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Surfskate vs Longboard (Explained)

By Billy James | Updated: August 17, 2023 | Edu

Many are confused about whether to choose a surfskate vs longboard.

If that sounds like you, you’re in the right place.

I’ve been riding both for many years and will help clear up your confusion.

surfskate vs longboard

What’s the difference between a surfskate and longboard?

A surfskate uses a specific front truck that swivels back and forth. They’re higher off the ground, efficient for pumping flat ground, and heavier. While there are many variations of longboards, the average longboard uses reverse kingpin (RKP) trucks. RKP longboard setups will be lower to the ground, efficient for higher speeds, and better suited for beginners.

Before I get into the comparisons, it’s important to note that you can use surfskate trucks on a longboard. This blurs the line between a “surfskate” and “longboard”. So I’ll cover the characteristics of surfskates and longboards, then discuss the best way to turn a longboard into a surfskate.


One of the biggest differences is the height difference between a surfskate and a longboard.

Surfskates sit much higher off the ground than longboards. The reason is that surfskates pivot, and carve deeper, which increases your chances of wheelbite. To avoid wheelbite, surfskates have thicker riser pads (1-2″ range). As a result, they sit higher off the ground than longboards, making it harder to kick push for extended periods of time.

They’re also heavier because surfskates use an adapter attached to the trucks. More parts = more maintenance.

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Can you turn a longboard into a surfskate?

Yes, you can turn your longboard into a surfskate. However, in my opinion, mixing a larger wheelbase with a front surfskate adapter and a traditional kingpin (TKP) in the back can feel disconnected. It’s important to note this is subjective, but that’s my experience.

Don’t worry; there are still ways to do it!

But wait before spending more money; there’s a cheaper way to get your longboard to carver harder.

Bushings & Angled Risers

There are three things you can do to make your longboard feel surfier.

Try those before investing in a set of surfskate trucks. Make sure to test for wheelbite.

Carver CX

Carver CX is a great way to turn your longboard surfier. It’s a bushing-based RKP front and TKP back made by Carver Skateboards. They work incredibly well with longer wheelbases. I used a CX setup on my electric surfskate, and it feels like riding an endless wave.

Waterborne’s Rail Adapter

Waterborne’s rail adapter will add more lean to your back truck if you want to use a front surfskate adapter. The biggest issue with front surfskate adapters on longer wheelbases is that they turn more than the back truck. As a result, there is this disconnecting feeling.

Bottom Line

If you want to ride more casual; flat areas, mellow hills, then a surfskate would make sense.

If you want something that can handle speed better or something a little more beginner-friendly, then a longboard would make sense.

If you want to turn your longboard into a surfskate, first experiment with your bushings and angled riser pads. Then depending on how pumpy you want your setup, go for the Carver CX or Waterborne Rail Adapter.

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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