Are you a surfer who wants to take your surfing moves on the asphalt? Or are you a skateboarder who simply loves the idea of surfing the concrete with your longboard? Well, surfing the street is definitely possible but of course, you cannot use your surfboard to do that or even your regular longboard to achieve the exciting feeling of surfing.
So, how can you experience the thrill of surfing the street? Well, you first need to understand what street surfing is and how it differs from regular skateboarding or longboarding. But choosing the right longboard is the ultimate key.
What Is Street Surfing?
Even before, surfers already had the idea of surfing the concrete when the waves were too small or the ocean was too calm. They would usually get a piece of wood, ride on it and imagine the pavement as the ocean.
In the late ’90s, riders have been exploring street surfing and the sport has grown silently along with longboarding. It is hardly mentioned in discussions in the longboarding world as they consider it a different kind of sport.
The goal of street surfing is to imitate the feeling of surfing or riding down a snow slope. Both entail executing beautiful turns which is also the goal in street surfing. However, you cannot perform this on a regular longboard or even on your normal skateboard.
The only way to achieve the same feeling of surfing on concrete is to pump and carve on a different level, not the same as when one normally rides a longboard. Street surfing longboard has unique trucks designed to ride the street like riding on a wave.
What Is A Street Surf Longboard?
The street surf longboard, and what some usually refer to as surf skateboard/longboard, was first seen in the late ’90s. It is a special kind of skateboard and longboard because of its front truck.
Different types of longboards are designed for every kind of purpose. You can find longboards specifically for commuting, racing downhill, freeriding, and even dancing. Since the discovery of street surf longboarding, another kind of longboard was designed especially for this.
What makes its front truck different is that it has a moving front truck. Normal trucks on longboards only turn through the kingpin axis; street surf longboard has an additional rotation axis allowing it to turn around.
Having an extra axis of gyration makes all the difference. It allows the board’s front kicktail to shift both sides when the rider transfers weight from one edge to the other. It gives more graceful and impressive turns as the rider moves from rail to rail. The rear truck serves as the point where the board revolves.
The same principle applies to surfing or snowboarding. Applying pressure on one side will make a surfboard turn. The speed will depend on the shape of the surfboard. The same thing with a snowboard, shifting your weight on your front or back will make you turn in that direction.
Street Surfing Longboard Essentials
So, what are the basic requirements to enjoy this interesting sport? Since it’s not your usual longboard, what makes it different? Can you tweak an ordinary longboard and make it a street surfing longboard? Here’s everything you need to know, so let’s start with the parts.
This is the component that makes all the difference. The trucks are the key to achieving that surf-like sensation, particularly the front trucks.
Since street surfing has gained popularity, there are now available surf trucks or surfskate trucks. These special trucks are used in the front to give that feeling of surfing. Longboards for street surfing should have tight-turning and receptive front trucks.
Compared to an ordinary longboard that uses rubber bushings, surf trucks normally have springs to make it turn more than normal boards. The front trucks on a typical longboard return to their normal position after each turn, which is not the case on surf trucks.
When it comes to rear trucks, they need to be stable to support the turning of the front truck. The same thing is true when it comes to surfboards. The fins help balance the board as the front board turns spontaneously. Now, there are still several types of surf trucks to choose from. It can either focus on pumping or on more extreme turns and cuts or in between the two. The choice really depends on the rider’s preference.
A street surf truck set should consist of a springy or tight turning front truck and a regular longboard truck to maintain stability. Now if you have a longboard already, all you need to do is change your front trucks.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to street surfing longboard. It is important to find the right size, lip profile, and hardness of the wheels. To achieve more speed and roll more, you need a larger wheel size.
So, that means your wheels should be larger. The normal wheel size for surfing longboards is between 60 to 70mm. When choosing the right size for your board, it should match the size and shape of your deck. This is to prevent wheelbite.
The lip profile should be square. A round lip normally provides better slides, while sharp-lipped wheels give more traction. A squared lip is a combination of both, which is needed for street surfing.
Lastly, the hardness of wheels. You need softer wheels for your surfskate. Usually, wheels with a durometer of 70A provide a better grip during tight turns. However, some professional street surfers prefer harder wheels to perform extreme surf movements.
As for the surfskate decks, the length, width, and wheelbase are some important things to consider. Typically, it should have a flat or medium concave for better foot placement during surf movements.
Having a mellow concave makes tight turning easier. Having a wider nose supports fast steering. Usually, a traditional kicktail longboard would be a nice choice for surfskate.
