How to Build a Crazy Longboard Surfskate (50” or Longer)
I got into longboard surfskates when a friend showed me his old 57″ Envy Classic longboard. I threw a Waterborne surf adapter on it and I immediately fell in love.
I got so hooked that I started buying every longboard over 50” I could find on eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
I’ve since purchased 26 longboard and Hamboards decks, ranging from 50” to 78” long, and turned them into surfskates.
I’ll show you everything I’ve learned in the process so you can build your own crazy longboard surfskate.
Watch My YouTube Video on How to Build a Longboard Surfskate
For me, the minimum is 50” long. I have several longboard surfskates that are 60”, one that is 67”, and my longest is 78”. (And they all ride fantastic!)
So you can experiment with a wide range of lengths. I’ve even seen longboard decks that are 9’ (108”) long!
Width is also a very important aspect of these longboard surfskates. I find that the longer it gets, the wider I want it to be.
Personally, if I’m riding a longboard over 50”, I want it to be between 11” and 11.25” wide.
As far as the shape goes, I look for longboard decks that are wide along the whole length. This is opposed to, say, pintail decks that drastically taper in width on both the front and rear.
I also want my longboard surfskates to have a full rounded nose to allow me to hang ten off the front.
The flex makes for a very unique bouncy feel that not only feels great, but also generates forward momentum. This makes it great for long distance pumping.
If you want to practice cross-stepping, then you want something like the 60” Koastal Drifter. The truck bolt holes on this deck are set on the far ends, which makes for a very wide wheelbase.
So if you want to do more nimble carving, you’ll want a narrower wheelbase, with the truck bolt holes set in more from the ends of the deck.
I’ve tried most of the top surfskate trucks on most of my longboard decks. Here are my bottom-line conclusions:
- Almost any surfskate truck will work on a longboard deck.
- The only surfskate trucks I recommend you avoid for long decks is Grasp, Slide, and SwellTech.
- My top favorites are the Waterborne surf adapter, Carver CX, Carver C7, Aquilo, and YOW Meraki.
- If you use the Waterborne surf adapter or YOW Meraki, you will most likely get wheelbite and will need a solution for it.
If you use the Waterborne surf adapter, you can use either traditional kingpin trucks (TKPs) or reverse kingpin trucks (RKPs). I prefer TKPs on most set-ups. For decks that are long, wide, and inflexible, RKPs work well.
If you use TKPs on the Waterborne surf adapter, you will get wheelbite and you’ll need a solution for it.
How to Eliminate Wheelbite
Now we have to talk about wheelbite. Depending on the truck you use, that will likely be a problem you’ll have to solve.
There are a few options for eliminating wheelbite.
First, you can add risers to your truck. I personally don’t like the feel of that at all because surfskate trucks already put you so much higher off the ground. Adding risers makes for a very tippy feel that I don’t like. So personally, I never use risers to eliminate wheelbite.
Another simple solution is you can use reverse kingpin trucks as opposed to traditional kingpin trucks. They ride higher off the ground and these completely eliminate wheelbite.
But the problem with that is I prefer TKPs on most of setups. So if you prefer TKPs, then that’s not going to be a good solution either.
Another option is that you can use smaller wheels. That’s not my personal preference either because I don’t like wheelbite determining the size of my wheels. I do a lot of long-distance cruising on the longboards so I want wheels that are at least 70mm in diameter.
Another aspect of wheelbite to consider is the width of your truck hanger. The wider your truck hanger, the more likely you are to get wheelbite.
I prefer 150mm wide hangers. If you’re using anything wider than this, using narrower trucks will help to eliminate wheelbite.
Your final option is to use something like a Dremel to just carve out wheelwells in your deck. And with these longboards, I’ve honestly found that to be the easiest and best solution.
If you have access to better tools than a Dremel, that’s even better. If you do this, you need to make sure your deck is at least a half-inch thick. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the wheelwells deep enough.
I personally find that the Waterborne rail adapter is indispensable for longboard surfskates.
The Waterborne rail adapter makes longboard surfskates much easier to control. It keeps your back wheels on the ground through carves.
Are you wanting to just do cross-stepping practice in a parking lot? In that case, you can get away with either just a TKP on a riser or the Carver C2.
But if you’re going to be doing any pumping and carving, you definitely want the Waterborne rail adapter.
Be sure to customize the Waterborne rail adapter bushings for your weight and preference.
If all you want to do is cross-stepping practice in a parking lot, then 65 millimeter surfskate wheels will work just fine.
But if you want to travel any distance, then I highly recommend that you use at least 70 millimeter surfskate wheels.
That’s obviously personal preference. But from my experimentation, I pretty much always use 70mm surfskate wheels in either 78a or 81a for longboard surfskates.