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November 23

Surf Skating: Does It Work? And Is It ACTUALLY Good For your Surfing?

EQUIPMENT, SURF

Surf Skating is a relatively new phenomenon, but boy has it caught on.

So much so in fact, that surf skate manufacturers across the world are struggling to meet supply with demand.

Pretty crazy right!

But what is this whole surf skate thing anyway, and is it actually any good for your surfing?

Or is it all one big hoax?

Let's find out...


WHAT IS SURF SKATING

Surf skating is a form of skateboarding that replicates the experience of surfing on a wave in the ocean, on dry land.

And because it’s an activity that can be done irrespective of the elements, it’s something that you can practice again, and again, allowing you to refine, repeat, and perfect your technique until you get it right.

What’s more, unlike surfing the ocean with its ever changing canvas (literally no two waves will ever be the same), the surface whilst you’re surf skating will always be the same.

And it’s this consistent learning environment that allows you to make big improvements, fast.


IS SURF SKATING HARD?

Surf skating isn’t hard par-se, but it is something that’ll take a little getting used to.

If you’re someone that has some skating experience already, and you surf too, you should find the transition relatively straight forward when learning the basics.

But getting good at surf skating however is a different story, and will take considerable practice to perfect.


DOES SURF SKATE IMPROVE YOUR SURFING?

Yes, surf skating does improve your surfing.

It helps because it gives you the opportunity to replicate and refine the body mechanics of what you do in the water consistently. 

As these movements are practiced on dry land they’re internalised, and when you hit the water the body is pre-programmed to move in the right ways, taking things out of your head and into instinct.

Surf skating won’t improve your surfing however if you don’t actually go surfing often, because even though there are many similarities between the two, there’s still no supplement for the real thing.

Think of it as an accelerator…

In and of itself it won’t help you improve, but when combined with regular surfing it’ll accelerate your surfing progress for sure.


ARE SURF SKATES GOOD FOR BEGINNERS?

The short answer is yes, surf skates are good for beginners.

But in truth, it’s a little more nuanced than that.

Here’s why.

You see, most of the movements that are made on a surf skate generally replicate the movements of a more advanced surfer, things like pumping for speed, big bottom turns and cutbacks - yet as a beginner surfer, these types of manoeuvres are not quite in your repertoire just yet.

So does that mean the surf skates are no good if you’re just a beginner?

Nah, not at all.

With most of us spending the majority of our time sitting at a desk, or lying down, at the very least they’re going to help with your balance and agility in general - keeping you mobile and active.

And at best they’re going to prep your body mechanics in the right way for when you’re ready to tackle more advanced manoeuvres down the track.


WHAT ARE THE BEST SURF SKATE BRANDS?

Buying the right surf skate can be a bit of a labyrinth if you’re not sure what to look for, so below I’ll be dissecting the best surf skate brands, and what to expect from each:


SMOOTHSTAR

Designed in Australia, Smoothstars are definitely one of the best surf skate brands out there.

Endorsed by top rated surfers like Filipe Toledo and Johanne Defay these boards really do a great job of replicating the surfing experience on land.

PROS

  • Super high quality.
  • Exceptional at mimicking surfing on land.
  • Range of different sizes to suit different needs.

CONS

  • Expensive (expect to pay premium prices).
  • Hard to push.
  • Steep learning curve.
  • Not good for cruising down hills.

MY THOUGHTS... FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH!

Smoothstar surf skates are built for one thing, and one thing only, and that's replicating surfing on land.

And in this department, they're top of the pack for sure.  

One thing to note though is that they're very shortboard focused, so the feeling you'll get riding these boards is that of a performance shortboard.

So if you're a longboarder looking for a slightly different sensation then these probably aren't for you.

But if you're a shortboarder however, and you want the most real surf-like experience you'll find Smoothstars hard to beat.


OFFICIAL WEBSITE: https://www.smoothstar.com/



SLIDER

Sliders are manufactured in the Basque region of Spain (damn I love that area), with much of the production of parts happening in and around the area too which is a rarity, as almost everything else is made in China.

Sliders are a real good hybrid between surf skate and cruiser.

They have the manoeuvrability of a surf skate - the ability to pump, carve, and do cutbacks - but they're also easy to push too.

PROS

  • Super high quality.
  • Awesome for cruising around from a to b.
  • Easy to push.
  • Work great on pump tracks and ramps.

CONS

  • Not quite as manoeuvrable. 
  • Can't turn as tightly as other brands.

