The Top Surfskate Brands You Should Know
I’ve purchased and tested more than 60 surfskates from 27 companies in 11 countries around the world, which includes 28 different surfskate trucks. After my extensive testing, I’ve identified what I believe are the top surfskate brands below.
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I’m not a surfer and I can’t tell you which of the above surfskate trucks are the best for surf training. What I can do, however, is explain the measurable properties of each surfskate truck to help you narrow down your decision.
After testing all these surfskates, I view them on a scale ranging from “Pure Surf Trainers” on the one hand to “Street Cruisers” on the other hand. The further left on the scale the truck is, the more it has these properties:
- Smoother, looser, more fluid truck.
- More responsive to upper body movements.
- Less forward momentum with pumping, more lateral side-to-side motion.
- Better for small areas, smooth surfaces, and short distances.
- Less versatile.
- Better for surfers and intermediate to advanced riders.
The further right on the scale the truck is, the more it has these properties:
- Tighter, snappier truck.
- More responsive to lower body movements.
- More forward momentum with pumping.
- Better for street cruising over a wide variety of terrain and for longer distances.
- More versatile.
Better for non-surfers and beginners. I categorize the trucks in the middle as “hybrids,” which means they work great for both pure surf training and street cruising.
Pure Surf Trainers
These surfskates are best for pure surf training, as opposed to street cruising. This means they are better used for practicing technical maneuvers in small areas. The trucks are more loose and fluid than others, which means they are more responsive to upper body movements. They don’t generate as much forward momentum with pumping, which means they aren’t good for long distances.
SwellTech has one of the most creative and interesting surfskate truck systems with the widest range of motion possible — a full 360-degree rotation. This makes the SwellTech very difficult to ride.
SwellTech surfskates are not for beginners or those who just want to street surf. They are much more delicately balanced and touchy than other truck systems and are much better suited for advanced riders focusing on surf training.
They currently offer five surfskate models, ranging from 36″ to 40″ in length, and $219.99 to $252 in price.
The Curfboard is the product of German industrial designer Stephan Augustin. Augustin was hired by BMW for his knowledge and development of innovative skateboard kinematics in 1997 and worked in the automaker’s product design department.
The Curfboard runs on a patented 4-hinge suspension truck system. With no bushings or springs, this makes it the loosest surfskate truck on the market. However, while the pumping is effortless, it doesn’t pull you forward as much as a bushing or spring-based system.
Smoothstar surfskates are best-suited for performance surf training. They feel very similar to a YOW, with a very loose riding feel and tight carving. They are also relatively unstable and harder to begin on. Smoothstar focuses on pure shortboard surfing functionality and is recommended by Australian surf trainers.
Smoothstar offers over a dozen surfskate models, ranging from 30″ to 35.5″ in length.
Aquilo is a new company out of Bangkok, Thailand with a new surfskate truck.
The exterior housing of the Aquilo surfskate truck looks similar to the YOW Meraki. However, the YOW Meraki uses a coiled compression spring, while the Aquilo truck uses a softer tension spring that wraps around the inside of the truck housing.
As a result, the Aquilo feels somewhat similar to the YOW Meraki, but it feels softer and more fluid and has less rail-to-rail lean. The Aquilo truck is also heavier than the Meraki.
SpiceSkate is one of the newest surfskate brands on the market. Their spring-based TypeX surfskate adapter feels similar to the Smoothstar Thruster, but with a few notable differences.
SpiceSkate surfskates are made from high-quality materials and have a premium feel. With 24 models ranging from $369 to $429, they are the highest-priced surfskates on the market.
Hybrid Surf Trainers/Street Cruisers
These surfskates are excellent for both surf training and street cruising. They offer similar fluidity and range of motion as pure surf trainers, but with more forward momentum. This makes them better for longer distances than the pure surf trainers on the left of the scale.
YOW surfskates are loose, highly responsive and maneuverable, and allow for a radical surfing feel. In fact, they are one of the loosest surfskate trucks on the market. However, as a result they have less stability compared to other surfskate systems, such as Carver. This makes YOWs harder to push and commute on, but this is not what they were designed for.
YOW offers a 36 surfskate models, from 29″ to 38″ in length. Surfdome ships YOWs to the U.S. with free shipping, although their selection is limited
Carver is the original surfskate brand and by far the most well-known and popular. Anyone who’s ever ridden one knows why. They are the gold standard for everyday street surfers who want the most classic surfskate feel.
The Carver C7 is the first surfskate truck every invented and is intended to be a surf trainer. It is a dual-axis system, meaning it rotates on two plans of motion. The swivel arm uses a soft tension spring similar in feel to the Smoothstar Thruster.
The C7 is adjustable, which means you can use it both for surf training and for street cruising.
The Waterborne Surf Adapter is a great street surfing ride, and it allows for limitless customization options. You can put it on any style or size of deck and experiment with different trucks and wheels.
If you’re the kind of rider who loves tinkering with and fine-tuning your ride, the Waterborne Surf Adapter may be a good fit for you.
These surfskates are best for street cruising. Their surfskate truck doesn’t allow for the most technical surf training movements. However, they offer more stability and forward momentum. They are better for beginners and non-surfers.
The Carver CX is the most well-known and popular surfskate truck on the market.
Unlike Carver’s C7 spring-based surf trainer, the CX is a bushing-based street cruiser. It feels tighter and snapper than the C7. While it can be used for surf training, surfers may want to look at more of a pure surf trainer.
Founded in Spain, Slide Surfskates are among the most popular surfskate brands in Europe. Their U.S. distributor is Roller Derby.
They are touted as a competitor to Carver, with a feel approximating a Carver but at a cheaper cost. Think of them as the high-quality, affordable surfskate.
Slide surfskates are designed for all levels of skaters, and they’re easy to use. Their low truck height, tighter spring, and constrained turning angle of the front truck torsion system make them among the most stable and pushable surfskates.
Slide surfskates are perfect for beginning surfksaters, short-distance commuters, and carving lovers. Their surfskate models come in a variety of shapes and range in length from 30″ to 35″.
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