YOW Surf makes some of the best surfskates out there. They’re a staple in my quiver.
I’ve tested all their surf adapters (S4, S5, and Meraki) and will share my thoughts.
Is it the right surfskate for you? Let’s find out.
YOW is one of the best surfskate brands if you want a deep & divey carving experience. Their coil spring adapter allows you to get into a natural pumping motion, similar to pumping down the line on a surfboard. In my opinion, their adapter does a great job at replicating the feeling of surfing on land.
If you’d rather watch a video review, check it below. If not, keep scrolling.
Who Is It Best For?
I’d recommend YOW if you want a surfskate that has a deep, divey feel.
Out of all the surfskates I own, this is one of my favorites because it feels so natural to pump and maintain speed. Their front adapter allows you to do sharp turns but doesn’t jackknife as often as a SwellTech.
It’s very different from Carver because it has a thick coil spring, allowing the truck to pivot super aggressively.
It’s one of the best options if you want to practice your pumping and turns for surfing. If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend it since it’s pretty aggressive. Instead, you should consider Carver.
Alright, now let’s take an in-depth look at all the parts.
They use two different sized 10-32 flat hex bolts.
The bolts that screw into the front adapter are 3/4″ flat hex bolts.
And the back truck bolts are 2″.
YOW’s truck hangers are traditional 9″ kingpins. The front adapter has no truck baseplate since it’s connected directly to the Meraki adapter.
The back truck has a 1″ riser pad to even it out (which also does a solid job at preventing wheel bite).
Just about every surfskate I’ve come across needs a riser pad since the surfskate adapters are so chunky.
Meraki, S4 or S5?
I own all three systems and have tested them.
You have three options when it comes to their surfskate system adapters…
Although, now I believe they phased out their S4 & S5 adapters.
- V4 S4
- V4 S5
If you’re going to be doing low-key cruising/carving on your YOW, then there’s not a massive difference between the Meraki and the S5. But if you do more radical turns, then the extra stability the Meraki offers, could be worth it.
When it comes to the differences between the S4 and S5, it really comes down to the coil spring. The S4 has a thinner spring (4mm) which makes it more energetic and better for people 65lbs – 110lbs (30kg – 50kg)
The Meraki & S5 spring is thicker (5mm) which adds more resistance and better for people above 110lbs (50kgs).
I weigh 165lbs and find riding the S4 pretty fun, although if I had to pick one, I’d go for the S5 since it’s the safer play for my weight. The S4 feels much looser and jolty. For most people, I’d probably recommend the Meraki/S5.
YOW’s older adapters (S4 & S5) had a feature where you could insert a screw and prevent the adapter from pivoting.
Personally, I never used this feature since the board sits higher above the ground compared to my traditional cruiser. They took this feature out of their newest Meraki system.
Their decks are made of 7 Plies maple with one colored ply. Beautifully done in my opinion.
They even implemented a 3d viewer on all their product pages. This is helpful to get a clear picture of the deck shape.
The older setups used to come with 66mm 78A Blue Cinetic wheels. I miss those high rebound wheels.
They now make their wheels in house and every setup comes with their URA wheels.
Props to them for making their own wheels, but the URAs do have a lower rebound and even though they’re 76a, they feel harder. Closer to 82a in my opinion.
I swapped the URA wheels for the Orangatang Love Handles. They have a better urethane formula.
The bushings are street cone and barrel.
The cones are 1/4″ and the barrels are 1/2″. YOW’s bushing duro is 92a.
The bearings have caps on one side and come with separated spacers.
Personally, I like bearings with built-in spacers, but not a big deal.
Overall, the quality of YOW surfskates is solid.
Pros & Cons
Now that I’ve covered every part of a YOW surfskate, let’s go over some pros & cons.
First, let’s start with…
The overall feel of riding my YOW surfskates (in my opinion) does replicate surfing. Now clearly it’s going to be impossible to feel exactly like it, but you can definitely work on your pumping and turning.
My biggest issue when surfing was when I go to do turns, I wasn’t engaging my upper body. With the YOW, I can focus on drawing out my turns and engaging my upper body.
It’s nice having something that allows me to consistently practice because where I live, the waves aren’t consistent.
I do feel like it’s helped me translate that to the water.
Out of all the surfskate brands, I love what YOW is doing with the aesthetics of their boards. I know this is more of a personal preference, but that’s how I feel.
They’re constantly putting out new designs and working with different artists. They have a variety of designs for different tastes, which is refreshing to see.
I paid a lot for my YOW surfskates.
If you live in the USA, you’re gonna pay a hefty fee for shipping.
The positive is they’ll ship to the USA, so I can’t be too bummed.
Hopefully, they’ll have USA distributors soon, so you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg just to get your YOW surfskate.
YOW (vs) Other Brands
A common question I always get asked is to compare YOW to other popular surfskates. In this section that’s exactly what I’ll do.
YOW vs Smoothstar
YOW has a deeper and divey carving feel to it. Almost like you’re balancing on a tight rope. Smoothstar feels more consistent and smoother, without that divey feel to it. YOW and Smoothstar feel pretty similar to each other, compared to the others.
If you’re deciding between the two, check out my YOW vs Smoothstar comparison.
YOW vs Carver
YOW and Carver feel very different from each other. YOW uses a coil spring, which offers some of the most aggressive carving, whereas Carver is much more low-key and versatile. I’d recommend YOW if you want something that you can do deeper carves with, and Carver if you want something you can also use as a cruiser for longer distances.
I hope you found value in this YOW surfskate review.