If you’re a surfer but don’t live close enough to the sea to justify the price of the round trip, then skateboarding can be a great alternative that can really help you scratch that boarding itch and teach you how to surf even when you’re landlocked.
Surfing and skating (surfskate) are quite similar types of sports. They share similar foot placements, balance shifts, and skill requirements, and aside from the water resistance, skateboarding can pretty accurately emulate what it’s like to be out on the waves.
Yet another similarity between the two sports is the large number of different boards that you can choose from. The exact type you go for will depend on your skateboarding style. This board requirement translates from one sport to the other, and you’re going to want to pick a specific type of surf skateboard if you want to practice a specific type of surfing. Let’s go over the best surf skateboards for surf skate training.
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Table of Contents
Best Surfskate Brands
This is probably the best brand to pick if you’re just starting out with surf skating. Slide skateboards are a lot more beginner-friendly than other surf skateboards because they’re a lot more push friendly. This simply means that while other brands might prioritise core movements to move the board along, Slide skateboards allow you to stick to a few of your old skateboarding habits, at least until you get the hang of using surf skateboards properly.
Unsurprisingly, these skateboards are also a great choice for surfing newbies as well. While a Slide won’t provide the same range of motion that a lot of other surf skateboards might, this brand will still allow you to practice some of the more basic surfing moves. This board will help you develop a better sense of balance and build up the foundation on which you’ll later develop your surfing skills.
Best for: Practicing more controlled rail-to-rail movements
Another good surf skateboard choice for beginners. With Jucker Hawaii, you can perform wide smooth turns, while also staying as stable as possible, even after you pick up a bit more speed. They are mostly used to practice down-the-line surfing and more fluid carving movements.
Much like the previous brand we mentioned, the Jucker Hawaii boards aren’t really ideal for practicing sharper turns or learning how to pull off some more advanced surfing tricks. They are, however, pretty good for practicing foot placements, bodyweight distribution, backfoot turning, and other more basic surfing moves.
Best for: Practicing smooth turns and a more controlled style of surfing
Smoothstar uses a spring mechanism for the swing adapter on their surf skateboards. This mechanism allows better rail-to-rail transitions, which means that the skater can pull off some pretty tight turns on these boards, not to mention some pretty awesome tricks. The loose riding feel and tight carving make these boards a great choice for performance surf training.
Naturally, the ability to pull off tighter turns means that the boards aren’t the most stable option if you’re a beginner, and much like the shortboard, they require a certain level of skill to be used properly. Regardless of the drawbacks, this brand is a great choice for anyone who wants to practice dynamic movements and body rotations that are incredibly useful for performance surfing.
Best for: Practicing tight turns and a more aggressive surfing style
Carver is actually considered to be the very first brand that went into the surf skate marke and one of th main ones we user here at Amanzi HQ. It has since tried to give its customers the best boarding experience that it can provide, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the two types of trucks that most of the boards come equipped with – the C7 and the CX.
The C7 type of truck uses a torsion spring as its turning mechanism, which allows the skater to pull off tight fluid turns, and gives the same feeling that you get when you make smooth back foot turns on the water.
The CX, on the other hand, uses rubber bushing in order to allow you to make quicker, more aggressive maneuvers on your board. This style of skateboarding would be comparable to pulling off major bottom turns on a shortboard.
Best for: Both an aggressive and a smooth sort of surfing style (depending on the trucks)
Speaking of performance surfing, the YOW skateboard also has a truck adapter that’s loose enough to give you a similar feeling of riding a shortboard on fast-breaking waves. The spring mechanism allows you to pull off some pretty tight turns by mostly using your core, rather than your legs, much like on an actual surfboard.
The flaw in the skateboard is that it will provide much less stability than other more standard types of skateboards. While this allows you to practice more radical shifts and turns, it isn’t very useful if you want to practice some more standard surfing tricks, or if you prefer to use a smoother surfing style that doesn’t take advantage of so many dynamic movements.
