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AUGUST 2021


Surfskate Buyers Guide

HAMBURG

To help you make the best decision on what surfskate to buy we created a short & sweet buyers guide. It is based on our own experience and on what we hear and see in our local surf and surfskate communities.

With a short introduction to the different surfskate trucks we answer the most frequently asked questions like which surfskate is the best for beginners, bowls or the most surfing sensation.

Images and Text by Maximilian Gerdau

YOW Surfskate Amatriain

QUICK-LINKS

Decks

Size, Wheelbase & Shape

IDEAL WHEELBASE

A deck with the wrong size and wheelbase feels like a bike with a sattle that is too low or high – something is not quite right. As a rule of thumb you can calculate your ideal wheelbase by taking a stance like you would on a surfboard: just spread your feet a little wider than your shoulders. The inside distance between your feet is your ideal wheelbase. Transferred to a surfskate the wheelbase is the distance between the inside holes of the front and back truck.

RIDING CHARACTERISTICS

Why is the wheelbase so important? A shorter wheelbase results into a board which is more sensitive to your movements, allowing more radical maneuvers and higher acceleration while pumping. A longer wheelbase will lead to more stabilty, resulting into a longboard type of maneuverability. However while a long wheelbase might be desirable (if you want that longboard type of ride), a too short wheelbase will result into a very stiff, restricted and unstable ride.

SHAPE

The shape of your deck also has an impact on what riding characteristics your  board will have. A wide nose will give the front truck more leverage: that is why the same system might feel a lot more loose on a board with a wide nose compared to a board with a pointy nose. A wider board and deep concave will also offer a more stable stance in tight turns. A kicktail will allow to lift the board of the ground.

Trucks

Surfskate Truck Yow Meraki

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

3-stars

INFO

Meraki was released in 2021 as YOW’s new all-in-one system. The redesign features 15% less weight and narrower hangers that sit closer to the system’s king pin — the results are an even better flow, stability and maneuverability compared to the classic V.4 adapter. Like the old system Meraki is a great all-rounder. It can be used as a progressive surf trainer, for riding bowls or cruising around town.

PROS & CONS

Other systems might offer an even higher maneuverability, Meraki still is the perfect system to get started with, especially when you have experience in the water and want to improve your capabilities.

Surfskate yow system S5 S4

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

3-stars

INFO

The classic YOW adapter is currently the most widely used system we see around – the reason being that this truck is a great all-rounder. Like Meraki it can be used as a progressive surf trainer, for riding bowls or cruising around town. The system design allows you to install almost any kind of skateboarding truck on it, meaning that you can convert your regular cruiser into a surfing device.

PROS & CONS

Other systems might offer an even higher maneuverability, the V.4 still is the perfect system to get started with, especially when you have experience in the water and want to improve your capabilities.

Surfskate Swelltech trucks

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

1-star

INFO

The Swelltech system is the only truck on the market allowing the axle to rotate by 360° degrees and with a second set of feathers to pivot by 60°. It can therefore be described as a highly loose and sensitive system which brings a true surfing sensation to the streets. If you already are an advanced surfer and want to improve on that this is the surfskate truck you should go with.

PROS & CONS

While it is possible to use the Swelltech Truck for cruising or dropping into a bowl you will need to be on an advanced level to do so – this system is made for surf training in the flats but in this domain no other system can compete.

Surfskate Smoothstar trucks

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

2-stars

INFO

The Smoothstar truck has a similar functionality and characteristics as the YOW adapter. The main difference is that you can adjust the sensitivity of the spring to your personal preference which helps to evolve step by step in your surfskating. Smoothstar decks also tend to be wider and have a little more concave which allows a more stable stance.

PROS & CONS

While the Smoothstar truck is a little more sensitive than the YOW system, allowing more radical maneuvers and tighter turns, we think the construction feels a little less solid and high grade. The boards also tend to rattle after a while of using them. 

Surfskate Carver trucks C7

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

5-stars

INFO

The Carver C7 truck is one of the original systems around and an evergreen on the market. You can pump very well with this truck and use it to learn and improve on all surfing maneuvers. It also has an internal spring which is fully adjustable so you can slowly move from a stable cruiser type board to a loose surf trainer.

PROS & CONS

While the C7 system might feel stiffer than a YOW or Smoothstar truck it still allows to do all surfing maneuvers. Because of its adjustable spring and solid construction the C7 is the perfect system for any beginner or for advanced skaters who need a more stable and reliable truck in the bowl. 

Surfskate Slide truck

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

5-stars

INFO

While no surfskate system is alike the Slide surfskate truck does feel a lot like the Carver C7 truck and offers similar riding characteristics. The tension of its spring also is adjustable so you can adapt the truck to your personal preference and level. The system offers a fun ride in the flats just as in a bowl.