MY THOUGHTS... FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH!

If I had to pick one board as an allrounder I'd pick the Slider.

It's epic for just cruising around, checking the surf, and all that good stuff.  And they're sick for riding the skateparks too.

So if you're looking for an all-rounder then this is the board for you.


OFFICIAL WEBSITE: https://slidesurfskates.com/



CARVER

Carver surf skates were the first brand to really focus on delivering a surfing experience on a skateboard.

Designed and tested in America they have a deep history in the sport and a huge range of options to choose from.

PROS

  • Huge range to choose from.
  • Relatively affordable.
  • Endorsed by surf pros.

CONS

  • Cheaper materials and construction.
  • Don't have the high level truck technology of other brands.

MY THOUGHTS... FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH!

Carvers are built for mass market, which is great because they're certainly cheaper than some of the other brands, but with that comes a drop in quality.

Sure they're epic to get started with if you've never skated before, and they're decent at mimicking surfing too, but they're just not quite there in comparison to some of the other surf skate brands out there.

Good as an allrounder, also for someone that doesn't want to drop top dollar on new equipment too.




SWELL TECH

Swell Tech is kinda the new kid on the block, and they're certainly shaking things up.

Endorsed by Jamie Obrien, they've taken a unique, novel approach to their truck design that from the outside in looks incredible.

PROS

  • Insane new truck technology.
  • High quality components.
  • Endorsed by surf pros.

CONS

  • Not great for going down hills. 
  • Hard to push.
  • Steeper learning curve.

MY THOUGHTS... FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH!

In truth I've never tried a Swell Tech Surf Skate so it's hard to have too much of an opinion.

But from what I can see from the video footage of these boards they look like the real deal, and a great option for replicating the surfing experience.

They look a little bit strange in the way they ride if I'm honest, but like I said I've never ridden one myself so I'll reserve any opinions until I've given them a test drive.


OFFICIAL WEBSITE: https://surfskate.com/



WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SURF SKATE AND A CRUISER?

Surf skates and cruisers may look very similar on the outside, but they're actually quite different when you get into the nitty gritty of it all.


CRUISER SKATEBOARDS

Cruiser skateboards are designed for cruising down hill, carving from side to side, and are great for riding along smooth flat surfaces too.

The front and back trucks are fairly traditional and are both constructed in the same way (surf skates are quite different in this regard).

They’re great for cruising from place to place, but they don’t replicate the feel of surfing all that much.


SURF SKATES

Surf skates are designed with one purpose in mind - to replicate the feeling of surfing. This makes them great for pumping around on flat surfaces and pump tracks, but they're not so great riding down steeper hills.

The reason for this is the way the trucks are constructed, with the front truck being incredibly loose making riding at speed more of a challenge as speed wobbles come into play.

Surf skates are amazing at one thing - mimicking the feeling or riding a wave, but generally speaking they’re not so good at riding from place to place as generally speaking speed is generated without pushing (speed is generated by pumping instead), which can be strenuous riding long distances.


WRAPPING IT UP

Surf skating is a craze that has swept the world over in recent years, and for good reason.

  • It's epic for your balance.
  • It's incredible for building surf specific muscle memory.
  • It's something you can practice anytime, anywhere.
  • And... it's frickin fun as hell!

Will it help improve your surfing?

Damn right it will.

So what are you waiting for!

P.S. For in-person surf skate tuition go check out our structured 5-week Surf Skate Programs for absolute beginners (like even if you've never even stepped on a skateboard before), to intermediate shredders.

Here's the links for more:

💥 Beginner Surf Skate Program

💥 Improver Surf Skate Program


ROWAN CLIFFORD

Rowan is the nerd behind the scenes.  But when he's not knee-deep in code, you'll find him immersed in the crypto-world or sending it at his local beachie.

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  • Hi – I have a Carver Greenroom as well as a Smoothstar 77. They are both great. The Carver is not in any way lower quality or cheaper materials. The deck is actually tougher than the Smoothstar. It’s trucks are iconic and copied by many. And, among surf-skaters, it’s known to be a quality durable board. It is also a better choice for street or bowl skating surfskate style. More stable, the C7 trucks, while very flowing, do have a bit less turny or tilting feel than the Smoothstar or some others like YOW. Glad to have both style trucks. Two of the best.

    • Sounds like you’ve got a whole quiver or Surf Skates at your disposal which is epic!

      Thanks for your input too.

      Yew!
      Rowan 🤙

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