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Loaded Carver Bolsa Review: Best Freestyle Surfskate Ever?

Loaded Carver Bolsa Review: Best Freestyle Surfskate Ever?

If you haven’t noticed, here at Ridingboards we’re huge fans of both Loaded and Carver. Imagine our stoke when Loaded approached us with the new Bolsa surfskate, result of a heaven-made Loaded & Carver collab! Kind of like the birth child of two mythical divinities.

The Bolsa brings together the best of two worlds:

  • Loaded Boards’ unmatched know-how in advanced high-tech freeride and freestyle decks – as well as their amazing Orangatang wheels;
  • Carver’s unparalleled, robust and versatile surfskate trucks for concrete surfing.

Just staring at the Bolsa, its incredible shape and fantastic surf-inspired graphics will make your booty start shaking.

Summary of our Bolsa test drive:

The Bolsa brings together the best of carving, pumping, surf training, and freestyle. It oozes quality and performance, due to the Loaded deck, Otang wheels, and Carver trucks.

To me, the Bolsa is a true surf trainer albeit one you can also freestyle and freeride on. Surfers may feel the Loaded-style curves (wheel flares, concave) reduce freedom of movement a bit for a pure surf-like experience. If you love to pump, carve, slide, and hop, however, you’ll love the foot grip in tight turns.

Here’s a cool video the Ridingboards surfers have put together:

Check out the Bolsa here on Loaded’s website

*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.

Loaded Carver Bolsa strengths & weaknesses

Pros

  • 31″ length ideal for surf skaters all levels
  • Wider than most cruisers of similar length
  • Just the right kicktail, nice nose kick for tricks
  • Deck shape perfectly tuned to Carver surf truck sets
  • Highly pumpable, works for “surf commuting”, trickable
  • Beautiful ocean-inspired graphics

Cons

  • Carver/YOW riders might prefer more width
  • Carver/YOW riders might like less foot lock-in
  • Orangatangs loose grip easily in tight carves on smooth surface

What is the Loaded Carver Bolsa?

The Bolsa is a stunning looking wide cruiser designed specifically for a mix of deep surf-style carving and pumping, easy sliding, and street/freestyle tricks.

Loaded Carver Bolsa specs:

Size31″ x 9.4″
Wheelbase16″ or 17″ (adjustable)
ProfileRockered with wheel flares
Deck weight3lb (1.35 kg)
Kicktail4.7″ squashed
Nose2.3″ dished concave
ConcaveMedium with wheel flares
TrucksCarver C7 or CX
Wheels70mm Orangatang 4President
Price$279 or $299 (CX or C7)

Loaded Carver Bolsa deck

loaded carver bolsa

At 31″ in length and 9.4″ in width, the Bolsa is MUCH wider than most regular cruisers (e.g. the Loaded Coyote – 8.375″), yet still narrower than Carver decks of similar length (typically 9.75″ to 10″ wide).

Compared to Carver decks, the Bolsa has a lower aspect ratio (width/length) and a lot more concave. This reflects the Bolsa’s street, park, and pool DNA in addition to its surfskate design.

The Bolsa’s construction is a solid 7-ply maple reinforced with custom cross-ply for extra stiffness – something you’ll want for extreme radical surfskate maneuvers as well as for street/park tricks.

You can bet your winky on the durability of the Bolsa, being a joint effort between these two craftsmanship titans.

Bolsa shape & concave

The Bolsa has Loaded’s signature outline and curves. As with most Loaded decks, a notable rocker combines with a nice and functional concave with uplifted rails. The pronounced wheel flares also contribute to the comfortable foot tuck-in when riding hard.

What strikes you the most when carving on the Bolsa is the comfy foot pockets the shape creates around both your rear and front foot. The back foot gets a really nice tuck in between the base of the kicktail and the wheel flares.

Your front foot cuddles in between the cupped nose and the front flares.

The kicktail is relatively short (about 4.7″ based on my own measurements) but powerfully wide and angled. Setting the rear truck (Carver’s special C2 TKP rear truck) to the shorter hole option results in a ton of leverage on the kicktail for tricks.

