YOW Surfskate Review: Top European-Made Surf Skateboard

YOW surfskate review

YOW Surf is a leading surfskate brand. According to the surfskate survey conducted by this site, YOW surfskates come right behind Carver in terms of popularity.

In this post, I take a close look at the YOW brand and the company behind it. I also zoom in on YOW’s line of surfskates, and I review some of the top boards in their lineup.

Here’s my top selection of YOW surfskate models which I will be reviewing (click a board name to jump straight to the review):

YOW SURFSKATE (click)SERIESPRICE (click)
YOW Pukas La Loca 31.5″Signature273€
YOW Eisback 30″The First230€
YOW Huntington Beach 30″High-Performance273€
YOW Teahupoo 34″Power Surfing273€
YOW Pukas Plan B 33.5″Signature273€
YOW Hossegor 29″Power Surfing273€
YOW Pipe 32″Power Surfing 273€

If you’re thirsty for more, here’s my complete YOW surfskate 2019 comparison guide (click to open the Google Sheets table in a new window):

Who is YOW Surf?

YOW is one of the top surfskate brands in the market. The brand and surfskate were created in Spain, in the Basque Country – the epicenter of the surf culture in Europe.

The YOW Surf surfskate trucks and decks are produced and distributed by HLC Distribution, a leading European skateboarding company that has been producing skateboard products for 15 years.

The company was originally started in 2000 in a garage by the three Iraola brothers, who created first Jart Skateboards, a high-quality skateboard brand. They then went on to create other successful brands, leading to the creation of HLC.

HLC now dominates the European skateboarding market and is a top 3 player on the international skateboarding scene. In addition to YOW Surf and Jart Skateboards, HLC owns and produces Cruzade Skateboards, Long Island Longboards, and Iron Trucks.

HLC also handles OEM manufacturing and/or distribution of a wide range of leading brands, such as Sk8mafia, Flip Skateboards, Mosaic, Habitat Skateboards. Through all these brands, HLC has worldwide presence in 65+ countries on 5 continents.

YOW surfskate manufacturing

The YOW surfskate products, like many oher skate products managed by HLC, are produced in the company’s state-of-the-art factory in the Basque Country – located between San Sebastian and the renowned waves of the Biarritz area in France.

The HLC factory is considered one of the most advanced skateboard manufacturing facilities in the world, with specially-designed CNC robots used for shaping, varnishing, and finish.

YOW surfskate HLC skateboard factory
Source: HLC Skateboard Factory
YOW surfskate HLC skateboard factory

The decks are single-pressed using a cold-press process with extensive quality control to guarantee consistent quality across all units.

The decks are built from eco-friendly wood from sustainable harvesting sources. HLC also recycles 100% of their production waste.

YOW surfskate truck system review

YOW’s surfskate truck adapter is 100% designed and manufactured in the HLC factory. The patented system is the result of years of engineering and creates a riding experience close to surfing when riding a YOW surfskate.

The YOW surfskate adapter is a turning mechanism that uses an internal torsion spring to create very tight turns in a skateboard’s front truck. The truck pivots around a shaft and the spring pulls it back to the center.

yow surf skate truck

As a result, the YOW adapter allows you to easily pump on flat or uphill, and make fluid turns and maneuvers with a surf-like feel, including in a bowl.

The YOW surfskate adapter comes in two versions, named S4 and S5. The difference is that the S4 uses a 4mm spring vs a 5mm spring for the S5. Thus, the S4 offers lower resistance when the truck is turned to the side, resulting in sharper and quicker carves and snapbacks.

While the S4 is best for lighter riders or riders with a fluid, low-pressure riding style, the S5 has more turning resistance/stiffness and is a better match for high-pressure moves and for bigger, more powerful riders – who might otherwise end up snapping the S4 over time.

You can get the YOW Surf adapter S5 standalone for mounting on any longboard or cruiser. See it here on Blue Tomato

YOW Surf riding experience

The YOW truck system and the board shapes and features combine to create a very loose turning surfskate setup, among the loosest on the market.

The YOW is primarily designed for surf training and emulation. As such, it’s often compared to Smoothstar in terms of looseness, and to a lesser degree with Swelltech – whose truck spans 180º.

It’s important to keep in mind the YOW surfskate system was created with surfing in mind – this is confirmed by the names and looks of the YOW deck lineup (see next section).

Yow vs Carver

Based on the results of our surfskate survey, YOW surfskates are considered much closer to a surfing feel compared to the Carver CX. While the CX is deemed more versatile and better for cruising, the YOW is preferred for surfing bowls and doing radical surf-style maneuvers.

Compared to the Carver C7, the YOW surfskate adapter is also looser and surfier with much tighter turns. You use your hips more on a YOW surfskate compared to a Carver due to the greater amount of turn, and you drive your turns more from your back foot like on a surfboard.

