Carver Skateboards Review (Bought & Shredded)

By Billy | Updated: July 23, 2022 | Surfskates

Carver skateboards are one of the most popular surfskate brands out there. And for good reasons – they’re a blast to ride and made with high-quality parts. Carver is a staple in my quiver.

In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the components, compare it with other brands, and share the pros/cons.

Is a Carver skateboard right for your riding style? Let’s find out.

Where to buy
Carver Skateboards
Buy on Carver's website Find a local shop
We do not have an affiliate partnership with Carver Skateboards.

If you’d rather watch a video, check it below. If not, keep scrolling.

Who Is It Best For?

I’d suggest getting a Carver if you want something that’s in between a cruiser and surfskate.

Though you can do sharp turns, it’s not as aggressive as other pivoting arm surfskates. Carver is my go-to choice when I need to skate more than a few blocks to check the surf.

If you want a surfskate that has more stability than others, then I’d say go for it. Otherwise, if you want something that offers deeper carving, I’d suggest looking into…

Parts Breakdown

This is where I take everything apart and inspect the quality of the board.

carver surfskate
Download our free Skateboarder's Handbook
This (21-page) PDF will help you improve your setup by covering the trucks, wheels, bearings, bushings, and more!

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Shred Shack. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Carver C7 vs CX vs C5

Carver offers three different truck options: the C7, the CX, and the C5.

carver skateboard trucks

Carver C7 Truck

The C7 truck uses a spring and is their most loose, flowing option and can be pumped like a surfboard. Pumping requires more of your body compared to other spring adapters, but you can get into a flowy pump. The spring is adjustable and can provide more or less stability based on the tension level the spring is set to.

Bottom line: The C7 is loose and flowy because of the spring pivoting arm.

Carver CX Truck

The CX truck uses a reverse kingpin bushing-based design. The CX setup feels more stable when compared to the C7, but you can still get into a pumping motion. CX is my favorite because I just like the idea of a simpler bushing design, and I feel like the geometry fits my riding style the best.

Bottom line: The CX is tight and snappy because of the geometry bushing setup.

Carver C5 Truck

The C5 truck is the most similar to a traditional skateboard truck of all three offerings from Carver. The C5 uses a reverse kingpin design like the CX but is lower and narrower than the CX. The C5 is geared toward skateparks, but you can still pump it more than a traditional skateboard. Compared to the C7 and CX, it’s the stiffest.

Bottom line: The C5 is stiffer compared to the C7 and CX. It’s a better truck for street skating (skateparks).

Trucks

I decided to go with the C7 trucks (mostly because I had no idea what I was doing), but as I stated earlier in this article, I have/tested the CX trucks as well. If I were to buy again, I’d choose the CX over the C7.

Although there’s not a massive difference – either one you pick will probably be fine.

Overall, the build quality is really solid to all other surfskates I’ve tried. You can tell they’ve been through numerous versions to get it just right.

carver c7 trucks

They have small riser pads that are basically made up of two smaller ones.

The way Carver C7 trucks remind me of a similar design to Smoothstar thrusters.

They have a tension spring underneath, connected to a pivoting arm that you can adjust with a wrench. And there’s a pivoting arm with some washers/bearings.

Deck

The shape of this Carver is well done. Out of all the surfskates, I love the way that Carver does their grip. In my opinion, their subtle logo and grippier traction pad make it outshine the others.

However, I do wish I got a model that was longer. To give you an idea, I’m 5’11 and weigh about 165lbs. The Carver that I got is 29.25″ long, with a wheelbase of 15.5″, and it just feels too short to get any real pumping.

Clearly, this will come down to your personal opinion, but I was chatting with another person from the SurfSkate subreddit, and they had a 29″ Carver. They also thought their wheelbase felt too short.

So, when picking your Carver, it’s probably best to do thorough research, and it might even be worth asking the surfskate subreddit.

carver deck

I’ve surfed two Channel Islands surfboards in the past, so I loved the graphic on the bottom of the deck. I love the replicated look of an actual surfboard.

Wheels

This Carver comes with 69mm 78a Roundhouse Concave Smoke wheels.

I have no complaints after riding these for over a month now. They’re wide enough to cruise over cracks and pebbles.

I’ve heard some people say that using SharkWheels is a solid option if you want to turn it into more of a cruiser. But honestly, these have worked fine, and I don’t think Sharkwheels add that much of an additional benefit.

I’m a fan of their 78a roundhouse wheels, although not a fan of their ecothane wheels. A set of those came on my Bureo 27” complete and just felt gummy and slow overall.

carver roundhouse 69mm 78a concave wheels

Bushings

Nothing really stands out about the bushings, just your typical barrel, and cones. If you find your bushings are too soft/hard, you can buy a new set from their website.

carver skateboards bushings

Bearings

Wondering what bearings Carver skateboards come with?