Here again, you can feel Loaded’s insane freestyle touch on this surfskate model. In comparison, Carver decks generally come with much tamer angle kicks.

The Bolsa’s small nose kick also gives you a nice and secure foothold in hard carves, and is an invitation to tech slides, 360s, and kick tricks.

This reminds me a bit of the Swelltech decks and their upturned nose, although the bolsa has more of a real pocket.

See the Loaded Carver Bolsa on Loaded’s site

Who is the Bolsa for?

The Bolsa is for riders who are heavily into surfskate but are also into other riding styles.

While the size and shape of the Bolsa deck were designed specifically for pairing up with the Carver truck system, it also has all the advanced Loaded freestyle & freeride tech: high angled kicks, curved wheel flares, solid foot pockets, adjustable wheelbase, etc.

These things are NOT usually found on surfskates. As a result, the Bolsa is more than just for throwing surf-style tailslides and snapbacks. This cruiser is also a very effective street slasher and skatepark ripper.

“Surf commuting” on the Bolsa is a blessing – unlike many other surfskates. The Carver truck systems, especially the CX, are a LOT more stable than others. This makes it a better pusher compared to other surfskates – although the extra ride height of Carver trucks can’t be avoided.

The Bolsa is also a fantastic candidate for distance pumping – it move fast without a single push and with minimal body motion.

Due to its unusual stability (for a surfskate), this board can even be taken down moderate hills at decent speeds without necessarily breaking your bones (still, wear pads).

Loaded Carver Bolsa setups

The Bolsa comes in 2 flavors, the C7 version and the CX version. See them both here on Loaded’s website.

Bolsa C7 surfskate

The Bolsa C7 setup revolves around the Carver C7 truck set. The C7 front truck is a spring-loaded surf truck with a wing arm mechanism. It is paired with the C2 normal albeit “elevated” TKP truck in the rear.

The C7 setup uses the larger 17″ wheelbase option to maintain good stability in the very loose and fluid surf turns the C7 allows for. The C7 truck setup is known for its flowy, classic surf feel – see “riding experience” further below.

Both the front and rear truck are mounted with riser pads that offsets them an additional 3/8″ from the deck, giving the Bolsa the clearance it needs to avoid wheelbite in extreme turns especially when running big wide wheels.

The stock setup includes Carver’s standard bushings on the C7 front truck. For the rear truck, Loaded has very wisely slapped some medium durometer Orangatang knuckle bushings on the C2 for increased stability in the back.

The Bolsa C7 ships with big 70mm Orangatang 4President wheels, fast rolling, sharp lipped wheels with a broad contact patch for good grip in extreme surf turns – though they still have a “slideable” 80A duro.

The Bolsa C7 complete is priced at $299 – not a bad deal considering the C7 truck kit alone typically retails for $178.

UPDATE: I tested the Bolsa with the hot new Orangatang 65mm Love Handle wheels. The result was simply amazing with improved pumping, agility, and better snapbacks and tailslides!

Bolsa CX surfskate

The CX truck system includes a traditional kingpin, bushings-based truck in the front with no springs or swing arm. The CX does boast a special geometry for tighter than normal turns and responsiveness.

The CX are always depicted as “snappy & responsive”, with a shortboard surfboard type feel.

This truckset allows for slashy and radical riding, shredding on park elements, very stable pushing and pumping, and easy commuting.

Like the for the C7, the Bolsa CX setup includes a normal, stable C2 TKP street truck in the rear.

Loaded has “loaded” the front CX with high-rebound, soft-ish Orangatang Knucle bushings for high response and energy. The rear C2, on the other hand, comes with medium duro bushings for maximum stability in turns.

The Bolsa CX uses the 16″ short wheelbase mounting option to keep the board super reactive and snappy in street and park situations.

The CX Bolsa complete also comes fitted with a set of 70mm 4Prez wheels, but this time in 77a duro – slightly softer than on the C7 setup to have extra grip with the snappy CX.

The complete comes in at $279 – the Carver CX kit alone normally retails at $168.

Keep reading for tips on which setup to choose (or jump here).