Here again, this also makes the YOW harder to push and commute on – but that’s not what the YOW was designed for.

Note that the YOW has a built-in lock option that blocks the turning mechanism, turning your surfskate into a regular skateboard for pushing and cruising (albeit with greater ride height).

Yow vs Smoothstar

YOW and Smoothstar have a very comparable riding feel as both surfskates being designed for surf training. They are both loose, highly responsive and maneuverable, but have less stability compared to other surfskate systems. Both allow for a radical surfing feel.

YOW vs Slide

YOW and Slide both have their roots in the Spanish Basque Country. YOW has a looser and more radical feel than Slide, but Slide is more stable and easier to push (similar to Carver).

Thus, YOW is a better choice for pure surf training, while Slide is great for easy pumping and carving and short-distance commuting.

Both YOW and Slide are suitable for bowl riding, each with its own style. Style rides lower and allows for skateboard-style tricks, while YOW is more surf-oriented. Read more about Slide surfskates here.

The YOW surfskate lineup

YOW’s complete surfskates are unique due to their stunning surf-inspired shapes and designs. Each YOW surfskate bears the name of a world-renowned surf spot.

Click the image below to open the complete YOW surfskate 2019 comparison table (new window):

YOW Surfskate comparison guide 2019
YOW Surfskate comparison guide 2019

The YOW surfskate lineup is composed of 6 collections, each with its own design characteristics and riding goals. Many models in the YOW lineup are inspired by legendary surfboard shapes or pro surfers.

Signature series

This series results from collabs with famous shapers and riders in the surfing community, which influence the shapes, designs, and graphics of the surfskates.

Collabs include international pro surfer (from the Basque Country) Aritz Aranburu, legendary surfboard shaper Pukas, and pro surfers Ibon Amatriain and Clay Mazo.

High-Performance series

These YOW surfskates emulate performance surfboard shapes and are designed for more advanced surfers looking to hone their surfing skills on land. The models in this series bear the names of iconic performance surf spots of Australia, Indonesia, and California.

Power Surfing series

The YOW surfskates in this series are shaped after special surfboards used for riding some of the most challenging and powerful waves in the world, such as Pipeline (Hawaii), Mundaka (Basque Country), and Teahupoo (Tahiti).

Dream Waves series

The surfskates in this collection are shaped and visually designed after surfboards used to ride some of the longest and most perfect waves including Raglan (New Zealand) and J-Bay (S. Africa).

Classic series

The six YOW surfskates in the Classic series offer retro shapes and graphics. They are references to the history of surfing, including classic longboard. malibu, and pintail shapes.

These surfskates enable a classic style of riding closer to longboard surfing (boardwalking, cross-stepping).

The First Series

A collection of four affordably-priced entry-level YOW surfskates. Plain deck shapes and designs, smaller trucks. These boards are designed for newbies looking to get a taste of surfskate without breaking the bank.

Next, let’s jump into some of the top surfskates in these collections.

YOW Pukas La Loca 31.5″ surfskate review

This YOW surfskate is the result of a collaboration with iconic surf shaper Pukas. The “La Loca” high-performance surfboard shape with its wider outline is one of shaper and designer Alex Lorentz’s most successful surf creations.

The YOW Pukas La Loca reproduces the surfboard shape in a 31.5″ long and 9.5″ wide deck with a squash tail and pointed nose. The deck and kicktail provide plenty of room for comfortable foot placement when performing radical surf turns.

The shortish 17″ wheelbase, the tail rocker, and the medium concave all contribute to the board’s overall “slashability”.

This surfskate ships with the YOW S4 adapter suitable for quick snapbacks. It’s fitted with 8.5″ YOW trucks, narrow enough for the wider deck to cover the wheels and avoid foot rub during radical maneuvers.

The YOW La Loca comes stock with larger and softer wheels (66mm, 78A) for higher speed, comfort on uneven terrain, and good grip for performing those tight turns and cutbacks.

Overall, for surfers, it’s hard to resist this signature Pukas shortboard design which most wave riders have learned to know and love.

Check out the YOW Pukas La Loca 31.5″ surfskate on Blue Tomato

YOW Eisback 30″ surfskate review

yow eisback surfskate

The YOW Eisback is named after the world-famous summer wave spot in Munich’s Eisback river in Germany.

Part of The First collection, at 30″ in length, this affordable surfskate (230€) is the shortest in the series, designed for kids getting started with surf skateboarding.

The Eisback is quite wide (9.85″) for its length, making it comfortable for newbies to practice surf pumping and tight turns. The relatively short wheelbase makes the Eisback a snappy and fast-turning board for smaller riders.

The S4 truck system, the shorter 6″ YOW trucks, and the smaller and harder wheels (60mm, 84A duro) that ship with the Eisback also contribute to creating a highly reactive and surfy surfskate for young riders learning surf-style maneuvers.

Check out the YOW Eisback 30″ surfskate on Blue Tomato (230€)

YOW Huntington Beach 30″ surfskate review

The YOW Huntington Beach surfskate is a shorter and “fatter” board (30″ x 9.5″) boasting a high-performance fish shortboard shape. The deck is wider in the front part and near the nose, allowing for very tight turns by placing the foot further forward (e.g. compared to the La Loca).

The Huntington Beach has a short surfboard feel and is a great board for city surfing on tight driveways and sidewalks. It’s nimble, compact, and portable for everyday riding.

With its cork top layer, it’s also a nice board for barefoot riding before and after a surf session if you live near the beach.

The YOW Huntington comes with the S4 system and the 9″ YOW trucks with 92A cone/barrel bushings. The wheels on this surfskate are smaller and harder at 60mm/82A for easy slides, shortboard-style snaps, and bowl tricks.

Overall a very rad board for rad and slashy shortboard surfers.

Check out the YOW Huntington Beach 30″ surfskate on Blue Tomato

YOW Teahupoo 34″ surfskate review

The YOW Teahupoo is part of the Power Surfing series and is named after the amazingly powerful wave in Tahiti. This is the biggest deck in the series with a comfortable 34″ length and 10″ width.

The Teahupoo is a good board for beginner surf skaters because the long 19″ wheelbase gives it a lot of stability. The S5 system also makes it a very stable and reliable board for learning surf turns and surf pumping.

The YOW Teahupoo has a nice rounded outline that offers lots of foot space for comfortable turns. The ocean and Polynesia-inspired artwork on the deck top and bottom is truly beautiful.

The Teahupoo surfskate complete comes with the 9″ YOW trucks, and 60mm wheels with a medium durometer (84A) providing a good balance of speed and grip while still allowing for some sliding.

Check out the YOW Teahupoo 34″ surfskate on Blue Tomato

YOW Pukas Plan B 33.5″ surfskate review

The YOW Plan B is another collab with the Pukas shapers, resulting in a performance twin shape in between a twin-fin and a thruster surfboard shape. This shape has tapered nose and tail, with a “rocket” tail shape (rounded with little wings).

This is another larger board, 1/2″ shorter than the Teahupoo but just as wide (10″) and with the same 19″ wheelbase.

The shape is very different, however, and more advanced with less foot space toward both ends. This makes the YOW Pukas Plan B highly reactive and sharp turning, allowing for fast rides and technical turns for more advanced skate surfers.

The Plan B comes fitted with the S5 – which doesn’t affect the board’s snappiness, 9″ YOW trucks, and larger 66mm wheels with 80A durometer for adequate grip on this larger boards in tight turns.

Check out the YOW Pukas Plan B 33.5″ surfskate on Blue Tomato

YOW Hossegor 29″ surfskate review

At 29″ x 9.5″, the YOW Hossegor is the shortest and fattest surfskate in the lineup. Its attractive, super-rounded outline, rounded nose, and rounded square tail make you feel like jumping right on it and riding away.

The board’s aspect ratio and its 17″ wheelbase, relatively long given the deck length, make it an easy surfer and a very responsive board, particularly for smaller riders (or agile bigger ones).

The YOW Hossegor has a nice kicktail which allows for easy curb-hopping, and a medium (performance) concave that keeps your feet nicely in place when slashing.

This is a compact and portable board perfect for carrying around everywhere.

The Hossegor YOW surfskate ships with the S4 system (for quick snappy turns), standard 9″ YOW trucks, and smaller 60mm/84A wheels for easy snapbacks and tail slides.

Check out the YOW Hossegor 29″ surfskate on Blue Tomato

YOW Pipe 32″ surfskate review

The YOW Pipe is another beautiful fish surfboard shape with a swallow tail. The artwork is inspired by the legendary Lightning Bolt surfboard design from the 1970s.

The Pipe deck is 32″ long and 10″ wide, with a relatively long 18.5″ wheelbase. It features a kicktail with tail rocker, and a medium concave for decent foot tucking.

The longer wheelbase combined with the S5 YOW system makes the Pipe surfskate a stable option for newer riders or those looking to push or carve on longer distances on in larger bowls.

The YOW pipe ships with regular 9″ YOW trucks. It’s fitted with larger and softer 66mm/78A wheels. The higher diameter makes for higher speed, and the low durometer gives the board good shock absorption and traction, making the Pipe suitable for longer rides over rough ground.

Check out the YOW Pipe 32″ surfskate on Blue Tomato

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Photo credits:
Featured image: source YOW Surf, Ander Cochran clip by @toms_wurld
Product shots courtesy of YOW Surf

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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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