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What are the Best Surfskates? (For Surfers & Non-Surfers)

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Brands, Choosing Your Surfskate, Reviews

Trying to choose the best surfskates for you? In this buyer’s guide of the best surfskates, I’ll help you narrow down your choices.

*Updated 11/20/23

**Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small affiliate commission at no cost to you.

To date, I’ve tested more than 85 complete surfskate models from 30 companies in 12 countries around the world, which includes 43 different surfskate trucks.

While there are lots of knock-off surfskate trucks on the market, I haven’t found any of them to perform as well as the originals.

After all my testing, these 14 originals are what I believe to be the best surfskate trucks on the market (in alphabetical order):

  1. Abian Pro
  2. Aquilo
  3. Carver C7
  4. Carver CX
  5. Curfboard
  6. Grasp Pado .23
  7. Long Island Genesis Lean
  8. Slide V3
  9. Smoothstar Thruster D
  10. SpiceSkate OKTOSURF (v2)
  11. SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX
  12. SwellTech
  13. Waterborne Surf Adapter
  14. YOW Meraki

To save time, money, and hassle in choosing the best surfskates for you, get my free Surfskate Selector app now.

As a non-surfer, I can’t tell you which are the best surfskates for surf training. However, I can point you in the right direction by describing how these different surfskate trucks feel and perform.

After testing all these surfskate systems, I view them on a scale ranging from pure surf trainers on the one hand, to pure street cruisers on the other.

Compared to the street cruiser surfskate trucks, the pure surf trainer surfskate trucks:

  • Feel smoother, looser, and more fluid.
  • Respond more easily to movements from your upper body (hips, shoulders, and arms).
  • When you pump, they generate more lateral side-to-side motion, versus pulling you forward.
  • Work best for doing tight surf maneuvers in small areas and for short distances.

On the other hand, the pure street cruising surfskate trucks:

  • Feel tighter and snappier.
  • Respond more easily to lower body movements — in fact, they require more input from your ankles and knees than the pure surf training trucks.
  • When you pump, they pull you forward better, versus the lateral side-to-side motion you get from the pure surf trainers.
  • This means they are better for riding longer distances and covering a wider range of terrain.

On this scale, this is how I rank the best surfskates:

best surfskate trucks

If you’re a surfer wanting a surfskate for surf training, you should consider one of the pure surf trainer trucks.

If you’re a non-surfer like me, the best surfskates for you will be one of the pure street cruisers or a hybrid surf trainer/street cruiser trucks.

My free Surfskate Selector app will save you time, money, and hassle by revealing the best surfskates for you and your riding style.

After testing more than 85 complete surfskate models, including 43 different surfskate trucks, these are what I believe to be the best surfskates (in alphabetical order):
abian pro surfskate truck

Abian is a boutique surfskate company in the Basque country of Spain. Their Abian Pro surfskate truck looks and feels similar to the old Smoothstar Thruster. The difference is that the Abian Pro uses a traction spring, while the Smoothstar Thruster uses a compression spring.

As a result, the Abian Pro has a bit more rebound than the Smoothstar Thruster and in my opinion, feels a bit smoother.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $130 US for the surf adapter alone, $175 US for the adapter with truck set, $315 – $360 US for complete models
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Short distance training
  • Adjustable: Yes

The Aquilo from Bangkok, Thailand is one of the newest surfskate trucks on the market. It is built with an exterior housing that looks very similar to the YOW Meraki. However, in contrast to the Meraki, which has a coiled tension spring, the Aquilo uses two longitudinal springs that wrap around the inside of the truck housing.

As a result, the Meraki feels tighter and snappier, while the Aquilo feels looser and smoother. Like the Smoothstar Thruster, the Aquilo also has a lot less rail-to-rail lean than the Meraki.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: $212 – $245 US
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Short distance training to medium distance cruising
  • Adjustable: Yes, by changing out springs

The C7 is Carver’s original surfskate front truck. It has a spring-loaded swiveling arm that allows for deep rail-to-rail leaning, which enables pumping and radical carving.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $178 for truck set, $285 for complete Carver C7 model
  • Best Use: Hybrid surf trainer/street cruiser for riders who want the flowy, surfy feel and wide range of motion, but with more forward momentum than other “pure surf trainer” trucks
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and both short distance training and longer distance cruising
  • Adjustable: Yes

Carver’s hybrid surf and skate truck. A lightweight standard reverse kingpin hanger and base, but with a patented geometry that allows you to pump and carve like the C7, but with more stability.