Loaded Carver Bolsa riding experience

In this section I’ll share how I’ve found the Bolsa to perform for each riding style.

Surf-style carving on the Bolsa

This is what the Bolsa is primarily meant for. If you’re into surf skating, you’re going to love the C7 setup. The Bolsa pairs amazingly well with Carver’s flagship truck giving you a super smooth, flowy, carvy, classic surf feel.

The C7 makes it a joy to slash driveways and parking lots for surf training. You use a full body rotation from head to shoulders to hips to feet to get the Bolsa pumping and flowing.

The foot pockets and comfy concave keep you feet gently locked in radical turns. Using full body motion, the C7 gives you super tight turns and lets you do 360s in a narrow alley.

The Bolsa C7 also allows for a truly backfoot driven riding style similar to wave riding.

Surf pumping is a breeze, including uphill from a standstill on a decent incline.

While extremely turny, the C7 is surprisingly stable for a spring swivel-arm truck – it’s one of the most stable out there, especially compared to YOW, Smoothstar, and similar extra-loose trucks. The C7 is very easy to get used to and control.

The secure foothold of the Bolsa deck combines with the stability of the C7 to make this board accessible even to newer surfskaters. The CX offers even more stability albeit with a very different feel (keep reading).

Pushing & commuting on the Bolsa

The Carver C7 front truck is quite tall so the C7 Bolsa rides relatively high off the ground.

This means a bit more effort is needed for pushing on long distances, as your kick foot needs to travel further to the ground and you need to bend your front knee more.

Also, pushing with a swivel-arm surf truck like the C7 does require a bit of getting used to as it’s looser than a regular bushing-based truck.

The Bolsa CX, on the other hand, gives you the extra stability you need for pushing and commuting. While slightly taller and higher riding than say a Paris street truck, it’s a very good surfskate truck to push and commute on.

Distance pumping on the Bolsa

To me, the CX can work just as well for distance pumping as the legendary Bennett/Tracker combo. The CX is simply an amazing truck for pumping.

The Bolsa deck, with its medium rocker, rail to rail concave, foot pockets, wheel flares, and short but angled kicktail and nose, give you the grip and leverage you need for very effective LDP motion.

While the Bolsa CX, by default, comes set with the 16″ wheelbase option, I highly recommend using the 17″ setting with the CX if you’re going to do serious distance pumping with this board.

Freeride & fast riding on the Bolsa

This is where the Bolsa stands out the most compared to other surfskates. The Bolsa deck has some true freeride blood running through its veins.

Granted, surfskate setups are generally not the most stable choice for fast riding, but with a little practice the CX can be tamed into it.

As mentioned, the Bolsa has enough concave and foot cuddling features to be taken down decent hills. The flared wheel wells and salient rails also provide solid leverage/reference points for serious carving at speed.

In this respect, the Bolsa has a lot in common with its narrower sibling the Coyote – himself a descendant of the wild kut-thaka downhiller.

The Bolsa is also easy to push sideways e.g. if you’ll swap the 4 Prez for a set of Otang Stimulus or Fat Frees. And after all, aren’t tailslides an integral part of surfing?

Freestyle on the Bolsa

This board is a true Loaded, meaning it is really trickable. The functional kicktail, prominent nose, and uplifted rails are an invitation to pops, hops, kick flips, and manuals.

The CX setup on the Bolsa gives you the snappiness of a street deck (albeit a heavier one) without giving up on the surf carving and pumping feel.

Take the Bolsa CX onto some meaty transitions or into a nice and deep pool and you’ll never be the same again. Flow blends with pop in an unseen riding stoke. You might compare this to a Carver C5 setup, only much better…

On the streets, whether you’re riding the CX or C7 version of the Bolsa, curb hops are so seamless (with the 4Prez wheels) you’ll find yourself often looking backward to see if there really was a sidewalk. Transitions are barely felt.

One thing to be aware of is, if you’re slashing the Bolsa C7 on a smooth surface, even the super grippy 4President can loose traction quite easily due to the tight turning truck and the ride height.

Bolsa C7 vs Bolsa CX: which to choose?

