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Surfskate Buyer’s Guide: The Best Surfskates in 2023

by | Jan 3, 2022 | Choosing Your Surfskate, Surfskate Brands, Surfskate Trucks

With so many surfskate companies on the market, it’s hard to know which surfskate to buy. My 2023 surfskate buyer’s guide will save you time, money, and hassle by helping you choose the best surfskate for you.

I spent six months choosing my first surfskate. Since then, I’ve tested more than 60 surfskates from 27 companies in 11 countries around the world, which includes 30 different surfskate trucks. So I know how hard it can be to choose the best surfskate.

And in 2023, there are a lot of new surfskate trucks on the market you may be unfamiliar with. (Currently, I count 22 original surfskate trucks and over 50 companies selling some version of a surfskate.)

So in this surfskate buyer’s guide, I’ll reveal the top surfskates of 2023 to help you choose which surfskate to buy.

To save even more time, money, and hassle in choosing the best surfskate for you, get my free Surfskate Selector app now.

Let’s start buy narrowing down all the surfskate trucks and companies in the market down to the best surfksates.

I believe these 10 surfskate trucks to be the current top surfskate trucks (in alphabetical order):

  1. Aquilo
  2. Carver C7
  3. Carver CX
  4. Curfboard
  5. Slide V3
  6. Smoothstar Thruster D
  7. SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX
  8. SwellTech
  9. Waterborne Surf Adapter
  10. YOW Meraki

Each of these top surfskate trucks feels and performs differently, and is more suitable for specific applications.

I put them on a scale ranging from pure surf trainers on the one hand, to pure street cruisers on the other.

Pure surf trainer trucks are smoother, looser, more fluid and are easier to move side-to-side with your upper body. This means they are more suitable for doing tight maneuvers in small areas.

Pure street cruisers feel tighter and snappier. Though not as easy to generate lateral side-to-side motion, they generate more forward momentum when you pump. This means they are better for pumping and cruising for longer distances.

This is how I rank the top surfskates on this surfskate buyer’s guide scale:

best surfskate trucks

For more detailed descriptions of each of these top surfskates, see this article.

If you’re a surfer wanting a surfskate for surf training, then you’ll want a surfskate truck that is smooth, loose, and fluid.

You’ll be using it to perform surf training maneuvers in small areas and on smooth surfaces, such as tennis courts, parking lots, and driveways. You don’t need it to generate a lot of forward momentum when you pump. Instead, you want it to be more responsive to upper body movements.

In this case, I recommend one of these top surfskates:

SwellTech Surfskates: Pure Surf Trainer for Advanced Riders

The SwellTech is the “purist” surfskate truck with the most radical range of motion. Very difficult to ride, it is for the most advanced riders only who want to replicate the feel of surfing as closely as possible.

  • Required Skill Level: Advanced
  • Price: Truck not sold separately, $199.99 – $279.99 for complete SwellTech model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training for advanced riders who want to replicate the feel of surfing on land as much as possible.
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surfaces, short distance
  • Adjustable: No

Curfboard Surfskates: Pure Surf Trainer for Beginner Riders

The Curfboard surfskate truck uses two swiveling arms on hinges. It is the loosest surfskate truck on the market by far. The Curfboard is stable and rides low to the ground, which makes it great for beginners.

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $189 for truck set, $349 – $379 for complete Curfboard model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distance
  • Adjustable: No

Smoothstar Thruster D: Pure Surf Trainer for Beginner-Advanced Riders

The SmoothStar Thruster D is a complete redesign of the old Thruster 1. The Thruster D maintains the same loose, smooth, flowy feel you’re used to on the Thruster 1. However, it offers a bit more resistance, and therefore feels more like the YOW Meraki than the Thruster 1.