As a street cruiser, the CX is what I ride the most. It pumps and carves very well, it’s light, it doesn’t have the maintenance issues you find with spring-based systems, and it will last you forever.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $164 for truck set, $270 for complete Carver CX model
  • Best Use: Street cruiser for riders who want the pumping and carving of a surfskate truck but aren’t using it for pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Tight and snappy
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: Yes

The Curfboard surfskate truck is an innovative design that uses neither bushings nor springs, but instead, two swiveling arms on hinges. Pumping is effortless on the Curfboard because it is the loosest surfskate truck on the market by far. At higher speeds, the truck becomes more stable and prevents speed wobbles. The Curfboard surfskate truck is also lower to the ground than any other system.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $189 for truck set, $349 – $369 for complete Curfboard model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distance
  • Adjustable: No
grasp surfskate truck

The Grasp Pado .23 surfskate truck looks and feels similar to the Carver CX. The difference is that the angle on Grasp is wider. The result is that the Carver CX has less turn and more lean comparatively, and the Grasp has more turn and less lean comparatively.

Grasp surfskate trucks feel looser and smoother than the Carver CX, and they have a tighter turning radius. However, they don’t have as much forward momentum, which is why I prefer the Carver CX for longer distance cruising.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $149.95 for truck set (available at Status Skate Shop in the US)
  • Best Use: Hybrid that can be used for surf training, street cruising, and bowl riding
  • Truck Feel: Loose and Flowy
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: Yes, by changing out the bushings
long island genesis lean surfskate truck

The Long Island Genesis Lean surfskate truck looks somewhat similar to the YOW Meraki. The difference is that it uses internal bushings instead of the coiled tension spring in the Meraki.

I would call the Long Island Genesis Lean a pure surf trainer truck because it feels very loose and fluid. It also does not generate a lot of forward momentum when you pump, which means it’s not ideal for street cruising.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $220
  • Best Use: Pure surf trainer
  • Truck Feel: Loose and Flowy
  • Environment/Distance: Best for short distances
  • Adjustable: No
slide v3 surfskate truck
slide v3 surfskate truck

The Slide V3 surfskate truck is a spring-based system without a kingpin bolt. It’s a stable truck that is excellent for beginners. It creates a lot of forward momentum with pumping, which makes it great for longer distance cruising. Slide is known as the best surfskate on a budget.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $110.00 for truck set, $219.99 for complete Slide model
  • Best Use: Street cruiser for riders who want the pumping and carving of a surfskate truck but aren’t using it for pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Tight and snappy
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: Yes
smoothstar thruster d surfskate truck

The SmoothStar Thruster D is a re-engineered design of the old Thruster 1. The Thruster D still feels very similar to the Thruster 1 (loose, smooth, flowy). However, it gives you a little more resistance, so it feels a bit closer to the YOW Meraki than the Thruster 1.

The biggest change on the Smoothstar Thruster D is that they moved the axle to offset your wheelbase less than the Thruster 1. The Thruster 1 offsets your wheelbase by 4″ relative to the Carver C7 truck, which has no wheelbase offset. In comparison, the Thruster D only offsets your wheelbase by 1.5″ — 2.5″ less than the Thruster 1.

This means you can have a 2.5″ shorter deck with the Thruster D compared to the Thruster 1. This makes your Smoothstar Thruster D surfskate lighter, more compact, and more nimble.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: Thruster D not sold separately, $269 – $309 for complete Smoothstar Thruster Dmodel
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distances
  • Adjustable: Yes
spiceskate oktosurf
spiceskate oktosurf capsule

The SpiceSkate OKTOSURF is the most advanced and sophisticated surfskate truck on the market, and is an improved version of their original Okto. Inside the truck is what they call a “capsule,” which has two round metal pieces suspended by eight small traction springs between them.

