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.
|Surfskate Type||Spring pivoting adapter|
|Riding Style||Deep pumping|
|Headquarters||Basque Country, Spain|
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 aggressively.
It’s one of the best options to practice your pumping and turns for surfing. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re a beginner since it’s so aggressive. Instead, look into Carver. Carver is where most beginners start.
Alright, now let’s take an in-depth look at all the parts.
They use two different sizes of 10-32 flat hex bolts.
YOW front adapter bolts size are…
- 5/8″ flat hex bolts
YOW back truck bolts size are
- 2″ flat hex bolts
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 thick.
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 doing low-key cruising/carving on your YOW, then there’s not a big difference between the Meraki and the S5. But if you do more radical turns and find yourself riding fakie often, the extra stability of the Meraki makes sense.
When it comes to the differences between the S4 and S5, it 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), adding 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.
I never used this feature since the board sits higher above the ground than 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, but they switched.
They now make their wheels in-house; every setup comes with their URA wheels.
Props to them for making their wheels in-house. I don’t know of any other surfskate brand that manufactures the components of their setups.
The bushings are street cone and barrel.
The cones are 1/4″ and the barrels are 1/2″. YOW’s bushing durometer is 92a.
The bearings have caps on one side and come with separated spacers.
I like bearings with built-in spacers, but not a big deal.
Overall, the quality of YOW surfskates is solid.
Now that I’ve covered every part of a YOW surfskate, let’s go over some pros & cons.
Pros & Cons
First, let’s start with…
Surfskate Feel (Pro)
The overall feel of riding my YOW surfskates (in my opinion) does replicate surfing. It will be impossible to feel exactly like it, but you can 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. I can focus on drawing out my turns and engaging my upper body with the YOW.
It’s nice having something that allows me to practice consistently because the waves aren’t consistent where I live.
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. They truly understand surf culture and capture it beautifully. I know this is a personal preference, but I think most would agree.
They’re constantly putting out new designs and working with different artists. They have a variety of designs for different tastes, which is refreshing.
3D Viewer (Pro)
I’ve said this for a while. All board companies should have 3D models of their decks, so it’s easier for us to get a feel of the shape. SwellTech was one of the first brands to do this.
YOW has it on all their product pages, which is very convenient.
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 tightrope. 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 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.