This week, I thought I would try a new experience Surfskating.
So what’s the difference? Well basically, on a skateboard or longboard, the trucks can only rotate on the kingpin axis, so turn slightly to allow the board to move left or right, but with a surfskate, there is an additional arm which allows the front wheels to turn a lot more and much quicker, mimicking the feeling of surfing on a shortboard.
A good friend has been kind and has lent me a 36-inch YOW Malibu board, which is close to the smaller longboard I use, so I was hoping that the transition would be reasonably simple. I was wrong. On reflection, I think it may be a bit long for me – the ideal stance is shoulder width, but I am going to try a bit longer on this one before I decide to go slightly smaller.
As a longboard skater, I needed to change pretty much everything I did before. Longboards are pretty stable and much more forgiving and chilled to ride, even when I use them in the skatepark, it’s pretty mellow, but the surfskate is like a bucking bronco. Just getting on it is a major feat! The front trucks just go anywhere so getting your stance and balance right is essential.
The next thing is the stance and movement – it is very much a shortboard surfing stance, low body, knees bent, back leg kicked under in readiness for lots of compression and extension, arms forward – this method is used to gain momentum and speed, plus for doing bottom and top turns – even on flat ground. The key is to watch your leading hand, follow the motion of the hand and the board will follow.
Luckily my friend Lena is very experienced with surfskates, so she is helping me overcome some of my issues – and after a few hours, I was getting the hang of it – on the flat ground anyway. Once I can get the stance and motion right, I am looking forward to taking on the curved walls at the skatepark – but I have still got a long way to go. I did a little one but was definitely not in a good position to pull it off.
After a few hours and I am exhausted both physically and mentally – I have a new set of aches in the leg muscles and my brain has exploded with so much to take on and adjust to. All I will say is give it a go!
Once I am a bit more accomplished, I will do a progress report and some videos – Lena is really good and I now have my challenge in place. It is so different from longboarding and I must admit I really like the freedom of the motion.