Historically, skateboarding and surfing go hand in hand. If it wasn’t for the former, the latter wouldn’t exist. Skateboarding was, if the urban myths are to be believed, invented by bored surfers frustrated at being held hostage by the whims of mother nature and the vagaries of tidal patterns.
But it wasn’t until the nineteen seventies and the development of longboarding, a style of skating that focused on lower and longer skateboards made for cruising, that skateboarding became closer to a land-based version of surfing. And it wasn’t until an offshoot of longboarding commonly known as surf skating emerged, that skateboarding actually became an onshore form of surfing.
known as Carver boards, thanks to Carver Skateboards becoming the domineering surf skate brand, surf skates are urban surfboards disguised as skateboards. Design-wise they differ greatly from traditional skateboards. They’re more flexible and rely on the skater being more in tune with surfing in order to utilize their unique development to greater effect.
Skaters don’t even need to take their feet off a surf skate, or Carver skateboard, to make them move, as they can “pump” the board (by shifting their weight between their feet) to gradually pick up speed. Highly maneuverable and versatile, Carver boards are a law unto themselves and appeal to the skater looking for something a little different or the surfer who for one reason or another, can’t make it to the ocean to satisfy their wave riding cravings.
While their popularity is undisputedly rising, surf skates are still very much a niche thing, and choosing the right surf skate, to “carve” the streets on, isn’t exactly an easy task. That’s why we’ve plunged headlong into the carver board world. We’ve found five of the best surf skates currently floating on top of the Carver board scene so that you don’t have to. All you have to do is choose which of the five surf skates makes your heart flutter, your soul sing and makes you want to carve through your neighborhood. Are you ready? Good. Surf’s up…
Top 5 Best Carver Skateboard
OUR TOP PICK
We’re starting small with the Magneto Mini Cruiser. Don’t judge this board by its size, as it’s perfectly proportioned to enable any rider to hop on and start carving and street surfing. This board is made to help you make the transition from the more traditional skateboarding scene into the weird and wonderful world of surf skates and carver boards.
Made from Canadian maple, the Magneto Mini Cruiser is strong, durable, and has an almost retro look and feel, that’ll catapult you straight back to the days of skateboarding yore when surf skates were new and the name Carver wasn’t even a twinkle in the scenes eye.
The design of the Mini Cruiser and it’s the usage of a double kicktail means it’s a more balanced, easier to ride, and much easier to stop board than most of its competition, making it a fun alternative to some of the far more expensive big carver style guns.
It’s a board that’s made with beginners in mind and should see you through the early stages of your fascination with everything surf skate without a problem. If anything, it’ll probably increase your obsession ten-fold and by the time you’ve stopped fixating on it, you’ll be ready to move onto bigger, although maybe not better, boards.
- Small and compact, the Magneto Mini Cruiser is a great way to get around and learn to perfect all of the tricks and moves you’ve always wanted while gradually acclimatizing yourself to a new way of riding.
- The Mini Cruiser’s size, or lack of it, and lightweight design means it’s easy to carry around when you need to. You can’t skate everywhere, and whenever you need to holster your board, you’ll be glad the Mini Cruiser is the size it is.
- We know, you’re starting to get sick of the whole size thing, but the Cruiser really is a one size fits all board. It doesn’t matter how big or small or young or old you are, this board is the right size for everyone.
- And you know what else is great about Magneto Mini Cruiser? The price. It won’t tear your pocketbook apart or make your bank balance disappear overnight. At just under eighty dollars it’s an introductory carver board bargain.
- Straight out of the box, the bearings are going to need some love and attention if you want to start learning to carve like a professional. While it’s annoying, it’s a minor job and should take the more technically minded and practically gifted among you less than five minutes to lubricate the bearings and get them rolling the way they were meant to. And for everyone else, that’s what YouTube tutorials are for because let’s face it, at that price, you won’t mind learning how to use a tool or two.
Flow Surfskates have one mission and one mission only. To recreate the feeling of surfing on concrete. They want to bring the waves to the land and give you the right board to ride those concrete waves with. A company formed and staffed by skaters, longboarders and surfers, in their own words, Flow wants to “capture the flow regardless of the swell”, which means that you can ride in style on one of their boards wherever you are.
