0

The Top Surfskate Brands You Should Know

by | Dec 23, 2020 | Choosing Your Surfskate, Surfskate Brands

Trying to decide which surfskate to buy? Start by knowing these top surfskate brands.

I came from a longboarding background. Then I discovered surfskating videos and was immediately sucked in.

I knew I wanted a surfskate. But I didn’t know which of the top surfskates was right for me. There were so many options available and so little good information about any of them.

Furthermore, as everyone knows, reading an online review or even watching a video is one thing. But actually riding a board and feeling it for yourself is another.

So I spent months researching online all the top surfskate brands and models. I finally decided on the Carver Tyler 777 36.5″.

I fell in love with surfskating and I’ve never touched a longboard since—they’re just no fun for me anymore after discovering surfskating.

Since then, I’ve purchased and tested more than 60 surfskates from 28 companies in 11 countries around the world, which includes 30 different surfskate trucks.

Here’s my point: I know how hard it is to choose the right surfskate. And I’ve done exhaustive research and testing to demystify the top surfskate brands for you and to help you zero in on the best surfskate for you.

In fact, I can make it very simple for you right now. Simply go through my free Surfskate Selector app and in 8 questions I’ll tell you exactly the best surfskate for you and your riding style.

Top Surfskate Brands from Around the World

After my extensive research and testing, here are the top surfskate brands I think most surfskaters should consider buying (listed 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

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

I’m a non-surfer, so I obviously don’t know which of these top surfskates are best for surf training. But I can describe how each of them feel and perform to point you in the right direction.

After testing these top surfskates, I view them on a scale ranging from pure surf trainers on the one hand, to pure street cruisers on the other.

Compared to the street cruiser surfskate trucks, the pure surf trainer surfskate trucks:
 

  • Feel smoother, looser, and more fluid.
  • Respond more easily to movements from your upper body (hips, shoulders, and arms).
  • When you pump, they generate more lateral side-to-side motion, versus pulling you forward.
  • Work best for doing tight surf maneuvers in small areas and for short distances.

 
On the other hand, the pure street cruising surfskate trucks:
 

  • Feel tighter and snappier.
  • Respond more easily to lower body movements — in fact, they require more input from your ankles and knees than the pure surf training trucks.
  • When you pump, they pull you forward better, versus the lateral side-to-side motion you get from the pure surf trainers.
  • This means they are better for riding longer distances and covering a wider range of terrain.

 
This is how I rank the top surfskates on this scale:

best surfskate trucks

Top Surfskate Brands for Surf Training

 
Based on the properties listed above, these are the top surfskates that I categorize as “pure surf trainers”:
 

  1. SwellTech
  2. Curfboard
  3. Smoothstar
  4. Aquilo
  5. SpiceSkate

SwellTech Surfskates

waterborne surf adapter
SwellTech, YOW, and Smoothstar are in the same class: the purest surf trainers for advanced riders.

The SwellTech surfskate truck system offers the widest range of motion possible–a full 360-degree rotation.

SwellTech surfskates are not for beginners or everyday street surfers. They have a delicate balance and are better suited for advanced riders focusing on surf training.
 

  • Country of Origin: U.S.
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes
  • Price: $199.99-$279.99
  • Pros: The widest range of motion on any surfskate truck, claimed by its surfer fans to be the “purest” surf trainer.
  • Cons: Delicate and touchy. You really have to pay attention on a SwellTech. You can’t use their surfskate trucks on any other set-up because of their unique three-bolt pattern.
  • Best Use: Surf training for advanced riders.

Curfboard Surfskates

The Curfboard surfskate truck is an innovative design that uses neither bushings nor springs, but instead, two swiveling arms on hinges. Pumping is effortless on the Curfboard because it is the loosest surfskate truck on the market by far. At higher speeds, the truck becomes more stable and prevents speed wobbles. The Curfboard surfskate truck is also lower to the ground than any other system.
 

  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Available in the U.S: Yes.
  • Price: $189 for truck set, $349 – $379 for complete Curfboard model
  • Pros: Since it has no springs or bushings, it is the loosest surfskate truck system on the market by far. It is very responsive to upper body movements and easy to pump, and has a very tight turning radius. It is also low to the ground and very stable for beginners.
  • Cons: Expensive, relatively low rail-to-rail lean, rattles over rough surfaces.
  • Best Use: Pure surf training

Smoothstar Surfskates (Thruster 1 and Thruster D Systems)

Smoothstar is very popular in Australia and Japan. Their patented Thruster 1 and Thruster D surfskate trucks are not sold separately, but only on one of their complete surfskates.

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.

 

  • Country of Origin: Australia
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes
  • Price: $269 – $309
  • Pros: High quality. Excellent surf trainers.
  • Cons: Not good for everyday cruising/street surfing.
  • Best Use: Surf training.

Aquilo Surfskates

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.
 

  • Country of Origin: Thailand
  • Available in the U.S.: They ship to the U.S. from Thailand, but you pay a premium for shipping.
  • Price: $212 – $245 for complete model
  • Pros: Well-built truck with an extremely smooth and fluid feel. Great surf trainer. Stable for beginners. Trucks sold separately.
  • Cons: Comparatively low rail-to-rail lean. Does not generate a lot of forward momentum, so it’s not great for everyday cruising/street surfing. Expensive and hard to get in the U.S. Not the highest-quality component parts.
  • Best Use: Surf training in small areas.

SpiceSkate Surfskates (Okto and TypeX Systems)

SpiceSkate offers three different surfskate trucks: their original SpicePilot, the SpicePilot TypeX, and the Okto.

