Guest Author: Marcus Mead
About the author: Surfer (skater in this case), 37 years old. 6’2”/180lbs. Surfing since age 10. I ride shortboards and fishes. Skated as a youngster, was never any good. Acquired a Carveboard about 10 years ago. Really liked the Carveboard for reproducing the surfing feeling; weight distribution, body rotation, balance etc. Found that the Carveboard needs a wide road and a fairly steep hill and does not like manhole covers laid out in turns. Got a standard skateboard a few years ago as there was a new Dreamland skatepark at my office parking lot. I’m not a competent (or confident) enough skater to even drop in. I rolled in went up a few feet and practiced surfing-style turns and body articulation.
Desires: Reproduce a surfing turn on the street. I want to practice surfing when not surfing.
Board: Carver 31” Taylor Knox Special. I’m using the non-stock 78a Mag wheels.
Results/The Ride: Best surfing turn reproduction ever! Same body movements, same feel. Probably 98% of a surfing turn. Plus, it won’t create bad habits as the weight distribution is spot on. Same movements generate speed like pumping on a wave. Cruising along, it’s easy to see a driveway ramp (proxy of a lip or section) see a spot, aim for it and to hit it, using all the same techniques you would on a surfboard. The more you rotate your shoulders and have surfing-proper body articulation, the more speed is carried and more positive the turn. It’s easy to imagine bottom-turning and making combination moves from bottom-to-top turn. It also reacts like a surfboard, if you front foot a turn, it increases the turn radius and flows. Weighting the rear foot, you can gouge that spot you aimed for on the driveway. It feels great going backside and frontside up sloped driveways. Great cross training. I was hooked from the first turn.
Additionally, it can act as a standard skateboard. The rear trucks are standard and, although I’ve not done so, I’m sure one could perform rotational turns in a bowl. It doesn’t handle high speeds with the large wheels and the pivotal front truck, but a little ramp or bowl would be fine. It’s also an unstable feeling to push the board, as the board is tippy when unweighted or with just one foot contact point. But, the advantage is that one can pump up gentle slopes easily, just like you would on a flat or slow wave generating speed.
At my height, I might have gotten the 33”, but the 31” really is fine.
Negatives: It’s possible, although somewhat difficult, to push too hard and slide the rear wheels during a turn. For those that want to practice fin-slides, the Carver is perfect. Usually when I do slide the wheels, I’m playing with how hard I can push it on flat streets (as opposed to sloped driveways). I’ve not yet slipped the wheels on a driveway.
Comparison to Carveboard: It rides like a Carveboard, but tighter turn radius. I can’t get as close to the pavement with arcing turns as a carveboard, but the general turning movement is the same. However, the Carver feels closer to a surfing shortboard than the Carveboard. A Carveboard feels more like a log in the water. Carver also turns at a much lower speed than a Carveboard and needs a much narrower street and not as much of a slope. I can now go straight outside my door and make a few turns. It’s not as heavy to walk up a hill. It’s only as heavy as a regular skateboard. The Carveboard had more wheel (tire in this case) traction and didn’t slide out ever (unless I hit a manhole cover or leaves).
I ordered my board direct from the company, but Gorge Performance now has them in stock as I went in raving about it. (No, I’m not affiliated with GP).
Taylor Knox grabbin’ rail.