What Are The Best Surfskates? (Brand Comparisons)

By Billy James | Updated: April 24, 2023 | Edu

Picking the right surfskate brand is a challenge.

A board that doesn’t fit your riding style will be frustrating.

Once you narrow down the brand that fits your riding style, check how to choose a surfskate. We cover deck shape, wheelbase, and wheel characteristics.


Classifying one surfskate brand as the “best” is impossible because everyone has their own riding style. I’d recommend looking into Carver, YOW, Smoothstar, Waterborne or Slide. They each offer a unique feel that will cover most riding styles.

Let’s go over each popular surfskate brand, starting with…

Carver Skateboards

HQ: Venice, California
Year Founded: 1996
Trucks: C7, CX & C5

Carver Skateboards is the pioneer of the modern surfskate scene. Most surfskate systems are inspired from Carver trucks.

Carver is a bit more versatile than other brands, making them solid for beginners. I’ll ride my Carver if I want to get into surfy carves, but still feel comfortable taking it more than a few blocks.

YOW Surf

HQ: Basque Country, Spain
Year Founded: 2014
Trucks: Meraki & Legasee

YOW Surf is the brainchild of HLC Distribution. The Meraki surf adapter lets you carve deep and pump from a standstill. It feels natural to pump, gain speed and perform cut-backs. Their Legasee truck is a bushing-based, more stable cruiser design.


HQ: Costa Mesa, California
Year Founded: 2016

Waterborne took a different approach and focused on reinventing the surf adapter. They figured out how to make it as universal and affordable as possible.

Instead of making it spring-based, they use a cube bushing. Waterborne is an affordable way to reinvent one of your setups thats collecting dust.


HQ: NSW, Australia
Year Founded: 2004

Recommended for lowkey, technical surf training. It’s not a surfskate to ride more than a few blocks because of their adapter’s sensitivity.

Like Carver and Slide, Smoothstar uses an adjustable tension spring. As a result, riding feels consistent and smooth when carving.


HQ: Irún, Spain
Year Founded: 2008

The brainchild of the Sancheski company.

Slide’s adapter uses an adjustable spring, like Carver and Smoothstar. You can adjust the spring by turning the nut.

Slide is a good option if you want a surfskate that won’t break the bank and is beginner-friendly. It’s more mellow compared to most of the other surf pivoting adapters.


HQ: Munich, Germany
Year Founded: 2016

Curfboard created a swiveling design, which offers an insane amount of pivot. It swivels back and forth like the handles on a bicycle.

They are very easy to pump from a standstill. It almost reminds me of the motion of a ripstick/ripsurf.


HQ: Huntington Beach, California
Year Founded: 2012

Hamboards takes a different approach, with a spring-based truck in both the front and back.

Their boards carve rail-to-rail aggressively making it harder to generate speed from pumping.

They are best used on lowkey downhill slopes for consistent momentum. Or on flat roads using their land paddles.


One of the most extreme approaches to the spring-based surfskate adapters. Their design allows their adapter to rotate 360 degrees.

SwellTech isn’t for beginners. It can jackknife if you don’t have the proper technique. Some claim it is the closest feeling to surfing on land. The learning curve for SwellTech is the steepest.

Billy James

I've been skating for over 20 years - it's been a lifelong passion. Our mission at Concrete Waves is to fuel the growth of all genres of skateboarding.

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