Surfskate Beginner Basics: Tuning Up Your Surfskate & Staying Safe

by | Jan 15, 2022 | Surfskate Maintenance, Surfskating Basics, Surfskating Tips

If you’re a surfskate beginner, learn from my mistakes and experience. Use these tips for surfskate beginners to keep your board running smooth and your bones in one piece.

Watch My Surfskate Beginner Basics on YouTube

I never stepped foot onto any type of skateboard until March of 2020, when COVID rocked the world. I was 43 years old.

I spent that summer falling in love with longboard cruising. Until I bought my first surfskate on October 15, 2020. Once I stepped onto a surfskate, I was immediately done with longboarding, and I’ve never looked back.

And since I’ve never surfed, I’ve started from scratch, both in terms of any board experience at all, as well as surfskating specifically.

My point is this: For the past couple years, I’ve been a surfskate beginner, just like you. From much personal experience:

  • I know how confusing it is to try to choose the best surfskate for you.
  • I know how hard and embarrassing it is to learn how to ride a surfskate.
  • I know how bad it hurts to wipe out without protective gear.
  • I know how intimidating it can be to learn surfskate maintenance when you’ve never taken apart any skateboard.

So let me use my mistakes and experience to get you started right as a surfskate beginner, and save you time, money, hassle, and pain in your surfskating journey.

For help with learning how to ride your surfskate, check out my video course for surfskate beginners, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.”

Surfskate Beginner Tip #1: Wear protective gear!

As a surfskate beginner, I can promise you that you need to be prepared to crash. If you skate for any amount of time at all, it’s just inevitable.

I highly recommend that surfskate beginners wear protective gear, including:

  • Helmet
  • Wrist guards.
  • Elbow pads.
  • Knee pads.
  • Hip pads.

I use a Triple 8 helmet, Pro-Tec knee and elbow pads, and 187 Killer wrist guards. I use Bodyprox hip pads, but there are many options on Amazon. (These are not affiliate links. I don’t recommend any particular brand of protective gear, just that you buy it and wear it!)

Hip pads are important for surfskating specifically. In all the time I’ve been surfskating, my hips are what I have hurt the most, and it happens when my surfskate truck jackknifes and I’m tossed from my surfskate.

I never surfskate in bowls, on pump tracks, or any transitions without wearing hip pads.

Instead of lecturing you, let me just show you a few of my own surfskating wounds, many of which could have been avoided with protective gear:

Surfskate Beginner Tip #2: Get a surfskate maintenance toolkit.

Every surfskate beginner should learn how to tune up and maintain your surfskate. Like anything with moving parts, the better you maintain your surfskate, the longer it will last.

The first step is having the right tools. The basic toolkit for a surfskate beginner should include the following (links below are not affiliate links):

  • Skate tool. Preferably one that includes a bearing tool.
  • Bones Speed Cream. This lubricant will keep your bearings and other moving parts running smoothly.
  • Household paraffin wax. Put a few shavings in your pivot cup to stop any squeaking in the board.
  • Isopropyl alcohol. You’ll use this to clean your bearings and other moving parts.
  • Marine grease or white lithium grease. You’ll need grease to lubricate springs in surfskate trucks like the YOW Meraki.
  • Socket wrench set.
  • Electric drill with Allen bits and Phillips bits.

*DO NOT USE WD-40 IN SURFSKATE MAINTENANCE. It attracks dirt and dries out.

Surfskate Beginner Tip #3: Stop squeaking in your pivot cup.

Of the more than 60 surfskates I’ve tested so far, pretty much all of them has had a squeak right out of the box. And 95% of the time, that squeak comes from the pivot cup.

So before I ride a new surfskate, the first thing I do is get rid of that pivot cup squeak. Surfskate beginners can easily do this by putting wax shavings in the pivot cup.

Use your skate tool to remove the kingpin nut by turning it counterclockwise.

Next, remove the washer and bushing. You may need to wiggle the truck a little to loosen the bushing.

The truck will come right off and you will have access to the boardside bushing and pivot cup.
Fill the pivot cup with a few shavings of paraffin wax, put the truck back on, and then place the bushing on the kingpin bolt.
Don’t forget to remember how everything was put together. Take a picture of the truck before you start so you can reattach the truck without any difficulties.

Surfskate Beginner Tip #4: Learn how to adjust your surfskate truck.

I’ve had a lot of surfskate beginners ask me if I adjust my surfskate truck. My answer is, “I’m always adjusting.”

One important part of the process of learning surfskating is dialing in on your personal preferences. So you need to know how to adjust your particular surfskate truck, and then you need to experiment with it to find what you like.

Adjusting a Carver CX is easy: you just tighten or loosen the kingpin nut.

Other surfskate trucks have two adjustments on them. Read these articles to learn how to adjust your surfskate truck:

How to Adjust the Carver C7 Surfskate Truck
How to Adjust Slide and Flow Surfskate Trucks

Surfskate Beginner Tip #5: Inspect wheels and bearings to make sure they’re spinning properly.

Before I ride a surfskate, I always make sure my wheels and bearings are spinning freely.

This is done simply by turning the board over, spinning all the wheels, and identifying any wheels that stop prematurely. If they do, I just loosen up the axle nut slightly, just enough for them to spin freely.

I also recommend that surfskate beginners take your wheels and bearings off to understand the parts.

Loosen and remove the axle nut.

On top of the wheel bearing you should see a speed ring.

This is followed by your wheel bearings, and then another speed ring between the bearings and the axle.

Your wheel bearings can be removed and replaced using either a bearing tool on a skate tool, or your wheel axle. This must be done carefully so you don’t ruin your bearings.

Watch this video for instructions on how to remove, maintain, and replace your surfskate wheel bearings:

With those surfskate beginner tips, you’re ready to ride!

For video tutorials on learning how to surfskate, check out my video course, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.”