What Is A Surfskate? (Explained)

By: Billy James | August 17, 2023 | Surfskates

The concept of skateboards mimicking the feeling of surfing dates back to its roots, but in recent years, surfskates have made a comeback with a modern twist.

So what is a surfskate?

In the simplest terms, a surfskate is a type of skateboard that mimics the feeling of surfing on land. Depending on the brand, it could have a spring-based or bushing-based pivoting adapter.

How does a surfskate work?

Most surfskates have a spring-based pivoting adapter that attaches to the front truck. As a result, your turning radius increases dramatically. Most popular surfskates allow you to pump from a standstill.

Let’s take a look at the YOW surfskate adapter.

yow meraki surfskate adapter

Notice how the truck hangar is attached to their surf adapter? That surf adapter has a coil spring inside, making the truck pivot side to side. This allows you to get into a pumping motion, similar to pumping down the line on a surfboard.

The back trucks are usually traditional kingpin (TKP) trucks.

Is it hard to learn surfskating?

When compared to setups that use reverse kingpin (RKP) trucks and traditional kingpin (TKP) trucks, surfskates are more challenging to learn. This is because they’re not as stable.

Is it possible for a beginner to surfskate? Sure, but there are more functional ways to build a foundation. In my opinion, start by longboarding, and once you’re comfortable, ease into surfskating.

If you’re unsure if a surfskate is right for you, reference our surfskate vs longboard post.

Do surfskates help with surfing?

In my opinion, yes, surfskates can help improve your surfing. Based on my experience, the ability to repeat the same maneuvers has helped me build a solid foundation. It helped me realize the importance of engaging my upper body. Don’t expect never to surf a day in your life and then surfskates will make you a pro. There are so many variables in surfing that don’t apply to surfskating.

No two waves are the same, and the physics are different, so it’s never gonna be better than actually surfing. But there are a lot of landlock surfers out there.

It’s also worth noting that while surfskates were born to mimic the feeling of surfing, there’s a large percentage of surfskaters that have never surfed a day in their life. Surfskates offer a soulful experience that anyone can connect with.

Type Of Surfskates

So, what type of surfskates are there?

Spring Adapters

Most people that refer to ‘surfskates’ are talking about the ones with spring-based pivoting adapters.

Just like the YOW adapter I showed you above. These adapters use different types of springs (tension & coil). But there are exceptions, like Waterborne, which uses a urethane bushing.

Similar concept, just a different approach.

Spring-Based Brands

Bushing Based

The second type is bushing-based surfskates. These designs are similar to traditional/reverse kingpin setups but tweaked further to get a surfy feel.

For example, Carver CX doesn’t have a spring but rather unique bushings and geometry. It carves deeper than a cruiser skateboard but is mellower compared to a spring-based adapter.

Bushing-based Brands

Reference this post for a more detailed description of the best surfskate brands.

Billy James

I've been skating for over 20 years and it's had an incredibly positive impact on my life. My mission is to get more people into skating and help them carry it as a lifelong passion.

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