You may also find surfing longboards with the same shape as a surfboard. However, it’s not necessary to get one of those to perform surf-like longboarding.
Grips and Bearings
These parts may not have the same level of importance as the other parts mentioned above. However, it is best to get high-quality bearings. You might also want to get those with a built-in shield to protect them during sliding and hard snapbacks.
The grip on the deck should not be too rough. This is to help your feet move freely while executing surfing motions.
Riding A Street Surf Longboard
Since you now know the components that make a decent surfskate, how about we learn how to ride the board?
Stance is important in any kind of board sport. Your stance makes a difference in what you want to achieve when riding. Stance also guides you in the direction you want your board to go.
There are two kinds of stance, regular and goofy. A regular stance is when your left foot is placed in front of your board and your right foot is used to push the board, which is placed at the rear. Goofy, on the other hand, is the opposite of regular.
Since this is street surfing, it only makes sense that you have the same stance as when you are surfing. Normally, the feet should be shoulder-width apart. The back foot should be on top of the rear truck and the front foot a little behind the front truck.
The get you moving on your board usually depends on the kind of board you’re riding. Some designs require a full-body movement while others involve shifting your toe and heel. You just need to assess the right movement for the kind of board you have.
Pumping and Carving
Street surfing requires a lot of pumping and carving. When you can keep your board rolling by rotating your body and with consecutive heel and toe transition, then you are already pumping.
Carving is performing tight turns while rolling and generating more speed. Street surfing is a combination of pumping and carving. As mentioned earlier, the trucks of your longboard can help you achieve this.
The ability to pump your longboard on a flat surface and continue moving without foot pushing, along with tight and extreme carvings, makes all the difference between street surfing and normal longboarding.
So, you can ride a longboard, but can you ride it with surf-like maneuvers? Riding a longboard versus riding a street surfing longboard are two different things.
Of course, you can ride a surfskate the same way you ride a regular longboard but it is not designed to perform common longboarding techniques. You cannot execute kickflips, dancing, cross stepping, etc to a surfing longboard.
Why is that? Because it is designed to imitate the movement of surfing. Also, since the front trucks on a street surfing longboard are moving it would be harder to do tricks like nose riding, skate park tricks, and freestyle.
Street Surfing Techniques
Are surfing techniques applicable or the same with street surfing longboard? Can you perform those tricks even without the big waves? Well, of course, you can. So, here are some surfing-related techniques you can try with your street surfing longboard.
The bottom turn in surfing is the hard turn that surfers make after getting off a big wave and dropping to its bottom. You can also perform the same technique on your surfskate.
To do this, you need to press and crouch as you prepare for the turn. It also requires some speed. After that, you need to do the opposite to exit the turn.
Instead of pressing and crouching you need to extend your knees by pushing hard to spring your body up. This will give energy to your board.
If there’s a bottom turn, there’s also what they call the top turn in surfing. This is normally performed after a bottom turn.
In street surfing longboard, you do this as you reach the top incline you are on. From your bottom turn, you need to push the edge while your upper body opens up. This will complete the S-turn as you go back down again.
Can you start learning the top turn even on a flat surface? Yes, you can, the important thing here is shifting of weight and motion of your body.
Snap in surfing is pushing your board and turning at a sharp angle. Usually turning in 180º. To apply this on your street surf longboard, you need to put your weight on the front truck, thus unloading the rear truck. You need to push hard the rear of your board making your back wheels slide.
This is somehow the same as the top turn. However, you do a U-turn instead of the S-turn. With a top turn, you continue to move down, with cutback as you perform the U-turn you ride again on the other side or opposite direction.
How to Choose the Right Street Surfing Longboard
Are you still confused about the kind of longboard to start surfing the street? Choosing the best one even with learning all the essential things to look for a board can still be challenging.
When you check out a skate shop, you’ll see that there are tons of surfskate to choose from. It can be overwhelming, but to lessen the stress and confusion here are some things you need to take into consideration.
- Your experience in any board sport
- Your skill level in longboarding
- Your size and shape
- Your goal in riding one
- Quality front trucks
- Size and shape of the board
- Your budget
Do you think you’re ready to hit the ground with your street surfing longboard? It sure is a fun and exciting activity to master, and the good news is that anyone can learn it even those with zero experience in any kind of board sport. If you still feel lost with choosing the right type of board, you can always seek help from the experts, such as the skate shop representatives. They might be able to help shorten your list.