What is a surfskate and why are so many people riding one?

man surfing

Most of you already know the differences between a longboard, a skateboard and a cruiser board. But do you know what a surfskate is? In this post, you’ll find out all you need to know about this amazing invention. Truth is, you’ve likely already seen someone using it in your city.

surfskate in thailand
Source: Bangkok Post

A surfskate is a type of skateboard with special trucks that replicate the feeling of surfing or snowboarding on land. These special trucks pivot sideways aggressively and are usually built with a bushing or spring-loaded suspension. The aggressive back & forth motion helps generate momentum, pushing the rider forward. 

How exactly do the surfskate trucks work?

If you compare the trucks of a skateboard, longboard and surfskate you’ll immediately find some noticeable differences. Skateboard trucks are traditional kingpins (TKPs) and longboard trucks are usually reverse kingpins (RKPs) - they mostly look alike, except the formers’ kingpins point to each other and the latters’ point outwards. A surfskate’s front and back trucks look entirely different.

The front trucks are usually significantly larger than regular skateboard/longboard trucks - surfskate trucks are mounted on a rotating arm. While skateboard & longboard trucks only rotate their kingpin axis, surfskate trucks rotate on an additional axis of rotation because of this additional arm. This special front truck turns the board sharply as the rider shifts their weight to heelside and toeside. While this happens, the rear truck acts as a pivot point that allows the board to change direction. 

Who are surfskates for?

As the name implies, surfskates are mostly used by surfers who wish to get their training done during flat days. Especially in Singapore, we have hardly any waves to surf on. This is why surfers in Singapore largely rely on surfskates when they’re unable to visit their favourite spots overseas. The special trucks closely replicate the feeling of surfing on concrete land. However, it’s not just limited to surfers - surfskating has evolved over the years into a bigger sport than just surf training. 

If you’re seeking an adventure and a new liberating way to skate, you’ll definitely enjoy being on a surfskate board. Here’s a bonus tip: it also burns a ton of calories and your legs will be burning after each session. If you’re looking for a new workout routine during these Covid-19 times, you’re at the right spot.

How long should my surfskate be?

The most noticeable difference between surfskates are the deck lengths. The general rule of thumb is: the shorter and lighter you are, the smaller your deck should be; the taller and heavier you are, the larger your deck should be.

A shorter deck means a narrower wheelbase (distance between your trucks), which gives a snappier feel due to the tighter turning radius. We’ve tested various wheelbases and we recommend sticking to the 30”-35” range for maximum efficiency. A deck that’s too short results in an extremely unstable ride, while a deck that’s too long decreases your efficiency.

Height

Weight

Surfskate Length

160cm-181cm

50kg-85kg

30”-32”

165cm-187cm

60kg-90kg

31”-33”

175cm-193cm

70kg-100kg

32”-35”

How do I choose my wheels?

Wheels generally differ on two aspects: Size and durometer. These directly impact the stability of your ride, and how easy it is to break into slides. 

The size of your wheels can be measured by the diameter and the contact patch (area of the wheels in contact with the ground). The smaller your diameter, the faster you accelerate, but with lower top speed. The lower the contact patch, the easier it is for you to break into slides. If you’re just starting out on a surfskate, we’d recommend you get wheels that are at least 65mm in diameter with a 51mm contact patch.

Durometer measures the hardness of your wheels. The higher your durometer, the harder your wheels will be. Hard wheels range from durometers of 81A onwards. While harder wheels allow you to break traction and slide easier, it can be uncomfortable for beginners. On the flip side, soft wheels range between 75A-78A. Softer wheels would be recommended as they grip better and roll over uneven surfaces easier.

How can I get started?

There are various videos on youtube you can check out if you’re up for the challenge. If you prefer having someone to coach you, we’d strongly recommend 19Dreams - Singapore’s first surfskate school. The coaches, Arthur and Darimi, are extremely passionate about surfing and surfskating. You’ll be in good hands with them!