What Is A Surfskate? (Simple Breakdown)

By Billy | Updated: September 10, 2021 | Surfskates

Skateboards mimicking the feeling of surfing on land have been around since the 1960s.

But the term “surfskate” has only recently become popular.

Below is a quick summary.

What is a surfskate?

In the simplest terms, a surfskate is a type of skateboard that mimics the feeling of surfing. Depending on the brand, it could have a spring-based pivoting adapter or bushing-based with unique truck geometry.

I’m going to assume you know nothing about surfskates.

Most surfskates out there have a spring-based pivoting adapter that attaches to the front truck.

As a result, your carving ability increases dramatically. So, that’s what I mean by another meaning to ‘surf feel’. It really allows you to pump.

Similar to how a surfboard functions on a wave. The back truck is more of an anchor like fins would be, whereas the front pivots aggressively, giving you insane maneuverability.

For Example…

Let’s take a look at the YOW surfskate adapter (below).

yow meraki surfskate adapter

Notice how the front truck is attached to their surf adapter? Well, that surf adapter has a spring inside of it, which makes the truck sway side to side. This allows you to get into a pumping motion, similar to pumping down the line on a surfboard.

The back trucks are standard kingpin trucks that grip the pavement, similarly to how fins grip the face of the wave.

Type Of Surfskates

So, what type of surfskates are there? Are there different variations?

Yup, the most popular type is…

Spring Adapters

Most people that refer to ‘surfskates’ are talking about the ones with spring-based adapters.

Just like the YOW adapter, I showed you above. These adapters use different types of springs (tension & coil). But there are exceptions, like Waterborne, which uses a urethane bushing.

Same concept, just a different approach.

Popular Spring-Based Brands

You can find a more detailed look at the best surfskate brands here.

Bushing Based

The second type is bushing-based surfskates. These designs are similar to traditional/reverse kingpin setups but go a little further to get a surfy feel.

For example, Carver CX doesn’t have a spring, rather unique bushings and geometry. It offers harder carving compared to a traditional cruiser, but mellower compared to a spring-based adapter.

Popular Bushing-based Brands

You can find a more detailed look at the best surfskate brands here.

Surfskate vs Mini Cruiser

Wondering what the main differences are between a surfskate and a mini-cruiser? They’re two completely different boards, that serve different purposes. A surfskate (in most cases) has a spring in its front truck adapter, which makes turning way more aggressive compared to a normal mini cruiser.

Surfskate vs Ripsurf

Another popular question we get is how similar are surfskates and the Ripsurf. They’re both fun, but feel very different to ride. I own both and use my surfskates a lot more because they’re more versatile. On the Ripsurf you can’t do aggressive turns without the caster wheels sliding out. In my opinion, the Ripsurf gets old after a while, so I tell most people to go for a surfskate instead.

Don’t get me wrong though, the Ripsurf is still fun to ride but it’s more of a gimmicky invention than being an actual surf trainer.

Check out my full RipSurf review here.

My Favorite Surfskates

My favorite surfskate brands are YOW, Carver, Smoothstar and Waterborne. All of them offer a unique surfy feel that’s so fun to ride.

I’ve also put together in-depth reviews for YOW, Smoothstar and SwellTech, which you can find here. I’ll be adding more in the future.


I've been skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding since a young age. My shredding style is surf-inspired. The mission is to publish educational content for board sports.

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