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Skateboard Surf Adapter: Turn Your Board Into A Surfskate

Skateboard Surf Adapter: Turn Your Board Into A Surfskate

If you’re an ocean surfer – or would like to become one, a skateboard surf adapter can make your existing skateboard, longboard, or cruiser ride a lot like a surfboard on a wave.

It’s an add-on device that converts a regular skateboard or longboard into a surfskate. Surf skating is a skateboarding style that involves surf-style carving and surf-like maneuvers on land.

Skateboard adapters like Waterborne Surf Adapter and the Yow System let you get into the world of surf skating by re-using your favorite skateboard/longboard deck and trucks, turning them into a tight-carving surf skate without having to invest in a whole new truck system – as is the case with traditional surf skate trucks like Carver or Swelltech.

In this post, we take a closeup look at two leading skateboard surf systems in the market:

  1. Waterborne Surf Adapter
  2. YOW System

Note: take the instant surfskate survey and find out which surfskates riders choose and why:

*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.

Waterborne Skateboard Surf Adapter

The Waterborne Surf Adapter (Amazon) is a turning mechanism that fits in between your deck and truck to make your skateboard or longboard ride a lot like a surfboard. It makes your board 3 to 4 times sharper turning, yet without losing the specific characteristics and riding feel of your original setup. It’s a much cheaper option than a surf skate complete or even a set of surf trucks (e.g. Carver).

The Waterborne surf adapter dramatically decreases your skateboard’s turning radius and allows you to pump the board on a flat surface. It will make your existing setup a lot more pumpable, carvy, and slidable, allowing you to perform surf-style slides and cutbacks with much more control.

Check out the Waterborne Surf and Rail Adapter on Amazon. Or, get 10% off directly on the Waterborne website using the discount code RIDINGBOARDS.

Waterborne skateboard Surf Adapter usage

waterborne skateboard surf adapter

You mount the Waterborne adapter on your front truck to turn your skateboard/longboard into a surf skate. The extra tight carving behavior you get from the adapter lets you ride your skateboard like a surfboard on land and perform surf-style turns and maneuvers.

In addition to the skateboard surf adapter on the front truck, you can get the Waterborne Rail Adapter for your rear truck (sells separately) to make your skateboard, longboard or cruiser even carvier and surfier. The Rail Adapter adds extra lean to your rear truck, which helps keep all 4 wheels on the ground during tight carves. The rear truck hence leans as much as the front, making the back of your skateboard behave more like a surfboard’s tail with the fins. Rail-to-rail transitions also smoother like when surfing a wave.

Besides turning your regular skateboard or longboard into a land surfboard, using the Surf and Rail Adapters together also gives you more stability at speed as the added lean on the rear trucks results in less turning and more grip, resulting in less speed wobbles when riding fast.

Dampening your skateboard ride

The skateboard Surf and Rail adapters also give you added suspension and a dampened ride on any kind of terrain thanks to the rubber bushings they use. Both adapters use soft traditional urethane bushings at their core, instead of metal springs like other surf trucks, for bringing back the turning arm toward the center.

A bushings-based skateboard surf adapter offers the following advantages:

  • More resistant and durable (no breaking or corroding of the spring)
  • Better cushioning and dampening on uneven terrain (ocean surf feel)
  • Harder leans and deeper carves than with a spring

Suspension is also reinforced by the elasticity of the aluminum alloy used in both front and rear skateboard surf Adapters.

See customer reviews for the Waterborne Surf Adapter on Amazon

Types of setups you can fit the Waterborne skateboard surf adapter on

The Waterborne Surf Adapter works pretty much with any skateboard, longboard, or cruiser. However, the surf-like type of carving the Adapter enables best works with grippy wheels (softer wheels with enough contact patch) and looser trucks – riders often loosen their trucks after installing the Surf Adapter.

The Surf and Rail Adapters use the new school mount hole pattern and hence can be fitted on decks with either old or new school patterns.

Using the Waterborne with a RKP truck will give you better pumping at high speed with lots of lean – much more than other surfskates. With a TKP truck, the feeling is closer to other surfskates. In general though, the Waterborne Surf Adapter will make any truck geometry pump much better.

Waterborne skateboard surf adapter durability

The Surf Adapter is a robust mechanical part, tested to support very radical surf skate moves. Hard snapbacks and surf slides put a lot of pressure on the skateboard surf adapter, particularly with a heavier rider. Waterborne’s adapter can withstand up to 1500 lbs of pressure, with is way above normal range.

Riders generally agree the skateboard surf adapter feels very sturdy and lasts a long time. On the flip side, it’s quite heavy and adds weight to the front truck, which initially requires some getting used to in turns.