A fully adjustable set of trucks means that the Swell 33 can be made to ride just the way you want it to and can be tailored to give you the surf skate experience you’ve been looking for. The Swell 33’s deck, while shaped in classic surfboard style, is also a little wider and longer than normal so that you can easily find the position that suits you best for carving and skating.
A single kicktail cruiser, the Swell 33 might have been inspired by big wave riding but it was made to skate the street and does so effortlessly with comfort, style, and safety in mind. The Flow-Tech truck that the Swell 33 uses has an internal spring system to mimic the flow of the ocean and enables the 33 to do exactly what it’s supposed to do; pump and carve with the best of them.
- While it’s a step up and then some from the Magneto Mini Cruiser, the Swell 33 is a real deal, street cruising carver board that does everything that it says it will on the tin. Do you want to learn how to pump? Do you want to do some serious carving? Then the 33 is all the board that you’ll ever need. And at just under one hundred and fifty bucks it's a price worth paying for all the fun that you’ll have it.
- Flow offers a ninety-day warranty on all of their boards. If your board somehow finds its way to Davey Jones’ Locker during the first three months, they’ll either fix it or replace it and won’t charge you a single piece of eight for the privilege. So you can ride all the street bound waves you want safe in the knowledge that Flow will keep you afloat and skating.
- The larger, wider board size means that the Swell 33 is an easier beast to tame and find your footing and own style with. It’s all about finding out who you are on your board, and the Swell 33 will help you to discover your inner street surfer.
- Some of the die-hard Carver only fanatics have complained about the build quality and feel of the Swell 33 and there have been some quality issues (which are covered by the warranty) but both might be worth thinking about before you invest your hard-earned cash in this board.
While they’re more famous for being the company that brought the pogo-bar to the world in 1918, Flybar has been part of the meat and bones of the skating world for a decade or two and their skateboards have evolved to cater to the skate scenes ever-changing moods and trends. So, it was only a matter of time until they unleashed their own carver board.
A twenty-seven and half-inch classic street cruiser style board with a single kicktail, the Flybar’s shape has been designed to give the rider maximum control and stability, making it an easy board to master, ride and carve the streets on.
Made from Canadian maple to make it light and durable, the Flybar Skate Cruiser is another introductory carver style board that bridges the gap between the two skating worlds and allows its riders to sample the best of both.
It’s grip tape laden deck also makes sure that the rider stays stuck to the board, no matter what hazards cross their path. While it isn’t a carver for the more seasoned skater, as beginners boards go, it’s second to none.
- The Flybar’s concave design means that it straddles the gap between street skating and surf skating which makes it the perfect ride for anyone looking to sample, and enjoy, the best of both worlds.
- It’s a light, tough board that’ll happily take whatever you can throw at it and be ready to do it all over again the very next day. It’ll take the same knocks that you will and it’ll be waiting to go and do it all over again whenever you are.
- Have you seen that price? We know, we couldn’t believe it either. If you want to try your hand at surf skating, carving, and street skating, for that amount of money it won’t matter or make you feel guilty if you don’t take to it and decide that the whole skating thing isn’t for you.
- Like the Magneto, the Flybar isn’t blessed within the best of bearings, so if you want to make the most of your board, you’ll have to pay some attention to them before you hit the street.
- There’s also been the odd report that maybe the quality of the Skate Classic isn’t all that it could be, but as those particular grumbles are few and far between, maybe take them with a pinch of salt.
We’ve waxed lyrical about the Penny skateboards before, and there’s a reason why they’re a perennial skate favourite. Penny knows what they’re doing and they make the sort of boards that skaters dream about.
The High Line is the board that Penny introduced as their flagship surf skate and it’s been made to help you get your “stoke” on - which is surfer slang for finding your happiness in the middle of the ocean or whatever it is that you’re doing.
This premiere surf skate model utilizes what Penny calls a “waterborne adaptor” which is engineering speak for their incredibly complicated, yet straight forward front truck which gives the board an incredibly tight turning circle which makes carving a far more intense, and wholly satisfying, experience.
