0

Carver Surfskates: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

by | Dec 16, 2021 | Carver Surfskates, Choosing Your Surfskate, Surfskate Reviews

Founded in 1996 in Venice Beach, California, Carver is the original surfskate brand. But is a Carver surfskate right for you? If so, how can you pick the right Carver for you?

Since October 2020, I’ve purchased and extensively tested more than 60 surfskates, including these Carver surfskates:

  1. Carver Tyler 777 36.5″ 
  2. Carver Tyler Riddler 35.5″ (discontinued) 
  3. Carver Kai Lenny Dragon 34″
  4. Carver Greenroom 33.75″ 
  5. Carver Proteus 33″
  6. Carver Hobo 32.5″ 
  7. Carver Black Tip 32.5″
  8. Carver Super Surfer 32″ 
  9. Carver Triton Prismal 32″
  10. Carver Triton Signal 31″ 
  11. Carver Blue Haze 31″
  12. Carver 32.25″ Scape 
  13. Carver 32″ Sun Ray
  14. Carver Knox Phoenix 31.25″
  15. Carver Lost Rad Ripper 31″ 
  16. Carver Aipa “Sting” 30.75″
  17. Carver Yago Skinny Goat 30.75″ 
  18. Carver Swallow 29″ 

When I first started researching Carver surfskates, I was overwhelmed by all their choices. They offer more than 30 models, ranging from 27″ to 36.5″ in length and with a wide range of other deck characteristics. I had no idea which ones would even fit me.

My favorite model, the Proteus, was the ninth I bought. It took me nine tries to get it right! So from firsthand experience, I know how hard it is to choose the perfect Carver surfskate for you, especially when you’re buying online without testing them.

In this Carver surfskate buyer’s guide, I’ll save you some time, money, and hassle by helping you hone in on the right Carver surfskate model for you.

To save even more time and see your ideal Carver now, get my free Surfskate Selector app now. In just 8 questions, I’ll reveal the perfect surfskate for you and your riding style.

Is a Carver Surfskate Best for You?

 

Let’s start by determining whether Carver is even the right surfskate brand for you.

After testing 30 different surfskate truck systems on more than 60 surfskates, I believe the top 10 original surfskate trucks in the world are (in alphabetical order):

 

  1. Aquilo
  2. Carver C7
  3. Carver CX
  4. Curfboard
  5. Slide V3
  6. Smoothstar Thruster D
  7. SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX
  8. SwellTech
  9. Waterborne Surf Adapter
  10. YOW Meraki

After riding all these surfskate systems, I’ve come to look at them on a scale ranging from pure surf trainers to pure street cruisers.

While I’m not a surfer and am not qualified to recommend which are best for surf training, what I can do is describe how the different surfskate truck systems feel and perform.

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

  • Feel smoother, looser, and more fluid.
  • Are more responsive to upper body movements (hips, shoulders, and arms).
  • Create more lateral side-to-side motion with pumping, as opposed to forward momentum. While they are easier to pump, they don’t pull you forward as much when you pump.
  • Work best for riding in small areas and for short distances.

Street cruising surfskate trucks, on the other hand:

  • Feel tighter and snappier.
  • Are more responsive to lower body movements — in fact, they require more from your ankles and knees than the pure surf trainers.
  • Create more forward momentum with pumping, as opposed to lateral side-to-side motion.
  • This means they are better for riding longer distances.

I place the Carver C7 surfskate truck in the middle, as a hybrid that performs well as both a surf trainer and street cruiser, and the Carver CX surfskate truck on the far right as more of a pure street cruiser. (Personally, I prefer the feel of the YOW Meraki over the Carver C7 truck. And I ride the CX more than either of them. But that’s not to say these will be your preferences.)

best surfskate trucks

What this means is this:

If you’re a surfer wanting a surfskate for pure surf training, then a Carver surfskate may not be the best fit for you, and you may want to also consider a SwellTech, Smoothstar, SpiceSkate, or Curfboard. But if you do get a Carver, the C7 truck is probably best for you.

If you want a surfskate that works excellent for both surf training and street cruising, then the Carver C7 truck is arguably among the best.

And if you’re not a surfer and you just want a surfskate to cruise the streets, then Carver is my top recommendation by far. And in this case, I recommend the Carver CX truck.

My free Surfskate Selector app will tell you which surfskate brand and model are best for you in just 8 questions.

Should You Choose Carver C7 or CX Surfskate Trucks?

