Buyers Guide: How to choose the right Surfskate

Skating down the street on a Carver Skateboard in the sunshine.

The world of Surfskate is growing fast and with it the choice of brands, models and options available to those getting into this surf-inspired sport. Surfskates come in all shapes and sizes with different designs and features, so finding one that suits your specific ride needs is important.

This article will dive into why it's become so popular with newcomers and pros alike and what you should consider when choosing a suitable surfskate.

Surfers have been using these types of boards for decades, and now with a little bit of help, you can too!

What is a surfskate?

It's pretty much what it sounds like: A surfskate is a skateboard for surfing on the street!

Originally used by surfers to make the most of their time out of the water to hone their surf skills the magic lies in the configuration of the front truck. This evolution in skate truck technology is what allows movements that replicate the unique sensation surfing offers, but on dry land.

The surfskate trucks' geometry creates thrust and deep rail to rail carves, yielding a riding experience remarkably similar to surfing.

What is the difference between a surfskate and a skateboard?

A surfskate is a skateboard designed to carve like a surfboard. While the rear truck stays fixed like a regular skateboard the lead surfskate trucks are what makes it special.

A dude grabbing his Carver surfskate skateboard.

It pivots and dramatically changes the turning dynamics of the surfskate allowing for short and manoeuvrable turns like surfing. A surfskate can be pumped rail to rail as you ride, building speed without having to set foot on the tarmac. This feeling is unique to surfskates and this momentum creation is not possible with traditional skateboards.

You can carve around the tightest corners or effortlessly slalom around obstacles or down hills. You need only shift your weight as you cruise along. 

Is Surfskate for beginners or pros?

Surfers and skaters of all levels can enjoy it. Surfskate beginners will find it a lot easier on a longer board with a longer wheelbase. It's less lively, more comfortable and extremely stable.

You'll enjoy watching your progression in the safety of your driveway or skatepark. After the first few sessions, you'll make significant progress and be cruising in no time.

Of course, it's probably a good idea to be prepared to wear protective equipment at the start because let's face it... it's a skateboard, chancers are you'll fall off a few times until you get the hang of it.

Experienced surfers will take to it like a fish to water and enjoy dialling in your technique for surf training and practising more complex manoeuvres on the streets or bowls. You might favour a shorter wheelbase, a more responsive truck setup and some hard rounded wheels for more slides and sharper turns.

What to consider when buying a Surfskate?

The main questions you need to ask yourself are "What kind of surfskater am I?" and "What kind of skating am I going to be doing?"

Are you an out and out shredder looking to carve up the pavements with slides or getting some air? A rail to rail cruiser looking for a long chilled ride from a board that gives an effortless pump? Or maybe you're after an allrounder that offers a bit of both?

As with all surfskate boards, you'll need to choose one that's fit for purpose and right for you.

Some general guidelines

  • Shorter wheelbase = a snappier carving experience for shredding and tighter turns and slides.
  • Longer wheelbase = longer drawn out carves and generally more suitable for cruising.
  • More concave deck = holds your foot better and locks you in for more aggressive carves and shredding.
  • Less concave deck = more suited for cruising and cross-stepping.
  • Softer wheels = gripper and more stable.
  • Harder wheels = less grippy and more "slideable".
  • Sharper wheel edges = gripper and more stable.
  • Rounded wheel edges = less grippy and more "slideable".

Complete or Custom board setups

If you like to tinker with different truck and board combinations and experiment like a mad scientist to create your own "Frankenskate Monster" there are plenty of truck adapter options on the market to retrofit onto the board of your choice.

However, surfskate brands put a lot of time and expertise into matching up these combinations for you, to give you the best setup possible depending on your preference of ride. These guys know Surfskate setups far better than I do, why wouldn't I take their advice?

The reality is most people, like me, are not customisers and prefer to buy a complete setup off the shelf. So for the sake of simplicity, I'm only referencing off the shelf complete setups in this article.

What brands should I consider?

Although there are a lot of great surfskate brands in the market, I've found, there are a couple main ones that really embody the spirit and legacy of surfskate and between the two will offer beginners and experienced riders all the options you could hope for.

Boards by Carver and Hamboards are available in every shape, size and setup you could want or imagine and offer outstanding performance, quality and heritage.