The Carver C7 surf truck offers a classic surf riding feel through to its spring-based swing arm in the front truck.

The C7 makes the Bolsa extremely responsive and loose in tight carves, allowing you to pull flowy cutbacks, roundhouses, even 360s.

As mentioned, the Carver C7 surf truck is not nearly as loose and unstable as other “pure surf” trucks like the YOW, Swelltech, or Smoothstar.

So even if you’re new at surfskate, you should quickly feel comfortable riding the C7 after a few hours of practice. That said, the C7 is still a true spring-loaded swing-arm surf truck and is therefore looser than the CX.

You can adjust the spring tension on the swing arm by tightening or loosening the rear-facing bolt on the baseplate based on your style, level, and weight.

The Bolsa feels a lot more stable and easier to handle. If you’ve tried the Omakase or Poke with the CX before, you’ll find a familiar feel.

Although the Carver CX is a “normal” bushing-based TKP truck, it’s known for it’s extreme snappiness – resulting from its special geometry.

This a a very pumpable and carvy truck. You get the Bolsa moving and turning incredibly easily simply by rotation your hips and using a heel-to toe shifting motion.

Note that the CX setup has less of a backfoot driven feel – you can get the Bolsa moving fine by “wiggling” whereas the C7 requires more of a full body motion.

Which of the Bolsa C7 or CX is the best choice for you depends on your goals:

Choose Bolsa C7 if you’re into:

  • Classic surf feel
  • Full-body surf motion
  • Backfoot-driven riding
  • Drawn out curves, flowy cutbacks
  • Driveway surf carving
  • Bowl/pool carving

Choose Bolsa CX if you’re into:

  • Super rad tailslides
  • Ollies, tricks, freestyle
  • Skatepark riding
  • Freeride, hills
  • “Surf-style” commuting
  • Long distance pumping
  • Front-foot driven slashing

Check out the Carver Bolsa here on Loaded’s site

Bolsa design & graphics

If you’re a surfer or ocean fanatic, you’ll probably love the artwork on the Bolsa. The deck bottom features a fantastic looking blue ocean water photo with adjacent layers of yellow, beige and purple.

The top side of the deck shows an elegant pair of blue and beige color stripes splitting up the black grip tape in two parts:

Depending on whether you have the C7 or CX version, the wheels will be orange (88a duro) or blue (77a duro). Both colors very nicely match the deck’s sweet color theme.

Loaded Bolsa vs Omakase

The Bolsa and Omakase have a very similar aspect ratio with width/length at roughly .3. The Bolsa looks like the Omakase’s little brother, only 2.5″ shorter and .6″ narrower.

Looking at the 2 boards side by side, they have very similar wheel flares, concave, and kicktail. The main difference in shape is in the nose shape, with the Bolsa featuring an upturned pointed vs a squared/blunt flat nose for the Omakase.

In terms of riding experience, however, even when equipped with the same setup (Carver CX or C7), these two siblings have a different feeling due to the significant difference in wheelbase (16-17″ vs 20.75-22″).

As a result, the Bolsa gives you faster turns and responses and more radical cutbacks in driveways, on transitions, or in bowls. Its feeling is closer to a shortboard surfboard on a small-to-medium hollow wave.

The Omakase, on the other hand, offers solid leverage and momentum for distance pumping, and is a good candidate for a classic surf feel and drawn out carves when combined with the C7.

Choose the Omakase over the Bolsa if:

  • You’re a bigger rider (e.g 6′ +)
  • You’re into long distance pumping
  • You’re into classic/longboard style surf carving (with C7)
  • You’re new to surfskate and priorize stability (with CX)

Choose the Bolsa over the Omakase if:

  • You’re a smaller rider (e.g. < 5’8 and/or < 170 lb)
  • You want to rip and slash street/park/bowl
  • You’re into rad shortboard style surfing
  • You want a cool surf cruiser for short commutes

Loaded Bolsa vs Coyote

Although only 1/4″ shorter than the Bolsa, the coyote looks A LOT smaller. The reason is in its width, 8.375″ vs 9.4″ – almost a full inch narrower!

