Surf Skate Advice

YOW and the other surfskates: the definitive guide

The surfskate world is growing really fast, attracting more and more fans. The inevitable result is that the market until recently dominated exclusively by Carver is increasingly rich in proposals from different brands that offer an incredible variety of models, including a beginner often struggling to find their way around.

If you are not a skater it is easy to feel confused and choose a skate just because the graphics attract you. So here is a small guide in which we have put together everything that is important to know before buying a surfskate … to avoid making a mistake in your purchase and finding yourself too technical under your feet if you are a beginner or too distant from your style surfing or, worse, the wrong size.

1. What is a Surfskate?

A Surfskate is a skateboard born to surf the street so basically is a surf skateboard! It’s like owning a surfboard skateboard all in one! Yes ok, the link between surf and skate has always been very close but here we are talking about a special front track that allows the board to move on the wheels in a very similar way to how a surfboard moves in the water. Surfskate tracks allow very tight turns and typical surfing maneuvers. 

A surfskate can be pumped along the way, i.e. it is possible to increase speed without having to set foot on the ground. No descents needed: with a surfskate you can go on the plains and even on light climbs. This is not possible with traditional longboards. In addition, a surfskate can easily turn even in the tightest corners or slalom around obstacles on your path. Just shift your weight a little. 

Surfskate trucks mount the truck on a rotating arm, which adds an extra axis of rotation. This allows it to move on an additional plane compared to typical skateboard and longboard trucks.

2. Why is surfskate a good surf workout?

If you surf, you know that during a surf session most of the time you spend rowing or waiting for the wave. In a good session, 70% of the time rowing and only 30% stand on the board. A wave in general allows you to remain standing for a few seconds before running out … surely surfers travel the world in search of long and perfect waves! When you catch a wave everything is very fast and often the problem is that you cannot try the movements enough to turn them into automatisms.

The surfskate allows you to try all the top turns and bottom turns you want, allows you to pump to increase the speed just like you would to pass the wave session, and allows you to do it as long as you want. 

All those who try it recognize the benefits, whether they are beginners who need to improve their balance, or they are experts who would like to be more radical.

3. Is surfskate only for surfers?

Absolutely not. As already mentioned, many surfers use it regularly to improve their surf, but many skaters also choose it to have fun trying a different specialty, even if they have no intention of going surfing. The beauty is that unlike surfing, where learning is often a slow and difficult path, with surfskate it is possible to enjoy yourself right away because the movements are more intuitive and easier to learn. 

If you can’t wait for the next surf trip, if you want to improve your surfing skills or if you are looking for a super fun cruiser, a skate is the right choice for you!

The beauty is that surfing is hard to learn, but you can enjoy surfskating quickly because the movements are more intuitive and easier to learn. 

Whether you’re looking to improve your surfing skills or simply enjoy the feel of surfing on land, surfskating is for you!

4. What is the difference between Surfskates and Longboards?

The surfskate has a different front track which allows a very different ride compared to traditional longboards! The movements on surfskates are very similar to surfing and therefore differ from both longboard and skateboard.

The basic movement of the surfskate, pumping, is very different, more tiring and complicated with other types of skate. In addition, the tracks of the surfskates turn much narrower and are more agile.

On the other hand, a surfskate is not made for the jumps and stunts that can normally be done with a skate. This is because surfskates are much heavier and because they are not designed for repeated violent landings. Also, landing on a board that swings under your weight is not that easy.

Another thing that surfskates are not suitable for is speed. If your idea is to go down roads, travel long distances, do speed races, then a longboard is better.

If you come from a skateboarding or longboarding background, when you first step on a surfskate your instinct is to ride it like a conventional skateboard. Your upper body is rigid and your feet start to wobble.

This doesn’t work on a surfskate. On a surfskate, you must be loose and comfortable on the board. From here, you move your body in the same as you would surfing.

Surfskates are designed to flow and turn just like a surfboard. Float down the concrete as you would a wave, leading with your shoulders and following with your hips

Surfskating requires completely different body movements. Surfskating is all in the shoulders and hips. Your feet stay relatively stable, while you control the board with your upper body.

​Also, on a surfskate, depending on the terrain, you never have to take your foot off the board to push on the ground. You can generate and maintain speed by pumping the nose side to side. With the right terrain, on a surfskate you can ride as long as you can last without ever pushing.