 

I bought my first Carver online without having ever ridden either a C7 or CX surfskate truck. I agonized for months trying to decide between the two, because there was so little education to be found.

Having ridden both the C7 and CX now, I would say that in the ideal world, you should test ride both of them before deciding. It’s something you can research, but you really just have to experience the different feels for yourself.

As a non-surfer, I’m not qualified to tell you how well either the C7 or CX replicate surfing and how good they are for technical surf training. All I can do is describe my personal experience with them.

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

The CX is ​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.

Compared to the CX, the C7 feels softer, looser, and more fluid. The swivel arm gives you a wider range of motion, and more rail-to-rail lean. The CX feels tighter, snappier, and more stable.

This means that the C7 has a flowier, more “surf-like” feel. But it also means that it’s not quite as snappy and responsive. When you lean into a rail on the C7, although it leans deeper than the CX, it doesn’t snap back up to center as quickly and easily as the CX.

For you surfers, Boarder Labs says,

“So the performance difference is really about a snappy pump (CX) like a shortboard quad surfboard or a flowy pump (C7) like a short retro single fin.”

While both trucks are adjustable, the CX is adjustable on only one dimension of motion — the kingpin nut — the C7 can be adjusted at both the spring and the kingpin nut. This gives you more versatility.

However, beware that you don’t loosen the C7 too much, or you will find that the spring disengages and the truck becomes what I call “floppy,” with no rebound at all.

As a basic street cruiser, over the past year of riding I have gravitated to the Carver CX. That’s what I ride more than anything.

For me, it does everything the C7 can do, but it’s lighter, easier to pump, and creates more forward momentum.

However, you might appreciate the looser, smoother feel; deeper rail-to-rail lean, and more upper body responsiveness that the C7 offers.

With that said, I recommend the CX over the C7 to non-surfer beginners.

For more help with choosing the right surfskate truck for you, get my free Surfskate Selector app now.

How to Choose the Right Carver Surfskate Model for You

 

Once you’ve determined that a Carver surfskate is what you want, now you have to choose your model. Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Determine your stance width to get your wheelbase range.

 

If you don’t know how to determine your stance width, first watch this video:

Basically, you want to stand in your natural stance and measure the distance between the middle of your inner feet.

To fall into your natural stance, bend your knees up and down and shift your body weight until you feel the most grounded, balanced, and flexible.

My stance width is 18″.

Once you have your stance width measurement (in inches), then add an inch below and an inch above your stance width to get your wheelbase range.

So in my case, at an 18″ stance width, my wheelbase range is 17-19″. This tells me that the Carver surfskates that will fit me best will have a wheelbase measurement of between 17″ and 19″.

You don’t want to go any narrower than your recommended wheelbase range for your surfskate truck because as your stance narrows, your front foot needs to be further up on the truck, which causes you to tip easier.

While you can ride models that are wider than your stance width range, the wider you get, the more of a specialty ride it becomes (e.g. the Carver Tyler 777), versus a more versatile surfskate.

The more your surfskate wheelbase becomes narrower than your stance width, the more unstable it becomes. The wider your surfskate wheelbase gets, the more stable it is, but the less nimble and harder to pump.

So let’s use my 18″ stance width as an example. This gives us a wheelbase range of between 17″ and 19″, which means that these are all the Carver surfskate models that will fit my stance width:

Step 2: Determine Your Riding Style & Purpose

 

This matters because if all you’re doing is lazy long-distance cruising, you don’t need much concave and you can have a wider wheelbase than your recommended range. If you want to ride bowls, however, you want a deck with a narrower wheelbase, high concave, and solid foot placement to lock your feet in.

Your riding style determines the characteristics your deck needs beyond wheelbase and length.

Let’s suppose you want a deck you can use for bowl riding, in which case you want high concave. In this case, you can eliminate all decks on the lower end of your wheelbase range that have low concave.

Step 3: Research the Carver Surfskates Within Your Wheelbase Range to Make Your Final Decision

 

Once you know which Carver surfskate models to consider within your wheelbase range and you know what to do with it, now you just need to consider all other deck factors, such as width, concave, foot placement, aesthetics, etc.

Once again using my 18″ stance width as an example, what this comes down to for me is that I have two favorite Carver surfskates: the 32.5″ Black Tip with a 17.5″ wheelbase is my performance “sports car,” and the 33″ Proteus with an 18 3/8″ wheelbase is my cruising “sedan.”

Surfskate Bowl Riding on the Carver Black Tip

Surfskate Cruising on the Carver Proteus