Thinking about getting a YOW surfskate?
You're in the right place, because the past year, I've bought over 8 different surfskate brands.
After spending months of comparing my YOW surfskates to the others, I want to share my experience on what I like and don't like.
Here's my in-depth YOW surfskate review to help you decide if it's right for you or not.
Contents (Click to skip)
Who Is It Best For?
I'd recommend YOW if you want a surfskate that has a deep, divey feel. If you want to do sharp cutbacks and don't need something to go longer than a few blocks, it's a great choice. I never take it for longer cruises since it has a spring in the front adapter, making it a challenge to push on.
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.
Where To Buy?
As of right now, you can buy from YOWSurf.com or if you're lucky enough to have a distributor nearby.
If you live in the USA, ordering this thing isn't the easiest. At the time I'm writing this, they still don't have a currency converter for USD on their website (not a big deal though).
Shipping is the worst part since it's coming from the Basque Country in Spain. I ended up paying €46.49, which is roughly $52. Probably the most I've ever spent on shipping.
I believe they'll have a USA distribution center in 2021. Fingers crossed!
YOW stands for ‘Your Own Wave' and is owned by HLC Distribution, a major player in the skate industry.
HLC is based in Oiartzun, Spain and some of their brands include…
- Plan B
If you're familiar with the skate industry at all, you know those brands.
My point is… these guys know the skate industry inside and out. And after riding it for a while, you can tell.
After seeing YOW pop up a bunch online while I was researching, I had to test one out. Their marketing is probably one of the best I've seen compared to other surfskate brands.
It's impressive to see how popular they've become, especially considering they're one of the newest surfskate brands (started in 2016).
Before I ride any board I review, I completely take it apart and inspect the components.
Your typical hardware for any type of skateboard. The only difference is since it's a surfskate, the back bolts are shorter than the front ones.
That's because the front adapter makes the trucks higher, so in order to level it out, the back truck needs a chunky riser pad.
All of the nuts have nyloc to ensure they don't loosen, which is always great to see. Just about every skate company uses these types of nuts because you never wanna lose one when riding.
All eight-speed washers were accounted for, which is standard. You'd be surprised how many boards I come across with some missing speed washers.
YOW's trucks are standard 9″ kingpins. Each truck is exactly the same, however, the front is attached to their S5 surfskate system.
Because the S5 system is thick, the back truck has a 28mm riser pad to even it out (which also prevents wheel bite).
Just about every surfskate I've come across needs a riser pad since the surfskate adapters are so chunky.
Now onto what makes the magic happen. YOW's signature S5 system is what turns it into a carving machine.
It's a patented design, with a robust 5mm spring and a 51100 ball bearing.
And after riding this for a few months now, I can confidently say it's one of my favorite surfskates.
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…
- 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.
If you want a more in-depth look at the differences between YOW's new Meraki system, check out my review here.
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 which makes it more energetic and better for people 65lbs – 110lbs (30kg – 50kg)
The S5 spring is thicker (also same as Meraki) which adds more resistance and better for people above 110lbs (50kgs).
I weigh 160lbs and find riding the S4 pretty fun, although if I had to pick one, I'd go for the S5 since it offers more resistance. The S4 feels much looser and jolty. For most people, I'd probably just recommend the S5.
If you have no idea what board or system to get, feel free to email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
If you want to just cruise without having the pivoting adapter, the S5 has a feature where you can insert a screw and lock it in place.
Personally, I've never used this feature since the board sits higher above the ground compared to my traditional cruiser and really isn't ideal for cruising. They took this feature out of their newest Meraki system.
The deck is made of 7 Plies U.S.A. Hard Rock Maple with one colored ply. It's beautifully done, with the subtle green ply strip in the middle.
The YOW Pipe is 32″ long, 10″ wide with an 18.5″ wheelbase. In my personal opinion, I think it's a solid shape, however now that I've tried other decks, I realized I prefer more concave.
The vintage lightning bolt design just adds to the surfy aesthetic.
The Jessup printed grip is low-key, making it ideal for bare-footing riding.
I love the fact that they didn't add traditional grip, which would've been much harsher. There's enough grip so you'll never slip, yet it never gets irritating while riding barefoot.
It has a subtle kicktail that feels right for foot placement.
The PIPE 32″ comes with 66 x 51mm 78A Blue Cinetic wheels that have a sharp lip. And if you know anything about wheels, then you know 78a is pretty standard.
This is common for surfskates since you want your wheels to grip the pavement when doing sharp turns. I gotta say, I love the color of these wheels… they contrast perfectly against the red deck.
If you push these wheels, you can get them to slide, but it is pretty hard since they have a sharp lip. I've been working on my frontside slides and since the S5 allows for snappy turns, you can slide if you have enough speed.
It's just not as slippery as something above 80a.
The bushings are the typical cone and barrel with washers. They're made of 92a Ultra HR Formula, which essentially just means they're pretty stiff. I'm not gonna lie, I haven't messed around with bushings too much on surfskate yet, since the pivoting adapters offer all the lean necessary.
Nothing really stands out here about them.
The wheels come with black ABEC 7 bearings that are single-sided capped. However, mine didn't come with any spacers, which isn't a huge deal. I would like to see them add built-in spacer bearings in the future, similar to what Carver Skateboards has done.
Not a huge deal, but just something I noticed.
Overall, the quality of all the parts is solid. From the deck to the trucks, there's nothing that stands out as being bad.
Likes & Dislikes
Now that I've gone over every part of my YOW surfskate, I'll give my personal opinion on what I like & dislike.
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. Another awesome part about their surfskate adapters is that you can pump without having to push.
YOW is what I ride the most.
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.
YOW owns Jessup griptape, so obviously they're gonna use their own product. This is one of my favorite parts about the board since it not only has such a cool design, but the grip is good.
I briefly mentioned it above, but it's subtle enough for barefoot riding. I've ridden it for hours and it's never got irritating. Something that I can't say about my Penny surfskate.
I paid about $253 for the YOW PIPE 32″, which is right around what most surfskates retail for. And since the recent explosion of surfskates, they're much more expensive.
If you live in the USA, you're gonna pay a hefty fee for shipping. They're not optimized for the US market.
But the good part is they'll ship to the USA, so I can't really 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!
If you've been looking for a surfskate, then you know it's incredibly hard to get one. Surfskates absolutely exploded in popularity (especially in Thailand), making it extremely hard for most brands to keep up with inventory.
As much as I want to buy another YOW from their new collection, it's nearly impossible. As soon as they restock, their website gets overloaded and everything is sold out immediately. And the amount of DMs I get on Instagram of frustrated people asking me to sell mine to them (I can't even count lol).
This is probably the most frustrating part about YOW surfskates at the moment.
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 (if that makes any sense at all lol). 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 and if you made it this far – I appreciate it.
Feel free to reach out anytime if you need help!