As mentioned, while the springs of most spring-powered surf skate truck systems eventually snap and need replacement, the bushings-based Waterborne adapter has great durability.

How to install the Waterborne skateboard surf adapter

Installing the Waterborne skateboard surf adapter is straightforward. You’ll need 4 hex head bolts and nuts, 4 short Phillips bolts and nuts, and a block riser – all these come with the surf adapter.

  1. Unbolt your front truck from the deck
  2. Bolt the surf adapter onto your front truck using the hex bolts
  3. Bolt the surf adapter (now paired to the front truck) to the deck using the short Phillips screws.
  4. Tighten the bolts as well as the larger screw holding the turning arm in the front.
  5. Remove your rear truck and mount it back with the riser between the truck and deck
  6. Adjust the tightness of your front truck as desired.

If you also have the Waterborne Rail Adapter for your rear truck:

  1. Unbolt your rear truck off the deck
  2. Bolt the Rail Adapter onto your rear truck
  3. Screw the Rail Adapter onto your deck using the longer bolts

Note than mounting the Waterborne skateboard surf adapter onto a drop-through longboard will effectively make it topmount:

Waterborne skateboard Surf Adapter vs Carver and Swelltech systems

Here’s a summary of riders feedback when comparing the Waterborne adapter to Carver CX or C7 trucks or to Swelltech’s truck:

  • Waterborne’s skateboard surf adapter allows for deeper turns than the Carver C7 – and thus the CX, less surfy than the C7
  • The Waterborne adapter is much more stable at speed than Swelltech’s 360º spinning truck (that powers Swelltech’s surfskate completes like the Jamie O’Brien), and thus better-suited for skateboard transportation.
  • Although more stable at speed, some riders find the Waterborne looser than the Swelltech, which is great if your goal is surf training.
  • Although not meant for really high speed, the Waterborne skateboard surf adapter is more stable at speed than other surf skates if combined with the Rail Adapter
  • The Waterborne lets you keep the feel of your existing skateboard or longboard setup, while other surf skate systems completely change it – since you need to replace the trucks and/or deck

Check out the price and reviews for the Waterborne Surf and Rail Adapter on Amazon or get 15% off on their website using the discount code RIDINGBOARDS.

To recap, the Waterborne surf adapter is a capable mechanical piece that effectively turns any skateboard or longboard into a sharp-turning surf skate.

YOW System surfskate truck adapter

The Yow Truck System (Amazon) is another skateboard surf adapter that turns your regular skateboard or longboard into a tight carving, pumpable, and slideable machine for radical surf-style riding on land. YOW stands for “Your Own Wave”!

Yow is growing in popularity in Europe. The truck system is 100% designed and built in the Spanish Basque Country by HLC and manufactured in Europe’s largest skateboard factory. After years of development, Yow’s engineers have created their unique patented surf skate system, which allows you to really get a surfing feeling when skating.

YOW System

yow surf skate truck

Unlike Waterborne, the YOW surfskate system uses the torsion of an internal spring to make your skateboard/longboard turn very tight. Similar to Waterborne, with a Yow-enhanced setup you get the ability to make very fluid surf-like turns and to easily propel yourself through pumping on flat ground or even uphill.

The YOW surf system comes in two different versions, the S4 and the S5. The S4 is powered by a 4mm spring which offers relatively light resistance when pulling the mechanism back to the center in turns. As a result, it’s best-suited for performing very sharp and quick surf carves and surf-style cutbacks. It’s also a good option for lighter skaters who generate less pressure on the adapter in tight turns.

The S5 version of the Yow surfskate system uses a bigger and heavier 5mm spring in its core, with more resistance in sharp turns. It’s ideal for heavier riders or skaters who with more radical riding styles and power moves that call for more resistance.

Comparing Yow vs Waterborne

Yow skateboard surf adapter

How do the Yow system skateboard adpater and Waterborne surf adapter compare? The main difference between them is that Waterborne uses a urethane bushing while Yow has a mechanical spring. As a result, the two adapters have a very different riding feel.

Many riders feel the Waterborne has a quite fluid and natural feel close to ocean surfing. Also, riding in a straight line for transportation on the Waterborne is easier than on the Yow, which is relatively unstable and hard to push on over any distance. However, the Yow has a locking pin that lets you instantly turn your board back into a regular cruiser skateboard or longboard – with its associated stability.

By activating the lock pin, you also make the Yow adapter better-suited for higher speed by eliminating the instability associated with the looseness. As mentioned earlier, the Waterborne’s is also relatively stable at higher speed when fitted with the complementary Rail Adapter in the back.