Built the Penny way, this board is tough, durable, and made to last. It’ll take the same sort of beatings that all Penny skateboards do and keep right on carving. A longer and wider model than most Penny boards, the High Line provides the sort of stability and maneuverability that are the trademarks of a great carver board.
- The High Line is a lightweight, tough Penny classic. With enough inbuilt grip to hold you to the deck in even the most arduous of skate-based calamities, the High Line is our number one carver board contender.
- Like all Penny skateboards, it comes with a lifetime guarantee. This board is designed to outlast you and all of your descendants and Penny are so sure that it will, they provided it with a lifetime warranty.
- Just look at it. It’s a retro-tastic thing of beauty that draws from the classic seventies longboarding heyday while looking completely at ease in the twenty-first century.
- It isn’t what you’d call cheap. At around two hundred dollars, it’ll certainly put a dent in your pocketbook, but for all the fun it’ll provide, it’s a price worth paying.
- And it isn’t ideally suited to beginners. You’ll need to have your basics down and know what you’re doing if you want to make the most of, and get the most from, this carver.
For our final choice, we’ve gone with another Flow board, the Nemo. A relatively new brand, Flow is starting to really stamp their identity on the surf skate scene. We’ve already sung their praises earlier on this list and gushed about how much we love their ethos and everything that they represent, so we’re not going to repeat ourselves. We are, however, going to tell you how much we love the Nemo - which is rather a lot.
The Nemo has a purpose-designed carver front truck which means it’ll turn on a dime and that it’s easy to “pump” and get up to speed. With plenty of room on the grip tape covered deck, you’ll easily be able to find your style and skating groove while surfing the streets and the single kicktail provides all the control you’ll need to keep you on point.
And, just like every Flow board does, the Nemo comes with a ninety-day warranty, so if your board sinks while you’re powering it down the street, Flow will step up and either fix or replace your carver.
- The front truck is a monster and will have you carving like you were born to do it in less time than it takes Rodney Mullen to get gnarly.
- Founded and run by longboarders, skaters, and surfers, Flow knows what you want from a board and what you need a board to do. And the Nemo does all of that. And a whole lot more.
- That warranty? We can’t stress how important it is to have that sort of guarantee in your pocket when you hit the streets. The peace of mind it provides is invaluable and lets you get on with hassle-free skating.
- The Nemo isn’t exactly a beginner’s board, so as with the Penny High Line, if you don’t have your basics down, you might want to look elsewhere before investing in this board.
Best Carver Skateboard Buyers Guide
What is a Carver Board?
Surf skateboards sprang out of the longboarding skate scene and are designed to emulate the experience of surfing on the street. Sometimes called Carver boards, a reference to Carver Skateboards who dominated the surf skate market during its early years, surf skateboards have a highly maneuverable front truck that enables the rider to “pump” their skateboard in the same way they would a surfboard to gain momentum without having to push the board with their feet and to turn, or “carve”, in incredibly tight circles
What is the difference between a Longboard and a Carver Board?
To put it succinctly, shape, size, and the front truck. While longboards are the original cruising skateboards designed to capture the surfing experience on the concrete of the street, surf skateboards, or carvers, are smaller, sleeker and more maneuverable and are made to mirror the faster, more thrilling aspects of big wave riding and allow the rider to perfect and use a similar skill set in an urban setting.
Carver boards are the closest a city-bound surfer can get to catching, and riding, waves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Craver Board Is The Best One For Me?
That depends entirely on your level of experience and ability and what you want from your carver board. Are you a beginner looking to learn how to skate or surf or are you a city-bound surfer who yearns to ride the waves?
Whatever you are, there’s a carver board for you. If you’re just taking your first tentative steps into the scene, then we’d recommend the Magneto, but if you’re a die-hard surf or skate junkie, then we’re sure that you’ll feel right at home on the Penny High Line.
But whichever board you end up choosing, we know it’ll be the right one for you. There are streets to surf, so let’s hit the concrete and make every carve count. Cowabunga…