The original SpicePilot comes with just one spring, which is very loose. Their second version, the TypeX, adds another spring with more tension and the springs are interchangeable. I find the original spring far too loose and soft, and strongly recommend the TypeX over the original.

I view the SpiceSkate SpicePilot TypeX as the direct competitor to the Smoothstar Thruster. It is a coiled spring design somewhat similar to the YOW Meraki. However, it is looser and has less rail-to-rail lean than the Meraki, and doesn’t create nearly as much forward momentum with pumping. However, it is very smooth and highly responsive and works extremely well for surf maneuvers in small areas.

The SpiceSkate Okto is the most advanced and expensive surfskate system on the market. The truck houses what they call a “capsule,” consisting of two round metal pieces suspended by eight small springs. It feels incredibly smooth and has very high rebound and is best suited for bowl riding.
 

  • Country of Origin: U.S.
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes
  • Price: $429 – $519
  • Pros: Excellent trucks with an extremely smooth and fluid feel. High-quality parts that will last forever. Ideal surf trainer.
  • Cons: The most expensive surfskates on the market. Does not generate a lot of forward momentum, so it’s not great for everyday cruising/street surfing.
  • Best Use: Surf training in small areas.

Top Surfskates for Hybrid Surf Training & Street Cruising

 
Based on the properties listed above, I categorize the following top surfskates as “hybrid surfskates.” By “hybrid,” I mean that they can do it all — they can be used for both pure surf training as well as general street cruising.
 

  1. YOW
  2. Carver C7
  3. Waterborne Surf Adapter

YOW Surfskates

slide v3 surfskate truck
YOW, which stands for “Your Own Wave,” is one of the top surfskate brands in the market. YOW is based in Spain, the epicenter of European surf culture. Designed primarily for surf training, YOW is one of the leading surfskate brands in the market.

YOW surfskates are loose, highly responsive and maneuverable, and allow for a radical surfing feel. In fact, they are one of the loosest and smoothest surfskate trucks on the market. YOW offers a wide range of surfskates, from 29″ to 40″ in length.
 

  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes
  • Price: $254.95 – $279.95
  • Pros: Excellent feel. High quality. Excellent surf trainers, but also very versatile.
  • Cons: 1.75″ wheelbase offset means you need longer decks.
  • Best Use: Surf training or street surfing for advanced riders

Carver C7 Surfskates

Carver is the original surfskate brand and the most well-known and popular.

If you’ve ridden a Carver, you know why. They are hard to beat for everyday street surfers who want the most classic surfskate feel. If I had to recommend just one surfskate brand to someone, it would be a Carver.

They offer two surfskate trucks: their original C7 surfskate truck and their newer CX surfskate truck. The C7 is heavier, looser, flowier, more suitable for advanced riders and surf training. The CX is lighter, tighter, most stable, more suitable for everyday street surfing.
 

  • Country of Origin: U.S.
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes
  • Price: $$285
  • Pros: The original classic surfskate feel. High quality. A guaranteed fantastic ride. Many models to choose from to suit your size and style. Lifetime warranty.
  • Cons: Can be hard to choose a model from their large selection.
  • Best Use: Anything from pure surf training to general street cruising.

Waterborne Surf Adapter

waterborne surf adapter

Waterborne had a smart idea: Instead of building complete surfskates, they created a surfskate truck adapter that can be fitted to any skateboard, longboard, or surfskate deck. It makes your board turn at least three times sharper and allows you to pump the board, but without losing the specific characteristics and riding feel of your original setup.

The Waterborne Surf Adapter is as good of a surfing ride as any surfskate on the market. It also 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 is perfect for you.

 

  • Country of Origin: U.S.
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes
  • Price: $59.99 – $79.99 for surf adapter and rail adapter, $222 – $499 for complete Waterborne model
  • Pros: Rides smooth and has an excellent range of motion. You can customize it using any set-up you want.
  • Cons: If you don’t like customizing and want a complete surfskate out of the box, the Waterborne is not for you. It’s also a bit of a challenge to install.
  • Best Use: Everyday street surfing for riders who like customizing their ride.

Top Surfskates for Street Cruising

 
Based on the properties listed above, I categorize the following top surfskates as “street cruiser surfskates.” This does not mean you cannot use them as surf trainers. Rather, it means they are more versatile than pure surf trainers. They generate more forward momentum and are therefore better for riding longer distances and over a wider variety of terrain.
 

  1. Carver CX
  2. Slide

Carver CX Surfskates

Compared to the Carver C7 surfskate truck, the CX is lighter, tighter, most stable, more suitable for everyday street surfing.
 

  • Country of Origin: U.S.
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes
  • Price: $270
  • Pros: The original classic surfskate feel. High quality. A guaranteed fantastic ride. Many models to choose from to suit your size and style.
  • Cons: Not the purest surf training trucks, if that’s what you’re looking for. Can be hard to choose a model from their large selection.
  • Best Use: Everyday street surfing for riders of any size, skill level, or riding style.

Slide Surfskates

waterborne surf adapter
Founded in Spain, Slide Surfskates are among the most popular surfskate brands in Europe. They are touted as a competitor to Carver, with a feel approximating a Carver but at a much 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.

Their surfskate models come in a variety of shapes and range in length from 30″ to 35″.

 

  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • Available in the U.S.: Yes, but only through dealers
  • Price: $219.99
  • Pros: Affordable high-quality. Stable. Work well for all skill levels.
  • Cons: Not the best range of motion or the smoothest surfskate trucks.
  • Best Use: Perfect for beginners, short-distance commuters, and carving lovers.