, made specifically for surfing hero Taylor Know.  The Quill has an extra 0.25″ in length and 0.75″ in wheebase compared to its predecessor to allow for a wider stance closer to Taylor’s surf stance for better surf training.  The added length does not impact the board’s pumpability though. The Quill keeps the Fort Knox’ wide concave nose for foot space, but it gets a slightly wider tail for classic style. (9.875″ width, 17.5″ wheelbase, 69mm 78A wheels. $239/$268)

Knox Quill Carver skateboard

USA Team Resin 32.5” Carver skateboard

Longer wheelbase for bigger performance riders, designed for better straight-line speed and stability. Wider stance, large powerful  carves. Geared toward strength and power training for the olympic team. Classic squash tail, steamlined nose for transitions (width 9.875″, wheelbase 18″, 70mm 78A wheels. $231/$247)

USA team resin carver skateboard

Point Break 33.75″ Carver skateboard

Developed for the movie in collaboration with the stunt team. Focus on high speed control and quick response.  Long 19″ wheelbase for good stability at high speed, chopped off nose for more foot space and control. (width 9.75″, 69mm wheels. $227/$243)

Point Break carver skateboard

Yago Skinny Goat 33.75″ Carver skateboard

Double-kick board made for surfer Yago Dora for a surf and park riding style. Longer 17″ wheelbase for a wider stance. Oak wood deck. (width 9.875″, 6.5″ nose and tail, 69mm 78A wheels. $258/$286)

yago skinny goat carver skateboard

Greenroom 33.75″ Carver skateboard

Mid-sized retro skateboard with ample foot space, designed for comfortable pushing and carving (width 9.875″, wheelbase 18.875″, 70mm 78A wheels. $227/$243)

greenhouse carver skateboard

34″ to 36″ Carver skateboard reviews

Carver boards in the 34″-36″ range are geared toward more speed and stability for pushing and traveling over longer distances. Longer surfskates are harder to pump, requiring a more involved and sustained body movement.  Because of their longer wheelbase, they are tougher to get moving from a standstill without first pushing.  However, they can be pumped to higher speeds than shorter boards, and are more stable at such speed, making them great for long distance pumping.

Tyler Riddler 35.5″ Carver skateboard

The Riddler is somewhere in between a carving shortboard and a longboard, with a deck long enough for some boardwalking yet still short enough for energetic carving.  Ample kicktail for practicing kick turns, designed for longboard surf training. (width 9.875″, wheelbase 20.75″, 69mm 78A wheels. $237/$252)

tyler riddler carver skateboard

Haedron nº9  35″ Carver skateboard

With a 20.25″ wheelase, this Haedron has great stability for pushing, traveling, and downhill carving, while remaining quite responsive and turny.  The deck made of an eco-harvested exotic ebony wood. (width 9.875″, wheelbase 20.75″, 69mm 78A wheels. $261/$268). The Haedron also exists in 30″ (nº3) and 33″ (nº6).

Haedron carver skateboard

Park & pool Carver skateboard reviews

These skateboards use a double-kick design aimed for pools, skateparks, banks, and incline riding.  The ample kicks lock in your feet for aggressive slashing in a vert or a bowl, taking off and getting air, and mixing “off the lip” fin throws and cutbacks with classic street and park tricks. The stable and lightweight C5 hybrid truck facilitates doing ollies and aerials while preserving the pumping and carving surfskate capabilities.

Impala Street Surf 32” Carver skateboard

A thin (8.5″ width) and lightweight double-kick board with ample nose for a wide stance, equipped with the low, narrow and grindable C5 freestyle Carver truck. The Impala is designed for street and park riding, while still allowing nice and tight surf carving. (width 8.5″, wheelbase 14.5″, 6.5″ kicktail, 5.75″ nose, 58mm 90A wheels. $182)

impala carver skateboard

Bel Air 32.25″ Carver skateboard

Pool + street focused double-kick board, slightly longer and wider (8.875″) than the Impala, inspired from a design from the 50s (hot rod). C5 setup. (wheelbase 14.75″, kicks 6.5″ & 5.5″, wheels 58mm 90A. $182)

bel air carver skateboard review

Carver surf truck review: which to choose?

The Carver surfskate truck is a special geometry truck that’s mounted in the front of a skateboard to make it much turnier and responsive than a regular skateboard or longboard truck.

The front truck is designed to turn much more than the rear truck. Together, the front and rear truck allow rail to rail carving and self-propelled pumping that feels a lot like riding a surfboard.

The Carver surf trucks can be purchased standalone or as part of a complete skateboard.  There are 2 very different front trucks you can choose from, the C7 and the CX:

Carver C7 surfskate truck review

This truck, Carver’s original, uses an internal spring and 2 turning axes:

  • The hanger rotates around the kingpin
  • The swing arm rotates around the bushings and pushes against the spring which brings the arm back in the middle during rotation.

The result is a smooth and fluid riding feel comparable to riding a single fin surfboard.  With its wider turning arm, the C7 works very well for faster and fluid “classic surf” type of riding.  The spring can be adjusted to make it looser or tighter in turns.

Caver C7 truck

Carver CX surfskate truck review

The CX truck feels like riding a high-performance shortboard. It’s a lightweight RKP (reverse kingpin) truck that has no spring and only one axis.  It uses a pivot pin that makes for sharper and snappier turns and pumping than the C7. Some tuning can be done on the single axis (vs. the 2 adjustable axes on the C7), and changing the bushing allows for deeper adjustments if necessary.  The CX is lighter, more stable and agile than the C7, making it better suited for hard carves and cutbacks, and street and park tricks.

The CX has a “mini” version for small decks (27″ x 7 3/4″ and smaller).  The mini can also be pumped like a surfboard on a very short wheelbase deck.

Carver CX4 truck
Carver CX4 truck

Carver C5 hybrid truck review

The newer Carver C5  hybrid surfskate truck is a lower, shorter and narrower truck that works well with new school double kick street decks and smaller wheels. The truck gives the tail more pop for combining surf-style flow with traditional skateboard tricks (ollies, kickflips, grinds etc). 

Carver C5 street truck

Carver C2 and C4 rear trucks review

When you buy either the C7 or CX front truck, it comes with the C2 rear truck, a classic skate truck slightly modified to behave like surfboard fins in turns when used in combination with the front surf trucks. 

The C5 surf truck, on the other hand, comes with the C4 rear truck instead of the C2.  The C4 is a classic-style lower profile truck for traditional street skating. It’s also designed for snappy turns but optimized for grinds and nose/slide tails, and reinforced for heavy street tricks (no bending or rail hang up).

Carver C4 truck

Final words

In this article, I’ve tried to provide useful information to help you choose the surfkate truck, skateboard size, and board type that best suits your need.

Whether you’re a smaller or bigger rider, whether you’re a surfer looking to cross-train, a surfer newbie, a seasoned longboarder, or a street-style skateboarder looking to expand your skills, there’s likely to be something for you in the feature-rich and high-quality Carver skateboard lineup.

Although to this day Carver no doubt remains the undisputed godfather of surf-style skating, there are quite a few competing brands you may want to look at depending on where you see yourself on the surf-vs-skate spectrum.  See this post for a deep dive into the basics of surfskating (and surf skateboards) and this one for an in-depth comparison of the leading surfskate trucks out there.

2 comments

  • Great Article!

    Im deciding between the proteus and Knox quill model (both with CX trucks). What would you say are the main differences in those 2?

    Cheers!

    • Hey, haven’t tried both so I can’t really answer based on experience but I’d say the main differences between the 2 are:
      – The Quill is slightly longer with more wheelbase. A 1.25″ difference in length and .5″ in WB is noticeable at these sizes. The Quill would probably be slightly harder to get started pumping but pump slighter faster and hold the distance slightly better. I imagine it turns about as tight though.
      – The Quill as a square tail and slightly pointier nose whereas the Proteus has a slighly rounded tail and slightly wider rounded square nose compared to the Quill. On a wave that would make a significant difference in the way the board responds in turns and transitions – both are based on specific surfboard shapes. Probably noticeable in a skatepark bowl as well, e.g. slightly more space on the kicktail for the Quill vs more leverage for the front foot on the Proteus. Depends on how rad you ride too. I’d say the Proteus would have more flow and the Quill more slash.
      If you’re not that technical though, go for the longer Quill if you’re bigger or the Proteus is you’re smaller!
      Hope this helps!

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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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