If you've been following along, you know that I'm a big fan of YOW surfskates.
The first one I bought was their Pipe 32″, then their Snappers 32.5″. And now I'm plotting my next purchase from their 2021 collection.
YOW reached out to see if we wanted to test their new Meraki surfskate system. I told them (what I tell every company), the only way I'd accept is if I can state my unfiltered, honest thoughts and they agreed. They also never saw this review before I published it.
So, here's my disclaimer: I received this for free, but wasn't paid. I simply want to point out the things I noticed while taking it apart and testing to help you make a better decision.
I put out a poll on our IG and asked what people wanted to know most about the Meraki, then compiled the top questions and went out to test.
Contents (Click to skip)
I have no idea if anyone wants to see the box, but I think it's a pretty cool design. I'm a fan of floral designs, so this wins points for me.
Kind of reminds me of the box that Carver uses for their trucks, but I mean you can't really innovate with a different shape.
Below, you can see what's included.
- Meraki System w/ front truck
- Back Truck
- Riser Pad
- Warranty, Safety & Parts Info
Is The Upgrade Worth It?
For 164.95 Euros ($198.42), is the new Meraki system worth it?
Especially since you can still buy their V4 systems for 94.95 Euros ($114.22).
If you're going to buy the new Meraki system because you think it'll offer a completely different feeling, you're wrong.
It still uses the same spring, so the riding feel is similar to the S5. Especially if you're going to be using it to cruise around, then I wouldn't say the upgrade is worth it. If you have the cash and want to experience the newest system, go for it.
If you are doing a lot of maneuvers and often find yourself riding fakie, then it might be worth the upgrade for you. I rode it backwards a lot, comparing it to my S5 and there does seem to be a stability difference. But again, I don't think you're going to really feel it unless you're doing more aggressive turns/aerials at a skatepark.
If you've never tried the YOW system before and don't even know if you'll like the feeling, then it wouldn't hurt to go with the V4 S4 or S5, since they're cheaper and still offers a similar feeling.
I think it depends on what your budget is and if that extra stability is worth it for you.
Comparison – S4 & S5
The new Meraki uses the same spring as the V4 S5. You can see a comparison below of all the adapter springs. The S4 is a little thinner, which offers a more energetic, looser feel.
|S4||35.5oz / 2.21lbs|
|S5||36.3oz / 2.26lbs|
|Meraki||31.1oz / 1.94lbs|
The Meraki is lighter, but I don't know how much of a difference this makes, especially for my use (carving parking lots).
However, I can see it to start making sense if you're shredding bowls, maybe trying some aerials (if you're crazy enough) but that's when I think the weight difference might make sense. The difference is minimal though.
In both the V4 S4 and S5, they had a feature where you could screw in a bolt to lock the adapter in place.
This would turn it into a ‘cruiser', however, I always thought it was pointless because it's too high to be a normal cruiser. Plus people aren't buying YOW to get a cruiser, they're buying to get a surfskate.
It was a cool idea, but I'm glad to see they took this unnecessary feature out of the Meraki.
The height is the same as the V4 adapters, although the Meraki is angled differently (as you can see below).
With the Meraki, the front truck is mounted directly onto the system without the baseplate. This allows the truck hanger to sit closer to the center of the spring, which is how they added more stability.
You can see the difference below in the “Is It More Stable” section.
I don't know exactly what they use, but there's a noticeable difference with the amount of grease they used with the Meraki.
They use a lot more versus the V4 adapters and I'm guessing that's because they got complaints of squeaking. I think this is a nice improvement.
Is It More Stable?
Probably the most asked question was “Is the YOW Meraki system more stable?” Or “Is it easier to ride fakie?”
I went to test it out for a few hours with my friend and after riding it backward versus my S5, I didn't notice a huge difference. But keep in mind, that I mostly cruise around parking lots. You definitely won't catch me doing radical maneuvers like the people on YOW's IG account.
But I was able to feel a difference and I think it's more stable because they moved the position of the truck's hanger closer to the center of the spring (which you can see in the image below).
I'm no engineer but I think that helps it be more stable. Plus it looks like the truck is positioned at a slightly different angle, which probably also contributes to stability.
My friend and I felt like we could ride longer fakie versus on my S5, but I'm not sure if that's YOW's wizardry marketing affecting our subconscious or if that's reality haha.
I think most people won't notice it unless you're doing crazier turns in a skatepark.
At the end of the day, surfskate systems that have front spring adapters are always going to be tough to ride backward. I appreciate the fact that they took this into consideration, but I don't think this will ever change.
Quite a few people already messaged me saying they liked the look of the older systems, which I get. But honestly, I like the look of the Meraki better. I wasn't a huge fan of the blockiness, but it's all personal preference.
Another thing I've noticed is compared to other surfskate adapters on the market, YOW seems like one of the most durable since their coil spring is thick and sits inside a metal casing.
All in all, I think YOW did a solid job with the Meraki. If I didn't receive this for free or was doing these reviews, I probably wouldn't have upgraded from the S5, just because I mostly cruise. But if you're someone that does crazy turns/aerials, that extra stability probably makes sense.