How Skateboarding Can Make You a Better Surfer

Just because there are no waves doesn't mean you can't surf

Photo: Longboards by Original Skateboards

There are benefits for intermediate surfers too, like Julie-Ann Burkhart, who lives near San Francisco.

She has been surfing for 18 years and skating for 11. She also feels that riding a skateboard advances her skills on the waves.Along with snowboarding, skating “helps with big swooping carves and staying on rail”.

While any skateboard will let you practice certain surf skills on land, some are better choices than others. Green recommends riding a longboard skateboard for cruising and flowing; they correspond to mid-length and longboard-style surfing.

But he’s a particular fan of vintage old-school non-twin tip skateboard decks from the 80s. “They are wide enough for the entire foot to be on and work that toe-heel transition technique,” he says, and “loosening the trucks and using a soft wheel for good grip on the pavement is my preference as well.”

There are several companies making skateboards specifically for surfers that are intended to more closely replicate the surfing experience on land.

The most popular is probably Carver, which was started in 1995 by two California surfers looking to improve the standard skateboard design. “Skating helps with big swooping carves and staying on rail” To create a “surfskate,” they designed a front truck with a dual-axis pivot, allowing the wheels to turn laterally and the skateboard to “carve” like a surfboard.

The current generation of Carver trucks are the C7, with the fluid feel of a single fin surfboard, and the CX, which is snappier like a tri-fin thruster. Because of the special front truck, it’s also possible to “pump” these boards to keep moving on the flats without pushing a foot against the ground.

Surfer Josh Kerr representing Carver. Photo: Carver

Pro surfers Josh Kerr and Taylor Knox are Carver skateboard team riders and have lent their names and design ideas to some of the brand’s boards. Molina rides a Carver skateboard, which she loves, and Green likes them for their namesake carving abilities.

Other companies also offer skateboards with a more surfy feel. While the front truck on a SmoothStar skateboard turns more freely than a normal truck, the back truck is fixed to act like the fins on a surfboard.

If you’re a longboard surfer and want to practice cross-stepping, try a skateboard like the Loaded Bhangra.

The Loaded Bhangra in action. Photo:

The original Carveboard has an interesting design which incorporates adjustable pneumatic tires, and the trucks are offset in front of the nose and behind the tail of the skateboard.

No matter which skateboard you choose, when the waves are flat, blown out, overcrowded or just too far away, pick it up and go out street surfing.

Practice your moves repetitively, improve balance and recovery, and build strength and endurance. The next time you hit the water, you may just find your wave-riding has become a little better.


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