Whether you're a surfer who wants to hone your surfing skills with tighter turns or a longboard cruiser looking to find your zen while noseriding, these two heavyweights of the surfskate world will have the perfect setup for you.

Carver skateboards

 

Carver skateboards have always been about surfing and capturing that joyous feeling of flow on a skateboard. The maker of original surfskate truck systems since 1996 (and still going strong), California based Carver skateboards are a pioneer in surfskate development and lead the modern movement with stylish decks and their innovative truck systems.

Carver Skateboards surfskate

A Carver skateboard offers quality, versatility and fun! With so many options to choose from you'll be hard-pressed to pick just one.

Carver trucks

Carver is renowned for high-quality surfskate trucks and offers two main industry-leading surfskate trucks, making unexpected turns easier than ever before: the Carver C7 and Carver CX.

The Carver C7 is their signature truck that started it all. Still regarded as the smoothest turning, fastest pumping surf truck ever, it's at the leading edge of true surfskate performance. The patented second axis of the Carver C7 front truck not only increases the turning radius but lets you snap the nose and pivot your turns off the tail. This dynamic creates thrust and drives you forward as you generate speed.

Its movement is now considered one of the most surf style performing and for this reason, the Carver C7 is regarded as the choice trucks by pros for surf training.

The CX truck is Carver's hybrid surf and skate truck. Its patented geometry squeezes every bit of turn and pump from its simple design. That means that you can pump this truck like a C7, but it lands airs and rides with more stability as well. This lends itself to aerial manoeuvres and ties in with the latest progression of airs in surfing.

The versatility from this original Carver design means the CX truck is quickly becoming the most popular surfskate truck in the world.

Why you choose a Carver board?

Whether you're serious about practising surfing manoeuvres, carves and pumping, want a simply chilled cruising experience for slightly longer distances, or an all-round Triton option, you can't go wrong with Carver skateboards or either of these two surfskate trucks.

Hamboards

Dubbed the Ultimate Longboard Training Device by Abraham Paskowitz from "The First Family of Surfing", when it comes to the surfskate world, Hamboards are synonymous with unique styling and that classic surf look.

Hamboards longbaord surfskate

You can't get more family-friendly than this brand. Peter Hamborg, a surfing fireman and father to five sons, wanted to teach his boys how to surf with skateboards so back in 1997 he began tinkering with decks, shapes and components.

Hamboards is now a well-respected brand with no shortage of fans, in fact elite surfer Cory Lopez attests, “Hamboards has created the best platform to learn surfing while on land.”

Hamboards trucks

Hamboards isn't just about quirky boards, they boast some serious tech as well. They brought in Don Sandusky, a former NASA engineer to create the patented HST Hamboards truck, which is making serious waves.

His game-changing design forces your hanger to rotate inside an aluminium tubular channel in perfect alignment with the pivot axis for deep carves without losing balance or speed on rebounds making it easier than ever before!

According to some this aviation-grade heat treated T6 surfskate truck provides an intuitive surfing experience not found anywhere else.

Why choose a Hamboards board?

The board sizes range from the Classic surfskate at 6 foot 6 inches, for the traditional longboard wave riding experience as it is best for cruising, nose riding and cross-stepping, to the fun-filled 24-inch Biscuit Deep Space, which delivers their most portable, slideable and pumpable board. This mini cruiser surfskate delivers extreme manoeuvrability, sharp turns and stability.

They've tested their boards for all shapes and sizes of rider and they never fail to deliver. If nothing else Hamboards’ cool styling and performance offer a guaranteed fun factor!

Which is the best surfskate for you?

Which carver surfskate skateboard to buy?

The truth is only you can decide that. Obviously, I hope you've got a better idea of what you'll need to consider before you make your mind up...

  • The type of surfskating you'll be doing
  • The quality of the board and truck system
  • The length of board and wheelbase to suit you
  • The types of wheels best suited to your style of ride
  • The style and feel of the board that appeals to you

With so many beautifully crafted decks, designs, shapes and trucks to choose from, each with their own feel and personality it's easy to see why an obsession can easily develop.

So whether you're newbies or lifelong skaters, passionate carvers or experienced cruisers, there's a board for you.

Just don't be surprised if you find yourself staring at your wall of surfskates, struggling to decide which one you'll take out for a ride today.

Check out the range of surfskate skateboards at Surfdock to find one that suits you best and get shredding.