PROS & CONS

Compared to all other systems the Slide surfskate truck is the most affordabel one on the market. Since the quality equals most other systems, this truck has a great price-performance. If you are new to surfskating and unsure whether you will stick with it, Slide is the best option for you to give it a first try.

waterborne-surf-adapter-surfskate-truck-1

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

5-stars

INFO

The Waterborne adapter is one of the younger systems around with a similar construction to Meraki but using an internal bushing instead of a spring. The adapter is very durable and in combination with the Waterborne rail adapter allows more lean and tighter turns than the Carver C7. It is a great surf trainer, also for beginners and also a very good system to be used for bowl riding.

PROS & CONS

While the adapter comes at a good prize, quality and functionality the Waterborne carbon decks are neither very well thought-through nor ideal for surf training. We recommend to create your own setup choosing a deck, trucks and wheels from other brands. 

hamboard-surfskate-carving-truck-hst

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

2-stars

INFO

Peter Hamborg started to build his first trucks in the 90s. With the help of two friends he created the HST: the only true rail-to-rail surf trainer. Despite the bigger size, height and width, Hamboards allow super deep carves with 30° board lean and very smooth rebounds.

PROS & CONS

The HST is used as the front and also as the back truck, resulting into a highly sensitive board, lots of lean and a very different maneuverability compared to other surfskates: Hamboards are the perfect longboard surf trainer and in this domaine absolutely unchallanged. Other systems however are able to simulate a short board ride much better than the HST.

Surfskate Carver trucks CX

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

5-stars

INFO

The Carver CX truck is a system that does not have a spring – the axle soleley rotates around a set of bushings. While you can pump with this truck and do maneuvers just like on a surf board it feels even more stable than Carver’s C7 truck and a little restictive compared to all systems that use a spring. 

PROS & CONS

The Carver CX is perfect for absolute beginners who have never stood on any board at all. If you already are a good surfer or doing other board sports this truck might soon lack to be a challenge for you. However it is a perfect fit for pool skaters who look for maximum stability doing airs or other tricks.

Surfskate Carver trucks C5

BEGINNER FRIENDLY

5-stars

INFO

In recent years we have seen a lot of riders incorporating more traditional skateboard tricks into their style. The lower, narrower and lighter Carver C5 truck still allows carving but with an extra pop you can now do higher Ollies and blend in other classic tricks of the early skateboard days. 

PROS & CONS

With surfskating rising in popularity we feel more traditional skateboarders start being curious about systems that combine the best of both worlds. While the C5 truck is not a surf trainer it is a new generation of surfskate truck, allowing to blend tricks and flow into a completely new skate style.

Parts

Surfskate wheels

Wheels

INFO

There are a lot of options around when it comes to the wheels and many brands are promising a wide range of characteristics and abilities. In our experience most of the tricks and maneuvers are possible with any type of wheel if you only give it enough time. Usually surfskate wheels should not be larger than 70mm in diameter to avoid wheelbites. Other rules of thumb are: small and hard wheels accelerate faster and are best for bowls, large and soft wheels offer more grip and are best for training turns without unwanted slides. On rough surfaces a wide, large and soft wheel will keep you safe and allow running over small cracks. Rounded edges slide out easily, sharp edges offer extra grip.

BRANDS WE CAN RECOMMEND

Surfskate bushings

Bushings

INFO

Bushings are by far the most underrated part of a surfskate. Especially when using a system that cannot be adjusted via tightening the spring (like the YOW adapter) you can still do a lot of fine-tuning with the bushings. A softer cone-shaped bushing will lead to more sensibility, harder and barrel-shaped bushings can give that extra bit of stability you might need with a "nervous" system in the bowl. Some riders prefer of a mix of soft bushings on the front truck for extra maneuverability and hard bushings on the back truck for more stabilty while pumping. 

BRANDS WE CAN RECOMMEND

Surfskate bearings

Bearings

INFO

All skate bearings do have the same size and fit into any wheel. They either have six or seven balls inside which are made of steel or ceramics. A 6-ball  bearing will offer more speed and durability. Also ceramic balls are more durable and attract less dust and dirt. The quality and smooth running of a standard skate bearing is often indicated on the ABEC scale. High rated bearings have a better quality and are more expensive. When it comes to the bearings don't be too thrifty or you will get yourself a product that wears out quickly and soon needs to be replaced again.

BRANDS WE CAN RECOMMEND

Surfskate FAQ

Surfskate Tutorials

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Youth Lagoon surfskate designs

OCT 2020

Skatepark Inselpark Wilhelmsburg

OCT 2020

Any Feedback?

Feel free to drop us a line if you have any suggestions for this guide. Whether you have a spot in mind to recommend or any other ideas how to improve things – we are always super happy to hear from you. You can write us in English or in German.

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