While sifting through Stab’s old articles for a side project, I stumbled across this terrible read—a poorly-developed list of surfing’s worst inventions. Seriously, which one of you clowns wrote this? Based on the frustrated tone, I’m assuming impotence was the inspiration for this piece.
The list was correct about most of the products. Nose guards, spray-on traction, wave jets, etc. As much as I love Bill Bryan, sector deck velcro pads weren’t a million-dollar idea. However, the product that does not deserve a spot on this list is “Every single ‘surf skate’ abortion ever created.”
Disclaimer: The best way to get better at surfing is to go surfing—no way around it. No workout out or training device is going to progress one’s surf skills faster than actual surfing.
This doesn’t mean all balance tools on land are useless, though.
Those little surf skate things are pretty helpful, especially for beginners. Those who pick up surfing as their first board sport often struggle to find a flow. A normal skateboard helps, but the swivel truck on those surf skates is a closer match to the motion of surfing. For this reason, surf coaches use these contraptions for teaching their young prodigy students.
Benefits of a surf skate.
Extra reps. Reps you can’t get because of school, work, or a lack of sufficient swell. Waves are a limited resource, some days more limited than others. Obviously, this excludes those with access to wavepools, but not everyone can afford to blow $1000 for 10 waves. Finding a consistent wave is difficult. If you do happen to find one, there’s a good chance you won’t be surfing it alone.
On a Carver, all you need is an inclined surface. A bank, driveway, or parking garage should do the trick. You get unlimited tries. Do cutbacks until it feels comfortable, develop some muscle memory.
Hand placement. Hands! Your hands are a guide and a telltale sign if you’re off balance. Riding a surf skate will allow you to focus on where your hands are and where they should be. Keep this in mind next time you surf, and you’ll notice an improvement.
Hips and Shoulders. Learning how to open up your hips and shoulders is imperative while drawing lines. They dictate your turns. Surf skates provide endless opportunities to mimic bottom turns with the proper form.
Not all sunshine and rainbows.
Being good on a skateboard with a weird truck won’t automatically make you a tour-level surfer. Indeed, The amount of force required to turn a surfboard is substantially greater than wiggling around on a surf skate. Attempting to lean that hard on a skateboard will cause the wheels to slide out. The surf skate devices provide a good blueprint for what to do on a wave, but surfing provides the most direct results.
Surf skates are fine (except at the skatepark, 14-year-olds will harass you). If you’re wave deprived, they offer an alternate solution for getting reps in. It’s like taking practice swings with a golf club. As the acting Chief Intern, I am removing surf skate from the list and replacing it with this abomination.