A pretty neat thing about the Carver bearings is that the spacers and speed washers are built-in.

I’m not 100% sure if it affects the performance, but I love it from an assembly aspect. The fact that I can take them out without having to worry about the washers and spacers flying out is nice.

carver bearings

How To Choose Your Carver?

The hardest part about getting your first surfskate or Carver is choosing the right size. I made this mistake and chose a board that was too small for my riding preference. The worst part was I couldn’t return it since I had already shredded it.

Below I’ll lay out a few things you need to consider when figuring out the best size for you. But I encourage you to check out this article which goes into more detail on how to choose the right surfskate for you.

carver skateboard

Deck Shape & Length

Deck shape and length are important because it affects how your Carver surfskate will ride. The length also goes hand in hand with the wheelbase. And wheelbase is probably the most important factor when picking a surfskate. For my preference, I like boards with a snappier, surfy feel. So I typically get a length in the 32-34″ range, preferably with a width ranging in the 9.5-10″.

Wheelbase

The wheelbase is probably the most important part of a surfskate because it’s one of the main factors in how your board will carve. I mentioned how I picked my first two surfskates with too small of a wheelbase (14″), which felt way too snappy for my preference. I think the sweet spot is in the 16-18″ range for the wheelbase. It really comes down to what type of riding you’re looking to do, but that should give you a solid idea.

Trucks

Carver offers three different types of trucks – C7, CX & C5 (I own & have tested all 3).

I first started with the C7 trucks, which have a pivoting arm in the front with a spring; however, I find myself riding their CX trucks the most. I just enjoy the simplicity of the bushing design. Easier to maintain compared to a spring adapter (C7).

The CX trucks just feel more fluid and responsive, in my opinion. But honestly, they feel pretty similar, so either you can’t go wrong with.

Pros & Cons

After riding my Carver for a while now, here are some things I like and dislike about the brand.

Designs

I think they have really cool designs. Their griptape layout is interesting, with the more aggressive grip in the back mimicking a traction pad.

Quality

Carver is the oldest surfskate brand on the market (I think). But with years of experience comes a refinement of the quality of their products.

From the wheels to the bearings, you can tell every single part has been carefully thought out. This is why I always have no issues recommending Carver Skateboards to anyone.

Sizing Info

The major issue I’ve noticed with Carver compared to other brands is they really have no information to help you properly size out your board.

Personally, I think this is the biggest challenge when picking a surfskate.

YOW surf is going in the right direction, but still not there. Because of the lack of information, I ended up picking a board that was too short, and the wheelbase was too snappy for my liking.

Limited Inventory

It seems like Carver always has a limited inventory; if you want one, you’re forced to get whatever is available. This is probably because of the pandemic, but it’s still annoying not to get a board you actually want.

Carver (vs) the rest

In this section, I’ll go over the feeling of Carver verse other top brands. If you want a more in-depth look at each brand, check out this article, where I cover the riding feel of each.

Let’s start with the most common comparison to Carver… Smoothstar.

Carver vs Smoothstar

Carver has a much more mellow, laid-back feel to it, whereas Smoothstar has a more aggressive pivoting feel. I’d recommend a Carver if you want a more versatile surfskate (I use it for longer cruises), but if you want a more technical surf trainer, then go for Smoothstar.

Carver vs YOW

Like Smoothstar, YOW has a much more aggressive pivoting feel than Carver. YOW uses a coil spring, which allows you to do deeper carves, whereas Carver offers more stability.

Carver vs Hamboards

It depends on which setup you get with your Hamboard but I’m going to assume you’re talking about the HST 200 trucks that have springs in both the front and back. Hamboards has a much more aggressive rail-to-rail feel because of those springs. Pumping from a standstill is pretty much impossible to do with Hamboards. Another major difference is that Hamboards have much larger builds with thicker boards that look more like surfboards.

Carver vs SwellTech

SwellTech has one of the most aggressive carving of all the surfskates, and Carver has one of the most mellow carving. SwellTech has a unique front truck with two springs and rotates a full 360 degrees, whereas Carver either has a lowkey spring (C7 front truck) or simplistic geometry. It’s very easy to get the front to jackknife on the SwellTech, whereas on Carver, it’s a lot better for rider error.

Carver vs Waterborne

Waterborne has a more aggressive feel than Carver because of its bearings, washers, and cube bushing. The closest truck that Carver offers is their C7, which has a pivoting arm and spring, but it really doesn’t compare. It’s much easier to pump from a standstill on a Waterborne than on a Carver.

I hope you found this Carver skateboards review helpful.

Billy

I started skateboarding when I was 5 years old. Picked up surfing and snowboarding soon after. These days, if I'm not surfing, I'm trying to replicate it on land or snow. My goal is to shred, then share my thoughts in an honest and transparent way.
Feedback?
Notice anything missing, incorrect or just have a question? Hit me up.

Read Next