SurfSkate Buyers Guide (2020)

The SurfSkate is increasing in popularity month on month. They have’n’t been around for that long, but are already making waves within the surf and skate world.

surfskate buyers guide

What is a SurfSkate?

A surfskate is a skateboard which allows one to surf in the street. A unique truck design where the front truck swivels enables the board to pivot in either direction.

The means that the skater can generate speed on a surfskate by pumping the board from side to side. The very same pumping motion that surfers use to generate speed on a wave. Riding a SurfSkate for the most part simulates surfing.

Surfskates are really popular with surfers who are looking at taking their surfing moves to the street on those down days when there aren’t any waves. They are also popular with with skateboarders looking for a new type of street riding.

This video succinctly draws the parallels between surfing and surfskating.

How does a SurfSkate simulate surfing?

The with the swivelling front truck a surfskate is able to accurately simulate surfing in two major ways.

Bottom Turn

As the rider moves into a bottom turn, the front of the board turns and bend inward allowing the rider to drive through the bottom turn with most of the weight on the back foot. A compression and extension of the body occurs, creating acceleration and a change of direction. The result is one smooth surf-like bottom turn.

Off The Lip

As the rider comes out from the bottom turn, they will shift their weight to engage with the opposite rail. A transition then occurs and the weight is transferred in the opposite direction from the bottom turn. This allows the rider to perform a smooth but vertical top turn mimicking how a surf may smack the lip of the wave.

General Carving

On larger, slower waves, surfers often carve along the face of a wave instead o riding it bottom to top. This is most common on twin fin boards where the pivot is less dynamic than a thruster. A surfskate with it’s flexible and raised truck system closely replicates the tight arced carved turned that a surf makes when riding larger waves

What’s the difference between a SurfSkate and a Longboard?

A surfskate has a much larger range of motion that a longboard. Longboards have a relatively loose truck system which allow them to turn on an arc when leaned into.

SurfSkates, however, with their flexible and spring based truck system allow the rider to turn on a dime. You can make short, sharp, snappy turns on a surfskate without lifting the board off the ground. The turning arc of a surfskate is much shorter than that of a longboard.

surfskate turning arc
Source: Smoothstar.com

SurfSkate Brands

There are a plethora of different skate brands that make surfskates. The company most widely credited for inventing the surfskate is Carver Skateboards who launched the first prototype in the mid to late 90’s.

This Buying Guide will look at some of the most popular surfskate’s on the market today.

FLOW SurfSkates

A great entry level surfskate with a price tag that won’t break the bank. Flow offer a customizable ride. The tension of the truck spring is adjustable to suit differing rider size and preference. This makes Flow well suited to riders of all ages and abilities. Tighten it or loosen the trucks to get the ride you want.

Wedge 32″

A slightly shorter, blunted surfskate.  The Wedge 32″ has a compact 18” wheelbase which allows for quick pumping and easy cutbacks.

wedge 32"

Swell 33″

The swell 33” has a classic surfboard shaped deck. It has a wider deck than the Wedge 32″, allowing for a more comfortable stance without sacrificing quick-fire turning from rail to rail.

Swell 33" surfskate

SwellTech

SwellTech make the famous Jamie O’Brien Pro Banzai surfskate. Their boards have the most surf-centric aesthetic out all the boards on the market.

The SwellTech trucks are designed to emulate the movement of a surfboard by having a front truck with complete free motion. The read truck is a standard fixed truck.

The free motion of the front truck mimics the fluid movement of a surfboard. The rear truck acts as a pivot point very much like the fins in a surfboard. 

Jamie O’Brien Pro Banzai SurfSkate

The new 2020 Jamie O’Brien “Banzai” Pro Model has a marginally longer deck that its predecessor. The top deck features black stained wood with surfing track pad in the tail and standard grip tape on the rest of the board. On the underside is an image of Jamie pulling into a massive Pipeline barrel.

Jamie O'Brien Pro Banzai surfskate

Austin Keen Pro Model

This is the shortest surfskate in the SwellTech range coming it 33 inches long. This compact size is ideal for tight turns, snappy cut backs, and narrow stance riders.

austin keen pro model

Roots

Roots make a classic looking surfskate. They preserve the wooden deck by leaving grip tape off the top, instead choosing a translucent varnish and sand combination.

Roots Cutback

This board is great for carving, cruising, and land surfing. It is very responsive across a variety of surfaces, namely, tarmac, concrete and even wood. The structure of the deck gives the skater superb traction. The board is just over 32 inches long.

roots cutback

Street Surfing Surfskates

Street Surfing makes a wide variety of different skateboard as well as other two wheeled devices like scooters. Needless to say, they are anything but a core skate brand. However, they do offer a rather unique type of surfskate which only has one wheel in the front.

This has resulted in a hybrid being created. A mix between a skateboard and casterboard.

Shark Attack Surfskate

Coming in at 30 inches long, street Surfing describe this board as a “self-propelled longboard”. You can pump it like a surfboard and seamlessly generate speed, whilst maintaining the speed of a longbaord.

This was the first surfskate to have a casterboard integration. It’s durable and lightweight design allows for agility and easy cutbacks across a multitude of different surfaces. The board measures 30″x9″.

shark attack surfskate

Razor Surfskate

Razor make a wide variety of scooters and two wheeled. After being inspired by the casterboard they invented a two wheeled surfskate called the RipSurf.

Ripstik Surfskate

The Ripstik is the most well-known model in the RipSurf range. Its patented design features a lightweight single piece of durable plastic, with a textured traction pad deck and kick tail. It is fitted with inclined 360-degree urethane caster wheels.

This board hasn’t been around for too long, but so far has received very positive reviews with one reviewed saying that it’s like surfing on concrete.

ripstik

Roller Derby

Roller Derby make 4 different surfskates which they Slide skateboards. They all make use of a patented spring load truck system and use Bevo gold seven high speed precision bearings. All their decks are made from Canadian maple. If you’re looking for an alternative shaped surfskate, then look no further.

Black Sox

The Black Sox is a tapered rectangular shape and comes in at 31 inches long. This board to great in more more confined areas where tighter, shaper turning in required.

roller derby black sox

White Sox

The White Sox is wavy shaped deck coming in at 33 inches long. This board is ideal wider, open areas where there is more space to carve larger arced turns.

Conclusion

Surfskating is a really great way to take your surfing to the streets. When the waves are flat but you’re itching to surf, surfskating is an ideal alternative.

As this post has shown, there is a wide variety of different surfskates on the market to suits all levels and styles of skating. Remember that surfskating is very different to skateboarding, so you should always give yourself a few weeks in which to get the hang of it. Don’t expect to be an expert after only a few days.

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