Thinking about buying a Carver skateboard?
You're in the right place because I've bought and shredded over 8 different popular surfskates.
In this review, I'll go over who I think they're best for, how to choose the right one, and the things I like/dislike.
Here's my Carver skateboards review to help you decide if it's right for you or not.
Contents (Click to skip)
If you'd rather watch a video, check our YouTube review below.
Where to Buy?
The best place to buy your Carver surfskate is from their website.
Or if you want something cheaper, there are often used ones listed on eBay.
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 surfskates I've tested.
This is my go-to board 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 for surf training, I wouldn't suggest it.
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 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 check out this article which goes into more detail on how to choose the right surfskate for you.
Because let's be real, choosing a surfskate requires more info compared to a traditional cruiser skateboard.
Deck Shape & Length
Deck shape and length is important because it affects how your Carver surfskate will ride. The length also goes hand in hand with 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″.
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 my first two surfskates I picked too small of a wheelbase (14″), which felt way too snappy for my preference. I personally think the sweet spot is in the 16-18″ range for wheelbase. It really comes down to what type of riding you're looking to do, but that should give you a solid idea.
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.
This is where I take everything apart and inspect the quality of the board.
C7 Trucks vs CX Trucks
I found way too many articles that left me more confused about the differences than before.
So, I rode my CX and C7 side by side. I did my best to match the wheelbases since that’s a solid factor in determining turning radius.
Originally I thought I would like the C7 better since it has a spring-loaded pivoting arm, however it just doesn’t feel as good as the CX.
The CX feels snappier and overall easier to pump versus the C7 feels more drawn out.
I even loosened the C7 pivoting arm as much as I could to see if it made any difference. Once I reached a point in my turn it felt like it was jolty instead of fluid.
If I were to buy a new Carver over again, I’d go for the CX trucks because of how fluid they feel and they’re easy to adjust.
The CX is solely bushing and geometry-based, which feels more consistently fluid and rebounds nicely.
Since the C7s have a bushing based back truck and a spring-loaded pivoting arm in the front, it feels a little more off in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong it’s a solid truck and I still ride it but if I was choosing between the two, I’d pick CX every day.
The C7 feels a little too front heavy in my opinion.
Maybe it’s all in my head but that’s just my opinion.
Carver's hardware is solid. The main difference is that they have allen sockets versus Philips heads.
My YOW PIPE 32″ has the same type of Allen socket screws, however, the SwellTech and Penny High-Line have Philips screws.
There's really no difference between the two options.
I decided to go with the C7 trucks (mostly because I had no idea what I was doing) but like 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 make it sleek.
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.
The shape of this Carver is well done. Out of all the surfskates, I love the way that Carver does their grip. Their subtle logo with their grippier traction pad is what makes it outshine the others in my opinion.
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.
Now clearly this will come down to your personal opinon, 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 might even be worth asking the surfskate subreddit.
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.
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.
Nothing really stands out about the bushings, just your typical barrel and cones.
Wondering what bearings do 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 a major plus.
Likes & Dislikes
After riding my Carver for a while now, here are some things I like and dislike about the brand.
I think they have really cool designs. Their griptape layout is interesting, with the more aggressive grip in the back, mimicking a traction pad.
Carver is the oldest surfskate brand on the market (I think). But with years of experience comes 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.
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 is too snappy for my liking.
It seems like Carver always has a limited inventory and if you want one, you're forced to get whatever is available. This is probably because of the pandemic, but it's still annoying to not get a board you actually want.
Carver (vs) the rest
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me something along the lines of…
Hey how does Carver ride compared to ‘insert popular surfskate brand here'
So in this section I'll go over the feeling of Carver verse other top brands. Let's start with the most common one… 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. Check out my full Smoothstar review if you're interested in it.
Carver vs YOW
Similar to Smoothstar, YOW has a much more aggressive pivoting feel compared to 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 has 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 it's 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.
Hope you found this Carver skateboards review helpful! I know I was mad confused my first time getting a surfskate, so feel free to reach out with any questions!