5. Are all Surfskates the same?

Obviously not, but you already know this. The problem is precisely to understand what the differences can be between one brand and another and even between one model and another. To guide you and explain the differences, we decided to compare Carver with the other more common Surfskate models. Not because Carver is the best, but simply because he is the best known and therefore it is logical to make comparisons with his models.

6. How to choose the size of surfskate?

The length of a surfskate is mainly chosen based on your height and weight. It also affects the style we have, our level and what we want to do.

In principle the rule is: low and light rider, shorter board; tall and heavy rider, longer board.

Height rider  Weight rider  Surfskate length
 Children and young people up to 155cm  25kg – 55kg  up to 30 “
 150cm – 170cm  40kg – 75kg  27 – 31 “
 160cm – 181cm  50kg – 85kg  30 – 32 “
 165cm – 187cm  60kg – 90kg  31 “- 33”
 175cm – 193cm  70kg – 100kg  32 “- 35”
 182cm – 203cm  85kg – 120kg  34 “- 39”

The table obviously has exceptions, given that even if you are very tall but you are looking for a city Mini Cruiser Surfskate you could choose a 30 “board. On the contrary, a light rider who loves wide curves and wants to cover long distances should consider a longer board, in short, it’s a bit like choosing a longboard or a surfboard: it’s not necessarily a question of level, but of style.

7. What about the surfskate pass?

The length of the board should also be chosen based on your step, and should allow you to comfortably hold the front foot just behind the front track, while the rear foot should be above the rear track.

The pace directly affects the turning radius and the behavior of your surfskate. Short board and short wheelbase mean narrower curves. Long table and step along wider curves.

8. Which surfskates do pro surfers use?

A look at the dimensions and models of surf professionals can help you choose yours:

Courtney Conloque : 173cm 63kg, Deck length: 29.5 “- Carver Conlogue Sea Tiger Cx
Taylor Knox : 178 cm 77 kg, Deck length: 31.5″ – Carver Taylor Knox Cx
Aritz Aranburu: 172cm 71kg, Deck length: 32.5 – YOW Surf Aritz Aranburu
Ibon Amatriain:  167cm 67kg Board length: 33 – YOW Surf Ibon Amatriain

9. Choose the surf skate based on your level and style

Surfskate beginner

If you have no experience with longboards, skateboards or surfskates, you don’t have to worry. It is possible to start and have fun even from scratch and at any age. 

With a little practice you will learn how to pump and sculpt your curves with a surfskate fast enough. After the first few sessions, you will make significant progress and learn quickly, don’t worry !.

As a beginner you feel more comfortable on a stable board. Therefore, we recommend a longer and wider board with a larger wheelbase. It is very important to wear a helmet, hand protection and knee pads.

For beginners, it’s generally better to start with a bigger board. Smaller surfskates allow for short, tight swings similar to surfing shortboards. Longer surfskates feel more like longboards while surfing.

Is Surf skate also for children?

Skate in general is undoubtedly a nice fun toy for any child or boy and the surfskate is no different, on the contrary. The advantage of a surfskate over a traditional skate is first and foremost the measure. A larger skate offers more stability to children and young people who approach it the first time. Learning pumping does not require descents or ramps: just a square to have fun. 
Of course the surfskate is also an exceptional surf training for them: the children learn the takeoff with a disarming speed on a surfskate, and of course they improve the position, the technique and the balance.
But above all it’s fun … ask our guy who has now appropriated my YOW Pipe which he calls ” Flash skateboarding “”and that has become the most desired object in the after-school playground for all the kids!

10. How do they work?

What makes surfskates different than skateboards or longboards is their special moving front truck.

Skateboard and longboard truck trucks only turn along their kingpin axis.

Surfskate trucks mount the truck on a rotating arm, which adds an extra axis of rotation. This allows it to move on an additional plane compared to typical skateboard and longboard trucks.

​There are many types of surf skate trucks, but they all follow the same principle: They add a rotating arm that allows a normal truck to turn on an extra vertical axis, parallel to the deck.

Pivoting surf skate trucks make the nose of the board shift from left to right, with dramatic transitions from rail to rail, as the rider shifts weight. The rear truck acts as a pivot point that the board rotates around, and the amplified movement of the nose allows the board to turn much more tightly and dramatically.