Best for: Practicing quick tight surfing turns
Swelltech skateboards are designed to have a similar appearance to a standard surfboard, complete with the pointed nose and the double V swallow tail at the back. The surf skateboards that the brand provides have angled risers so that the board can provide the skateboarder with a larger range of motion due to the trucks.
However, while the trucks do provide a higher degree of movement, they can also be difficult to control and stabilize yourself on. On the bright side, these boards can teach you not to rely on pushing the board with your foot in order to propel it forward, but to rather use your core and generate side to side movements, or more accurately, rail to rail movements. This makes this type of board great for practicing smooth turns, all the while strengthening your core.
Best for: Practicing rail-to-rail movements through the use of the core
Hamboards have a selection of skateboards with decks that are much larger than your usual skateboard. This is reminiscent of how longboards also stand out among standard surfboards due to their length, and it’s exactly why these skateboards are great for emulating that sort of surfing style.
The spring torsion surf trucks make the movements of the skateboard very similar to the movements of an actual longboard while on the waves. This means that these skateboards aren’t meant for tight turns or control, but are the ideal tool for practicing smoother turning and classic surf carving moves.
Surprisingly, these skateboards are actually more agile than they first appear, and it’s actually possible to pull off sharper turns than you would initially assume. However, while this is an added bonus, the specific spring torsion mechanism, thicker pivot cup, and stronger base plate are all designed for smooth rather than dynamic turns and movements.
Best for: Practicing smoother turning and classic surf carving moves
Waterborne surf skateboards use a Surf Adapter truck mechanism with urethane bushings that allow the skater to use a more fluid style of skateboarding. The versatile bushings allow you to practice both fluid surf turns and hard snapbacks, so you can practice a wider variety of surfing styles and do a larger range of tricks.
The Surf Adapter can also be mounted on a large number of different skateboard decks, so you can choose whichever one you find the most compatible with your style of skating/surfing. While the deck itself does make a difference, the important thing is that regardless of which one you choose, you’ll still be able to pull off deeper turning maneuvers while keeping a stable grip on your skateboard.
Best for: Practicing a smoother style of surfing through slow deep movements
Which is the best skateboard to practice surfing on?
This choice is going to boil down to three candidates, all of which have their specific strengths and weaknesses that should be mentioned. However, keep in mind that these three aren’t the best surf skateboard brands out there, but are only the best choice for beginners.
Pros – The two distinctive trucks that you can choose allow you to pick out a board that either has a looser or tighter feel when it comes to performing turns and rail-to-rail maneuvers.
Cons – They are the most expensive boards that are currently on the market.
Pros – The boards have much more of a skateboard feeling to them, rather than a surfboard. This allows you to ease into the surfing aspect and develop your skills gradually over time.
Cons – They start to feel a bit too rigid after a while and most people will switch them out for a board with a more authentic surfing feel to it.
Pros – The looseness of the board allows a very accurate emulation of the movement of an actual surfboard on the waves, making this the most effective surfing practice board.
Cons – The low stability may cause most inexperienced skaters to easily get frustrated due to their seeming lack of progress.
Location no longer has to keep you away from your favourite pastime. If you find that you can’t make it to the sea, then we encourage you to try out any of the above-mentioned surf skateboards instead.
While they might not be able to completely simulate the push of the waves or the feeling of the water on your face, they can definitely give you the same amount of excitement, on top of letting you practice your surfing skills while still on land.
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When you surf, you are riding down the wave, there’s push behind the wave, you’ve constantly got speed. You can position yourself anywhere on the wave, up, down, forward, back, left or right, so why practice on a surf skate only on a flat surface? The only way to skate three dimensional is on a skate ramp or bowl. The more off balance you get, the better your board goes, the more G force and centrifugal forces you create, the better it feels.
Learn to harness these forces, understand how to draw out your turns at speed and to suddenly snap. The idea of a surf skate is to learn how to control that speed. Take your surf skating into a bowl, do it with confidence, speed and learn how to flow between turns.