Hamboards Review: Are They Truly Surfskates?
Hamboards calls their boards surfskates, but I believe they’re in a category all their own.
Is a Hamboards for you? Find out in this review.
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Bottom Line Up Front
While Hamboards call their boards surfskates, I personally don’t categorizes them as surfskates at all, for two reasons:
First, they have the same truck on front and rear, while typical surfskates have a radically turning front truck combined with a stable rear.
Second, their truck only leans from side to side, but does not sway on a horizontal plan parallel to the deck.
These two aspects combined mean that Hamboards do not pump at all like typical surfskates because you can’t generate thrust on them. They do provide a radical turning radius for tight carving.
Hamboards are very specialized boards for one application. They’re very expensive and bulky to carry around.
While you might enjoy a Hamboards, I highly recommend that you try one before buying one.
How is the Hamboards Truck Built?
The Hamboards HST 2.0 carving truck is unlike any other surfskate truck.
The only dimension of motion on the Hamboards HST truck is the rail-to-rail lean, which is enabled by a stiff, heavy-duty spring.
Hamboards has updated their system to allow you to interchange three different baseplate pivot axis angles (0-degree, 20-degree, and 40-degree), three different hanger widths, and two different springs.
So now, some Hamboards models come with a different truck on front than on rear.
One thing I don’t like about the Hamboards HST truck is that it doesn’t have a smooth transition from rail to rail.
The truck is kind of stuck at its midpoint and you have to push it hard to get it to lean. Then when it does finally lean, it transitions hard and fast. It’s an awkward sensation you have to get used to.
Why I Don’t Categorize Hamboards as Surfskates
After testing more than 70 different surfskates with over 30 different surfskate truck systems, I’ve boiled them down to what I feel are the top 10 surfskate trucks, listed here in alphabetical order:
The first is that typical surfskate systems have a radically-turning front truck combined with a stable rear truck. The stable rear truck acts as fins on a surfboard to product thrust for surfskate pumping.
In contrast, most Hamboards models use the same trucks on front and rear.
The second difference between Hamboards and surfskate trucks is that surfkate trucks offer two dimensions of motion. The first is rail-to-rail lean, and the second is sway from the swiveling arm that pivots parallel to the deck.
Hamboards, however, only offers one dimension of motion: rail-to-rail lean.
Since you can’t pump them—and especially not uphill—this means you need a long decline with a smooth surface to skate on Hamboards.
This does change the feel and make them a bit more pumpable than their other models. But they still are not even in the same league or category as surfskates.
Try a Hamboards Before You Buy One
Personally, I don’t even know what to do with Hamboards.
I think that what people use them for is cross-stepping practice and standup paddling. And since I’m not interested in either of those, the Hamboards just isn’t a fit for me.
I really have no idea what to do with the Burst model because it doesn’t pump like a typical surfskate and it’s only 31.75” long, which means it’s not great for cross-stepping practice.
However, there are a lot of Hamboards enthusiasts out there, so you might enjoy one.
But given than Hamboards are so expensive, specialized, unique, and limited, I highly recommend that you try one before you buy one. See if you can find a local dealer who has some demo boards for you to try.
Because I can promise you that if you’re used to traditional surfskate trucks and you buy a Hamboards sight unseen, you’re going to be very surprised by how much different it feels.