The Yow surf skate adapter’s very loose steering and shortboard-like mobility is often compared to the Smoothstar surf skate system, which has the same geometry. Like the Waterborne, the Yow is generally considered closer to radical surfing than the Carver C7. The Yow is a good fit for performance shortboard simulation and cross-training. It also works well for radical surf-style skatepark and bow riding.

The YOW surfskate system is available on Amazon: Yow S5 or Yow S4

Final thoughts

Both the Waterborne Surf Adapter and Yow System are great products that let you turn your regular skateboard, longboard or cruiser into an agile and tight-carving surf skateboard without having to replace your favorite deck or trucks.

The two adapters use different systems (bushing-based vs spring-based) and hence provide very different land surfing experiences. Which one you prefer depends on your personal preference and your mix of surf training, surf-style pumping, commuting, downhill, and park & pool riding.

Suttawan Saipia

Saturday 5th of June 2021

Can we put the yow truck on the carver board ?


Wednesday 26th of May 2021

This was a fantastic article and has convinced me to buy the waterborne!

Except I wanna get it from their website rather than Amazon ($20 cheaper for the combo package)

Also wanna make sure you get some credit in the process - is there a code or something I should use?

Appreciate all the wisdom!

Big Kahuna

Thursday 27th of May 2021

Hey Alex, thanks for the thought, I greatly appreciate it. No worries though, if Waterborne has a better deal, definitely get it direct, there's no special deal with them except that Patrick is a great guy! Ride on, Jesse


Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Hi I’ve just ordered a waterborne adapter to go on my 38” G&S pintail. Firstly will the Randal trucks be ok and secondly how much taller will my board be?

Thanks Chi


Sunday 7th of March 2021

Hi Chi, I am part of the very first generation of skateboarders in France, I’ll be soon 59 years old and I still ride as often as I can, but much cooler ! You seem to be the proud owner of a Gordon & Smith 38 '' pintail longboard, is it the legendary Fibreflex model ? I am looking for a reissue of this board but none are now available in Europe (sold out). Do you know any skate-shop or website in the US (or elsewhere on earth) from which I could order this board? I am also looking for a G&S Fibreflex Henry Hester reissue model (my oldschool rider side!). Both boards to set up for skate-surfing. Please help me !!!! Thank you so much Fred


Tuesday 10th of November 2020

Hello Jess!

I want to get a board that feels as close as possible to a Swelltech (say the JOB 2020). What type of board is best combined with the adapter? I'm thinking a cruiser a slightly loose truck would be nice.

Big Kahuna

Wednesday 11th of November 2020

It's hard to replicate the riding feel of the Swelltech as its truck system is very special. The Waterborne will likely have a different feel, depending also on the truck you pair it with. One thing you can do is get a deck with a similar length and wheelbase to the Swelltech as this also plays an important role. As to which regular truck to use with the Waterborne, you can try Paris V3 180mm (if your deck is similar in size to the Swelltech) with a relatively thick riser pad for the back. But ultimately you'll have to experiment different things.


Monday 12th of October 2020

This seems so fun, Jesse! I'm torn between getting the Loaded Poke surf setup and just buying the Waterborne adapter for my Dervish Sama. Would there be any noticeable improvement or advantage in getting the Poke? I'd save a ton of money by just getting the adapter for the Sama, but I know they're very different sizes. This would be purely for surfskating. Thanks, man!

David H

Thursday 12th of August 2021

You know, I put the Waterbourne Surf Adapter and Rail Adapter on a 2013 Landyachtz Switchblade. That's a double drop 40 inch board. I had already top mounted the trucks for maneuverability, and so with the Waterbourne adapters it rides pretty high, which I have not minded. i was already used to some height from having used some wedges before getting the adapter.

I like the new feel of the board with the adapters, very turny and carvey, and I feel like I am learning to pump with the setup. I have yet to get enough experience to try really sharp turns That being said, I'm not sure how much realistic sharp surfing moves could ever be done on a drop board. So many surfskate and pump tutorials show the rear foot over or even slightly behind the rear wheels. That just can't happen on a drop board. I am riding with my rear foot turned forward slightly and my rear foot heel a bit over the the rear drop hump. that helps with the mechanics and feel of the pumping and carving I do, but my foot is still in front of the rear axle.

My guess would be that if you are looking to learn or practice a lot of surf cuts and turns, then a drop board is not likely to allow you the ability to shift your weight off the nose and onto the tail to mimic riding a surf board. However, if anyone is looking for an inexpensive way to get tighter turns and lots of flowing carvey feel and some pumping action on a drop board, the answer is "yes, you can do that with the Waterbourne adapters."

Big Kahuna

Tuesday 13th of October 2020

Not sure how the Waterborne would work with the Sama, never tried fitting a surf adapter on such a huge (drop-through) board. I'd love to know how that works out though!