Surfskating Is Life, the Rest Is Details: A Beginners Guide

A young man surfskating.

The surfskate or surf skateboard has a different front track that allows a very different ride compared to traditional longboards or cruiser skateboards. (Image: Aogreatkim via Dreamstime)

Ever thought of surfing the streets and ripping up the concrete waves in your neighborhood? For people who are wondering what surfskating is, think literally.

A surfskate is a surfboard with wheels. The surfskate or surf skateboard has a different front track that allows a very different ride compared to other traditional decks such as longboards or cruiser skateboards. In addition, the tracks of surfskates turn much narrower and are more agile. This makes body movements on surfskates very similar to surfing as compared to a longboard or cruiser skateboard.

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All around the globe, more and more people are discovering surfskates. But if you happen to be a thorough researcher at heart, you probably want to know more about the board and its characteristics before plunging into surfskating.

Which surfskate is best for beginners?

If you have ever tried longboarding, you will get the hang of surfskating pretty easily. That said, surfskates are an expensive deal. If you are a beginner, you should opt for a lower-range surfskate that has a loose truck system. Also, when you are going to buy a surfskate, you should be clear about its purpose — do you want one just to skate on roads or do you want to learn surfing? This distinction will also help you choose the ideal surfskate.

Surfskating will help you learn or perfect surfing.
Surfskating will help you learn or perfect surfing. (Image: Aogreatkim via Dreamstime)

What is a truck system?

When it comes to cruising on hard surfaces, traditionally, there have only been two major options — longboards and cruiser skateboards of various lengths. But surfskates have grown as a popular alternative choice and the truck system of the surfskate is the reason.

Many might think that a surfskate is simply a wooden board on wheels, but you would be wrong. A surfskate has a complex wheel and axis system to help move. With the surfskate, speed can be generated without putting your foot down once as is the case with traditional boards; forward motion is achieved from a tilting movement from toe to heel out or pumping.

Other steering behavior is achieved by a rotating arm in the surfskate truck system: The front truck of the surfskate has a movable rotating arm; this results in the mobility of the board. The rear truck, like the fin on the surfboard, serves as a pivot point for the board. With the rear foot, you push the board into the curves and the front truck rotates smoothly into the curve.

Check out this video on how to ride a surfskate:

Can surfskating help you learn to surf?

In a word — yes. A surfskate can definitely aid a person to better their surfing game. As the movement range is very similar to surfing, the board is increasingly used by surf schools and hobby surfers, as well as pro surfers, to test their surfing techniques out of the water. 

Are all surfskates the same?

While the concept of a “plank on wheels” might be the same, the surfskates made by different brands are not the same. Different types of wood and systems are paired to come up with surfskates that will cater to different needs.

For beginners, it is best to start on a wider board with more surface area in the region of the wheel. This will help stabilize your body while learning to surf. Again, the purpose of buying and learning surfskating needs to be clarified. For just cruising the roads, the surfskate need not have a complex and spring-based truck system, but it becomes essential when learning surfskating for surfing.

There are many brands of surfskates. (Image: Aogreatkim via Dreamstime)

What are the best brands?

With solid market growth since the 1990s, there are several companies that have launched surfskates with various pros and cons, but sticking to the major brands is always a safe option. Brands like Carver, YOW Surf, Smoothstar, and Penny are a few of the best and offer a wide range of skates to choose from according to your needs.

Taking up surfskating is a great way to learn about body control as you dial in a new trick or shred that next wave!

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