Should You Choose the Carver C5, C7, or CX?

by | Jul 4, 2023 | Choosing Your Surfskate, Trucks

So you’re trying to choose your first Carver surfskate and you want to know if you should choose choose the C5, CX, or C7 surfskate truck.

Whether you’re a surfer a non-surfer, in this guide I’ll give you as much information as possible to help you decide.

For more help in finding the best surfskate for you, check out my free Surfskate Selector app. It includes all models from the top 10 surfskate trucks. Just answer 8 quick questions and it reveals the best models for you.

Watch My YouTube Video on Choosing Between the Carver C5, C7, and CX

The Carver C5 Surfskate Truck

best surfskate trucks
Let’s start with the easy one, the C5. The C5 was actually the last one that they made of these three. They made the C7 first, then the CX, and then the C5.

And they made the C7 and CX to be traditional surfskates, and then they made the C5 to be more of a transition board for traditional skateboarders.

So when you compare the CX to the C5, you’ll notice that in terms of their mechanic functionality, they’re built essentially the same. It’s a reverse kingpin design, which means that your kingpin is on the same side as your pivot point. And that gives you that range of motion that you need for a surfskate.

The differences between the two is that the C5 has a narrower hanger, it’s lower to the ground, and it also has a hollow kingpin and axles, which makes it lighter than the CX. It doesn’t have nearly the same range of motion as the CX and feels much stiffer.

Carver only has two C5 models on their website, and both of them are a traditional skateboard design with a tail and a nose.

carver c5
So what this means is, the C5 is for traditional skateboarders who want a little bit more of a surfy feel to their skateboard.

But if you don’t come from a traditional skateboarding background, you’re probably not going to like the C5. You’re probably going to want to choose either the C7 or the CX.

Carver C7 vs. CX

That leaves us with the C7 and CX. And here’s where it gets a little bit more difficult.

The simplest and most general answer is, if you’re a surfer and you’re looking for a pure surf trainer, you probably want to go with the C7. And if you’re a non-surfer just looking for a general surfskate, then you probably want to go with the CX.

For non-surfers like me, I feel very confident in that recommendation to start with the CX. You may like the C7 and you may even like it better than the CX. But when you compare all the aspects together for non-surfers, I’m going to recommend you start with the CX over the C7.

carver c5
But if you’re a surfer, that’s where it gets a little bit more nuanced, because you have some disagreement amongst surfers on whether the CX or the C7 is the better surf trainer.

As a non-surfer, I am obviously not going to be a big help in that regard. However, I’ve spent a couple years in this space and I’ve talked to a lot of surfers and I’ve done a lot of surveys and polls. And it’s the general consensus that most surfers prefer the C7 over the CX for pure surf training.

carver c5

The Carver C7 Surfskate Truck

carver c7 surfskate truck
The Carver C7 is the original surfskate truck, the first one released in 1996. It is called a dual-axis system, which means it has two dimensions of motion. The first is the lateral swinging arm.
The second dimension of motion comes from the hanger, where just like on a traditional skateboard or longboard, it gives you lean from side to side on that hanger.

So with the C7, you’re getting both “sway” and “lean.”

The rotating arm is driven by a compression spring, which is adjustable. That means you actually have two ways to adjust the C7. You can adjust the tightness of that spring, or you can also adjust the tightness of your kingpin nut.

The Carver CX Surfskate Truck

carver c7 surfskate truck
The CX is a much simpler design. It’s what’s called a single-axis system, which means it only has one dimension of motion. However, with it being a reverse kingpin design, it gives you quite a big range of motion and you can do pretty much anything on the CX that you can do on the C7.
The difference in feel between them is that the C7 feels a little bit softer, looser, and flowier, and the CX feels tighter and snappier.

But there’s even some nuance to that, because you can modify the CX. You can change out the bushings to make it softer, looser, and flowier.

You can get RipTide bushings for the Carver CX in five different durometers.

carver c7 surfskate truck
The Carver CX comes standard in 89a durometer, which means that RipTide’s yellow 90a are going to be the closest in feel. But if you want something looser, softer, flowier, you can go with the softer 87.5a or even down to the 85a.

So by modifying with RipTide bushings for the Carver CX, you can actually make it feel a little bit more like the C7 and a little bit surfier.

Another thing to mention is that the CX is lighter than the C7. The front CX truck weighs just under 15 ounces, and the front C7 truck weighs just under one pound six ounces.

carver c7 surfskate truck
carver c7 surfskate truck
After trying 80+ complete surfskates with 37 different surfskate truck systems, I would say that the Carver CX is the most universal and versatile surfskate truck to do everything that you’d want to do, and it’s also the most lightweight.

So with it being a simpler design with less maintenance, it weighing less than the C7, and having the ability to modify it with those Carver CX RipTide bushings, for me, the CX is the winner.

But I would say, whether you are a surfer or a non-surfer, the CX is probably the more universal and versatile truck of the two.

I would also say that if your riding style is tight, sharp, performance riding with a lot of snaps and slides, then you probably want to go with the CX over the C7. But if your riding style is looser, flowier, with longer, drawn out lines, then the C7 may feel better for you.

