What is a Surf Skateboard, & is Surf Skateboarding for You?

by | Dec 11, 2021 | Surfskating Basics

In 1996, Carver skateboards released the first surf skateboard truck, the Carver C7. Now there are dozes of surf skateboard trucks on the market.

Read this to find out if you may want to get a surf skateboard for yourself.

Greg Falk and Neil Stratton were surfers living in Venice Beach, California in the 1990s.

One summer they were particularly bored of flat days. So they started envisioning how a “surf skateboard” could be designed to mimic surfing on land.

After many iterations, they perfected their design for a surf skateboard. They called it a “surfskate,” and launched it under the name Carver in 1996.

They first tried selling their surfskates in skateboard shops. But they couldn’t give them away.

Then they tried selling them in surf shops to surfers, and that’s when they took off.

Since Carver, the original surf skateboard was born, dozens of other companies have created their own surfskate trucks.

At my last count, more than 50 companies around the world are selling some version of a surf skateboard.

Surf skateboards are neither skateboards or longboards. They are in a category all their own.

Simply put, they are designed to mimic the feel and movements of surfing on land.

Surfskate trucks provide a much wider range of motion, and therefore much more possibilities for skaters.

My free Surfskate Selector app helps you choose the perfect surf skateboard for you and your riding style.

How Does a Surf Skateboard Work?


What makes surf skateboards different than skateboards or longboards is their special moving front truck.

Skateboard and longboard truck trucks only turn along their kingpin axis. This limits their range of motion for carving.

There are many types of surfskate trucks. But they all follow the same principle. They have an additional rotating arm mounted on the truck, which adds an extra axis of rotation.

This allows it to move on an additional plane compared to typical skateboard and longboard trucks.

The result is two benefits. First, you can pump a surf skateboard without pushing your foot on the ground. Second, you have a much tighter turning radius than on a skateboard or longboard.

By pumping and carving on a surf skateboard, you can mimic and practice surfing on land.

How is Surf Skateboarding Different than Skateboarding or Longboarding?

Surf skateboarding is different than different than skateboarding or longboarding because of the way you move on the board and the way it feels to ride.

Skateboards are designed for doing tricks, and you don’t really do any pumping or carving on a skateboard. Longboards are used for cruising, speeding straight downhill, freeriding, or dancing.

Surf skateboarding makes you feel like you’re surfing on land. It feels somewhat like cruising on a longboard, but with the ability to make much quicker, tighter turns, and without ever touching your foot on the ground.

On a surf skateboard, you pump and carve in the same way surfers pump and carve on waves. Your foot never touches the ground. You generate and maintain speed by pumping the nose side to side.

Are Surf Skateboards Just for Surfers?


Surf skateboarding was started by surfers bored of flat days and wanting a way to improve their surfing when there were no waves.

However, surfskating has evolved to become a more popular style of skating, even for skaters who have never surfed and never will. Surfkating is for everyone who loves the feeling of surfing on land!

The beauty of surf skateboarding is that surfing is very hard to learn. Especially since waves are few and far between and it’s so difficult to get repetitions.

But surf skateboarding is much easier to learn because there are infinite concrete waves to be found.

Surfers love surf skateboarding because it allows them to practice surfing on land.

But surf skateboarding is for anyone who wants to enjoy the feel of surfing on land.

What’s the Best Surf Skateboard for You?


When deciding which surfskate is right for you, there are many factors to consider. These include:

  • Stance width
  • Budget
  • Experience & Skill Level
  • Function/Purpose
  • Riding Style
  • Riding Environment

My article on the best surfskates gives you my top recommendations.

Also, here are four steps for choosing the best surfskate for you.

Some surf skateboards are better for surf training specifically. Others are better for street cruising for non-surfers.

The surfskate trucks designed for surf training are very loose and more responsive to upper body movements. They work better for technical training in small areas, versus cruising for longer distances.

Other surf skateboards are built for street carving and cruising. They are therefore more stable and easier to learn.

I’ve personally tested more than 85 complete surf skateboards with 43 different surfskate trucks. After all my testing, I’ve boiled them down to what I believe are the best surfskates.

I put them on this scale ranging from pure surf trainers to street cruisers:

best surfskate trucks
My free Surfskate Selector app will help you choose the perfect surf skateboard for your size, experience, and riding style.