The OKTOSURF feels incredibly smooth and also has high rebound. While I categorize it as a pure surf trainer, I would say it’s more versatile than many of the other surf trainers. This is because it has great forward momentum, and it also works fantastic for bowl riding.

The OKTOSURF is for surfers wanting the best surf trainer money can buy.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $239 for truck set, $519 for complete model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth but with high rebound
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distances
  • Adjustable: Yes (by changing out the capsules)
slide v3 surfskate truck
slide v3 surfskate truck

I view the SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX as a direct competitor to the Smoothstar Thruster.

It is a coiled spring design somewhat similar to the YOW Meraki. However, it is looser and has less rail-to-rail lean than the Meraki. Plus, doesn’t create nearly as much forward momentum with pumping.

However, it is very smooth and highly responsive. It works extremely well for surf maneuvers in small areas.

The original SpicePilot came with just one spring, which was very loose. Their second version, the TypeX, added another spring with more tension. The springs are also interchangeable.

I find the original spring far too loose and soft. I strongly recommend the TypeX over the original.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: $159 for truck set, $399 for complete SpiceSkate model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distances
  • Adjustable: Yes (by changing out the springs)
slide v3 surfskate truck

The SwellTech is the most radical surfskate truck design on the market. It is the only surfskate truck that allows the truck to spin a complete 360°. While this may seem like an advantage, it makes the SwellTech difficult to ride. Therefore, the SwellTech is only for advanced riders who want to replicate the feel of surfing on land as much as possible. The SwellTech surfskate can only be ridden on smooth surfaces because the truck bounces around so much on cracks and pebbles.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Advanced
  • Price: Truck not sold separately, $199.99 – $279.99 for complete SwellTech model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surfaces, short distance
  • Adjustable: No
waterborne surf adapter

As low as $59.99, the Waterborne Surf Adapter is the cheapest way to get into surfskating by far. It was designed to be retrofitted to any skateboard or longboard to instantly turn it into a surfskate. The Waterborne uses a square bushing as its pivot point. The Waterborne surf adapter pumps well and has a very wide range of motion, very deep rail-to-rail lean, and creates a lot of forward momentum with pumping. You can add their rail adapter to create even more rail-to-rail lean, but I personally find it to be too much.

While the Waterborne surf adapter works well, I have found it challenging to put together a complete system that I’ve been really excited about. There are so many component parts to consider, and they all affect the ride. If you don’t have the budget for a complete surfskate, then the Waterborne is great. But if you do have the budget, I recommend you get a complete surfskate over the Waterborne surf adapter alone.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: $59.99 – $79.99 for surf adapter and rail adapter, $222 – $499 for complete Waterborne model
  • Best Use: Street cruiser for riders who want the pumping and carving of a surfskate truck and want the capability to do surf training as well
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Good for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: No
waterborne surf adapter
waterborne surf adapter

The YOW Meraki uses a coiled spring design to create what I consider to be one of the best surfskate trucks on the market for every use imaginable.

Interestingly, the Meraki feels simultaneously loose, flowy, and smooth, and tight and snappy. It feels loose and smooth because it is very responsive and easy to pump, it has a very wide range of motion, and has deep rail-to-rail lean. However, unlike the thinner, longer, and softer springs on the Carver C7 and Smoothstar Thruster, the coiled spring on the Meraki snaps back to center very quickly. The snappy spring makes it easier to pump than either the Carver C7 or CX.

Unlike the Smoothstar Thruster, the YOW Meraki generates a lot of forward momentum. This means it can work very well as both a pure surf trainer in small areas and short distances, or as a long-distance cruiser.

 

  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: $190 for truck set, $254.95 – $279.95 for complete YOW model
  • Best Use: Excellent for both surf training and street cruising
  • Truck Feel: Simultaneously loose, flowy, and smooth, and tight and snappy
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: No

To help you choose the best surfskates for you, you may find my surfskate reviews on YouTube helpful.

But if you want to save time, money, and hassle, get my free Surfskate Selector app now. In just  questions, I’ll reveal the best surfskates for you and your riding style.

The videos below will also help you choose the best surfskates for you.

But if you want to save time, money, and hassle, get my free Surfskate Selector app now.