Z-Flex Surfskate with Waterborne Surf Adapter Review

by | Feb 10, 2023 | Surfskate Reviews

Z-Flex is an old school skateboard brand that has been around since 1975. They partnered with Waterborne to make surfskates using a Waterborne surf adapter on front. Are Z-Flex surfskates worth it? Find out in this review.
Watch My Z-Flex Surfskate Review on YouTube

Bottom Line Up Front

Z-Flex surfskates with Waterborne Surf Adapter work well as basic cruisers for beginners. However, they are limited to that, and I believe they’re overpriced for what you get.

The deck has low concave, a narrow rear foot placement, and no kicktail, which means you can’t use it for performance riding. The wheels are small and hard, which means you can’t ride it for long distances and over rough surfaces.

If Z-Flex surfskates were to be priced at $179 or less, I think they would be a solid option for beginners. But with them being priced over that, I believe you have better options.

I like how the Waterborne surf adapter feels and performs, and I include it in my list of the top 10 surfskate trucks.

However, one of my challenges with it is that it can be difficult to put together your own customized set-up. This is especially true for beginners.

For that reason, I think Z-Flex and Waterborne were smart to partner up and create complete surfskates under the Z-Flex brand, using a Waterborne surf adapter on the front truck. (Penny and Waterborne did the same thing with the Penny High-Line Surfskate.)

I find the Z-Flex surfskate with Waterborne surf adapter to be a great complete surfskate for beginners. It’s very functional and it rides very well. It’s both stable and carvey.

However, I also find it to be limited in functionality and overpriced for what it is.

Z-Flex offers a few different surfskate models. I bought the 31” Bamboo Fish.

z-flex surfskate
Z-Flex surfskates use a riser on the back instead of the Waterborne rail adapter. The difference is that a riser is much more stable for beginners, while the Waterborne rail adapter offers even deeper lean than you can get from the surf adapter alone.
waterborne rail adapter
waterborne surf adapter lean
I personally prefer to use a riser, rather than the rail adapter, with the Waterborne surf adapter. Reason being, I find that the surf adapter itself already has a deep lean. When you add the rail adapter, it makes that lean a bit too aggressive for me.

The Waterborne surf adapter is a bushing-based system, not a spring-based system. This means that the deeper you lean, the further it has to come back to center, and a bushing is just not as snappy coming back as a spring.

Having said that, I know that many riders prefer the rail adapter over a riser pad on rear.

The effect of the riser pad is that it makes Z-Flex surfskates a lot more stable for beginners.

The deck on the Z-Flex Bamboo Fish surfskate is 9.5” at the widest point, where your front foot is placed. At the back, it tapers down to 5.5”. It’s about 8” wide where your back foot is placed.

waterborne rail adapter
waterborne rail adapter
The deck does not have much concave at all.
waterborne rail adapter
The wheels are just 63 millimeters in diameter. This is relatively small for surfskate wheels, which are typically between 65 and 70 millimeters. Their 35 millimeter contact patch is also relatively narrow for surfskate wheels (in comparison, Carver Roundhouse wheels have a 48 millimeter contact patch).

They are also 83a durometer. This is relatively hard for surfskate wheels, which are typically between 78a and 81a.

waterborne rail adapter


When you put all the aspects of this Z-Flex surfskate together, what you have is a basic cruiser surfskate for beginners, and that’s pretty much it. It’s a surfskate that you would ride barefoot down the Strand.

The narrow rear foot placement and lack of concave on the deck mean it’s not built for performance riding or advanced maneuvers, like snaps, slides, or surfskate bowl riding.

Given that the wheels are small and hard, it means they’re not versatile. They’re good for one terrain only: smooth concrete. And you wouldn’t want to travel long distances on them.

I don’t recommend this board for intermediate or advanced riders because there are so many other options within the same price range that will work better for you.

So my bottom line on Z-Flex surfskates is that they work well, but their functionality is limited and they are overpriced for what they offer.

If you’re looking for a budget surfskate option, then my recommendation is the Carver Triton series with Carver CX trucks. A Carver Triton surfskate is cheaper than a Z-Flex surfskate and is much more versatile and higher quality.