So if you’re a surfer looking for a surf trainer specifically, you still might want to go with the C7. But if you want something that’s a little bit more universal and versatile that you can do more than just pure surf training on it, then I’m probably going to say start on the CX and then later, if you want, you can try the C7.

So that’s my personal take. And with all that said, now let’s hear from some surfers to hear what they have to say to help you make the decision.

Surfer’s Perspectives on Carver C7 vs. CX

Hi, I’m Ace Allen, and I’ve been surfing for over twenty years. Though I do like riding shortboards most of the time, I ride everything, depending on the waves. I’d recommend that surfers start with the CX for surf training, and that’s because of its versatility. You can use it for flat land. You can use it in the bowls in the parks. You can use it at the pump track. And you really don’t need to do too much adjustment, if any, between those different spots.
Hey, what’s going on, I’m Joey Daley, Oceanside, California. I’ve been surfing about eight to 10 years now. I have a somewhat loose and fast approach. I ride specifically shortboards. The longest board I’ve ever ridden is about six-eight to seven-foot. I would recommend the C7, specifically for surf training, whereas the CX, I believe, kind of dives into that hybrid feel. Whereas you get kind of more street play and you don’t have to focus as much on surf movements.
My name is Gabe Frager. I’ve been surfing for about four years now. I ride shortboard and longboard, just depending on the conditions and how I’m feeling that day. For a surfskater that’s looking into trying surfskating specifically for surf training, between the CX and C7, what I would recommend is the C7. Because it feels a little bit more flowy and cruisy-like. I can really still get into my turns and cutbacks. I don’t have any problems trying to stall it out to go slow or anything like that. And it kind of feels like a shortboard. I’m not sure if it has the same longboard feel, but it still has a surfboard-like feel.
My name’s John Crawford, and as far as surfboards go, I like the mini mals, which are miniature longboards, mid-lengths, longboards. I’ve been riding all of those for 20-plus years. As far as surf training goes, out of the box, for years, I rode the C7, really liked that a lot. That’s what I started on. I felt like it was easier to get going on. I felt like the CX was a little harder to get going on, get pumping. But now with the RipTide bushing upgrade, the CX truck is totally different. It pumps really easily if you get the right bushings, and it does feel more akin to the C7. It’s a lighter setup, so there’s that to consider, especially if you’re doing more skateboard type trips. I think the C7 is great for people that ride retro-type shapes, so fishes and mid-lengths and that kind of stuff. I think the flow of the C7 is probably more to your liking. If you’re riding thrusters and doing more aerial-type stuff, then probably the CX is going to be your better bet. I like the pump and flow of the CX just as much as I do the C7. So you really can’t go wrong with either system. And if you had the money, I’d almost say get both systems. Because they do offer something just a little bit different.
My name is Lucy. I am originally from Donegal in Ireland, but I’ve been living in California for the past year. I started surfing when I was in my teens, but started to go more regularly within the last three years. I surf a six-eight board. I don’t do any crazy maneuvers or any big waves. I just like to cruise. So during COVID, like many people, I couldn’t get down to the beach, so started looking into surfskate boards. My favorite one, the one I’m using right now, is this Carver, the Triton section of Carver. I went for CX trucks. This board’s perfect. It’s 31 inches, really stable for CX trucks. I really like this one in particular because it lets me drop in into bowls in skate parks, which was really important for generating the kind of speed I wanted and even just like the pumping on the walls of the bowl. So it’s been really, really good for that. I do think that the CX is a really good board for learning pumping. It can handle off-speed. The C7, I have tried, definitely feels a lot less stable, and I think is harder to drop in with. Those boards, I do think it’s easier to do front side and back side snaps with. You can still do them on this, but I think it takes a little extra leg work. But for me, this is the one that I love. And it’s been a great board, really sturdy, and has lasted through a lot.
My name is Lance Weiss, and I started surfing when I was 13 and I have several decades’ worth of surfing underneath me. I grew up shortboarding, then went to longboarding, and then back to shortboarding, like a six-one, six-two. As far as my style goes, nothing super progressive, a couple cutbacks on the wave, you know, just up, cutback, up, down, cutback, cut back, you know, nothing fancy. As far as my surfskating journey goes, I’ve tried a bunch of different Carver CXs. I’ve tried Carver C7, the YOW Meraki, which I have, SmoothStar, Waterborne, SwellTech. As far as between the C7 and the CX, I would say for surfing, the CX you could say is more like a shortboard with the snappiness of like a snap on a wave and the snap on the CX. But I’m going to say if I were choosing like, if you want to get closer to surf training, I would say the C7. I think it’s closer to maybe the YOW Meraki, more swingy, more, you know, kind of flowy, a lotta people have described it. I think that’s closer to surfing personally than the CX is. The CX is very good. I don’t think you can go wrong, particularly if you do get the bushings, the different bushings that Steve recommends. There’s a million different kinds. But if you do switch out your bushings, you can make this quite loose. But I still would not say this is as surfy as the C7. It feels more like a surfboard to me. That’s the best I can explain. I would choose a C7 if I’m going to go surf training.