The biggest improvement on the Smoothstar Thruster D is that it offsets your wheelbase by 2.5″ less than the Thruster 1. This means that with the Thruster D, your Smoothstar deck can be 2.5″ shorter than if you’re using a Thruster 1. This makes your Smoothstar system lighter, more compact, more nimble.

smoothstar thruster d surfskate truck
  • Required Skill Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Price: Thruster D not sold separately, $269-$309 for complete Smoothstar Thruster D model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distances
  • Adjustable: Yes

Aquilo Surfskates: Pure Surf Trainer for Beginner-Intermediate Riders

The Aquilo from Bangkok, Thailand is one of the newest surfskate trucks on the market. It is built with an exterior housing that looks very similar to the YOW Meraki. However, in contrast to the Meraki, which has a coiled tension spring, the Aquilo uses two longitudinal springs that wrap around the inside of the truck housing. As a result, the Meraki feels tighter and snappier, while the Aquilo feels looser and smoother. Like the Smoothstar Thruster, the Aquilo also has a lot less rail-to-rail lean than the Meraki.

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Price: $212 – $245 for complete model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distances
  • Adjustable: Yes, by changing out the springs

SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX Surfskates: Pure Surf Trainer for Intermediate-Advanced Riders

The SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX has a coiled spring design similar to the YOW Meraki. It is very smooth and highly responsive and works extremely well for surf maneuvers in small areas. I recommend you only get the TypeX adapter, which comes with two springs, not the original SpicePilot, which only has one spring.

  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: SpicePilot TypeX not sold separately, $429 for complete TypeX model
  • Best Use: Pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Small areas, smooth surface, short distances
  • Adjustable: Yes (by changing out the springs)

If you want a surfskate that works well for both technical surf training and street cruising, you’re looking for something that is both smooth and fluid, but that also generates a lot of forward momentum when you pump.

You want to be able to use it both for technical surf maneuvers in small areas, and for cruising longer distances.

In this case, I recommend one of these top surfskates:

YOW Surfskates: Hybrid Surf Trainer & Street Cruiser for Intermediate-Advanced Riders

The YOW Meraki uses a coiled tension spring design to create what I consider to be one of the best surfskate trucks on the market for all uses. Because of the coiled spring, the Meraki feels simultaneously loose, flowy, and smooth, and tight and snappy. The snappy spring makes it easier to pump than either the Carver C7 or CX.

Unlike the Smoothstar Thruster, the YOW Meraki generates a lot of forward momentum. This means it can work very well as both a pure surf trainer in small areas and short distances, or as a long-distance cruiser.

  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: $190 for truck set, $254.95 – $279.95 for complete YOW model
  • Best Use: Excellent for both surf training and street cruising
  • Truck Feel: Simultaneously loose, flowy, and smooth, and tight and snappy
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: No

Carver C7 Surfskate: Hybrid Surf Trainer & Street Cruiser for Beginner-Advanced Riders

The C7 is Carver’s original surfskate front truck. It has a spring-loaded swiveling arm that allows for deep rail-to-rail leaning, which enables pumping and radical carving.

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Price: $178 for truck set, $285 for complete Carver C7 model
  • Best Use: Hybrid surf trainer/street cruiser for riders who want the flowy, surfy feel and wide range of motion, but with more forward momentum than other “pure surf trainer” trucks
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and both short distance training and longer distance cruising
  • Adjustable: Yes

Waterborne Surf Adapter: Hybrid Surf Trainer & Street Cruiser for Intermediate-Advanced Riders

As low as $59.99, the Waterborne Surf Adapter is designed to be retrofitted to any skateboard or longboard to instantly turn it into a surfskate. With a square bushing as its pivot point, the Waterborne surf adapter pumps well and has a very wide range of motion, very deep rail-to-rail lean, and creates a lot of forward momentum with pumping.

waterborne surf adapter
  • Required Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Price: $59.99 – $79.99 for Waterborne surf adapter with rear rail adapter, $222 – $499 for a complete Waterborne model
  • Best Use: Street cruiser for riders who want the pumping and carving of a surfskate truck and want the capability to do surf training as well
  • Truck Feel: Loose, flowy, smooth
  • Environment/Distance: Good for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: No

If you’re a non-surfer and you just want a surfskate for street cruising, you’re looking for something that is more stable and that generates good forward momentum when you pump. You’ll be riding for longer distances and over a wide range of terrain.