The result is a very different riding feel and usage. The Coyote is an amazing city and sidewalk slasher, super nimble and portable.

The Bolsa is also compact and responsive but is designed for a different kind of style. Though you can fit the Coyote with a set of Carver C5 trucks (the “street” version of Carver surfskate trucks), you won’t get the same surf feel.

Likewise, the Bolsa can without a doubt be taken into the streets/skatepark/bowl, but surf-style carving and pumping is where it shines the most. Due to its width, it runs bigger trucks, and the large flares gives it more wheel clearance.

Choose the Bolsa over the Coyote if:

  • You want more width and comfort for your feet
  • You want a BIG kick tail!
  • You’re into surfskating and/or pumping
  • You like the comfort of wider trucks and bigger wheels

Choose the Coyote over the Omakase if:

  • You come from a street skating background
  • You want traditional street tricks but cruising comfort
  • You ride in very crowded and tight areas
  • You need to carry your board everywhere

Final words

“Bolsa” in Spanish means “bag”. The Loaded Carver Bolsa is a high-end bag of goodies – and bag of tricks – for anyone who’s into surf-style cruising and slashing. ’nuff said!

Paolo

Sunday 12th of September 2021

Hi, thanks for yr. super-useful reviews! I'm going to buy a loaded bolsa CX setup, as soon as it is available in Italy. I'm also very curious about the new Love Handles wheels from orangatang. In your opinion, which is the best durometer for a Bolsa CX setup? 78A blue or a little less grippy 80A? Thanks a lot

Big Kahuna

Sunday 12th of September 2021

Hey, depends on your riding style. If your focus is primarily on distance pumping and carving, get the 77a for a bit of extra grip. If you're looking to practice tailslides and rad snapbacks, get the 80a for a bit for slide. The difference is not huge but you can feel the extra grip on the 77a when riding on really smooth surface.

John

Sunday 15th of August 2021

I just read your poke review. How do you feel about it with the surf skate trucks after riding this board? I kinda like that it’s made outta bamboo… but the bolsa looks feisty

Big Kahuna

Sunday 15th of August 2021

The Poke has some flex while the Bolsa is super stiff so it's a very different feel. The Poke gives you more of a slalom style carving and distance pumping feel. The Bolsa is a true surfskate, stiff and responsive, but the carving and pumping primarily stem from the surfskate. The Bolsa is wider which gives you a lot of comfort for everyday commuting. It's also easy to pop and super nimble in tight spaces. Great for driveway slashing.

Kyle

Saturday 7th of August 2021

Right off the bat, thank you for your reviews as they helped me purchase my Loaded Icarus (which I’m thrilled with).

Now, loaded has quite the shorter board lineup. With the Bolsa CX, Coyote, Omakase, and Poke it is very easy to get lost between the vast options of shorter boards.

Here are my impressions, and please correct me if I am mistaken.

Bolsa CX: Loaded’s snappiest, turniest, and most aggressive carving board currently offered.

Coyote: Less crazy than the Bolsa, but still an extremely compact/nimble board which is ideal for sidewalk shredding/hard carving/small power slides/and some minor tricks.

Omakase: Originally designed for e-skates, this sucker is a big tank. You can put your feet wherever on the roomy deck, run some big wheels for rough roads, and take it downhill as it is stable. You sacrifice some of the agility of the bolsa/coyote, but you do get more comfort/stability/commutability

Poke: This guy is not so clearly defined anymore. Although similar in size, this one is more so a mini longboard than a cruiser board. This is more agile than Loaded’s longer boards, but less maneuverable than the Coyote/Bolsa. It offers much easier/more predictable slides and is more comfy on rough roads with that subtle flex. I’d say this is more of a multi-tool aka the ‘city longboard’ verses the city shredder.

Let me know if these interpretations are correct — if so: hopefully this helps others decide what board is right for them.

Big Kahuna

Sunday 8th of August 2021

Hey Kyle, this is spot on, I wouldn't have put it better. In fact, if you'd be OK with it, I'd love to include your comment in an upcoming comparison post on the site! Ride on, Jesse