In this case, I recommend one of these top surfskates:

Carver CX Surfskate: Street Cruiser for Beginner to Intermediate Riders

The Carver CX is the most universal and popular surfskate truck on the market by far. It is a lightweight standard reverse kingpin hanger and base, but with a patented geometry that allows you to pump and carve like the C7, but with more stability.

  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $164 for truck set, $270 for complete Carver CX model
  • Best Use: Street cruiser for riders who want the pumping and carving of a surfskate truck but aren’t using it for pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Tight and snappy
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: Yes

Slide V3 Surfskate: Street Cruiser for Beginner to Intermediate Riders

The Slide V3 surfskate truck is a spring-based system without a kingpin bolt. It’s a stable truck that is excellent for beginners. It creates a lot of forward momentum with pumping, which makes it great for longer distance cruising. Slide is known as the best surfskate on a budget.

slide v3 surfskate truck
  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Price: $109.00 for truck set, $219.99 for complete Slide model
  • Best Use: Street cruiser for riders who want the pumping and carving of a surfskate truck but aren’t using it for pure surf training
  • Truck Feel: Tight and snappy
  • Environment/Distance: Great for all environments and short, medium, or long distances
  • Adjustable: Yes

The top surfskate systems listed in the surfskate buyer’s guide above above cost anywhere from $59.99 to $519.

So if budget is an important consideration for you, then I’ve listed the top surfskates in order of least expensive to most expensive:

Waterborne Surf Adapter: $59.99 – $79.99

Carver CX Surfskate: $164 for truck set, $170 for Triton model, $270 for Carver CX model

Slide Surfskate: $109.00 for truck set, $219.99 for complete Slide model

SwellTech Surfskate: Truck not sold separately, $199.99 – $279.99 for complete SwellTech model

YOW Surfskate: $190 for truck set, $254.95 – $279.95 for complete YOW model

Carver C7 Surfskate: $178 for truck set, $285 for complete Carver C7 model

Smoothstar Thruster D Surfskate: $269 – $309 for complete model

Curfboard Surfskate: $189 for truck set, $349 – $379 for complete Curfboard model

SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX Surfskate: $429 for complete model

Once you’ve determined which surfskate truck and company you want to go with, now it’s time to choose your surfskate model.

Obviously, in this surfskate buyer’s guide I can’t cover every surfskate model from every company. If you want me to tell you immediately which models will work best for you from your chosen company, get my free Surfskate Selector app now.

But if you want to do the work yourself, then this surfskate buyer’s guide will help.

The first thing you need to understand is that the most important specification on a surfskte is the wheelbase measurement. This is the measurement between the inner bolts on the deck.

The reason why wheelbase matters so much on a surfskate is because of how surfskate trucks work.

If your deck wheelbase measurement is too narrow for your stance width, then you will be weighted too far forward on the front truck, which puts you at a risk of jackknifing and crashing.

If the deck wheelbase measurement is too wide for your stance width, your surfskate will be rideable, but harder to pump.

This means that the surfskates that work best for you are the surfskates with a wheelbase that most closely matches your stance width.

However, there’s a caveat to that: some surfskate trucks are designed to hang back from the axel further than others. This means that some surfskate trucks change the wheelbase measurement, and therefore require longer decks.

For a full explanation of why wheelbase matters so much on surfskates, watch these surfskate buyer’s guide videos:

If you want me to save you time, money, and hassle by telling you exactly which surfskate models are best for you from the top surfskate companies, get my free Surfskate Selector app now.

For more help with choosing which surfskate to buy, watch my surfskate buyer’s guide videos on YouTube: