The History of Surfskating

Surfskates have seen a significant increase in popularity in recent years, but the modern surfskate movement originated over a quarter-century ago.

Early skateboarding was deeply influenced by surfing, with surfers attaching roller skate wheels to boards in the 50s and 60s. Brands like Makaha and Hobie catered to β€œsidewalk surfing,” highlighting the close relationship between surfing and skateboarding. Despite the shared roots, mainstream skateboarding shifted toward street skating, leaving the surf-influenced style behind.

In 1996, surfers David Colley, Brad Gerlach, and his father Joe developed the Carveboard that mimicked surfing, although it did not gain much traction. Other companies, like Seismic Trucks, XK Torsion Trucks, Revenge Trucks, and Original Trucks, also tried creating a surfy skateboard experience.

Carver Skateboards, founded by Neil Stratton and Greg Falk in 1996, was a major player in establishing what we now know as surfskate. The design and development of the surfskate truck involved extensive testing and tweaking, with one challenge being the creation of a truck that wasn't too twitchy. Carver faced difficulties gaining acceptance within the skateboard industry, and it wasn't until they pivoted to a surf company that they found success, particularly in Japan.

Sector 9, the world's largest longboard company, took notice of Carver and introduced their Gullwing trucks, designed to carve harder. Despite competition, skateboard companies often collaborate to push the industry forward, recognizing the benefits of diversity within the marketplace. As the surfskate market grew, several competitors joined Carver, including SmoothStar, Hamboards, YOW, SwellTech, and Waterborne, each adding unique value to the industry.

Surfskating has become a developed industry, evolving from a single product to a sustainable market within skateboarding. The rise in popularity of surfskating can be attributed to the skateboard industry's openness to diverse styles, visionary product design, availability of quality surfskate brands, and the rapid sharing of content on social media. The COVID-19 pandemic's lockdowns also contributed to the boom, as people looked for new hobbies.

Despite the uncertainty of how surfskating will evolve, it's clear that it is here to stay. Future trends and developments in surfskating will continue to be influenced by consumer preferences and industry innovation. The ongoing dialogue and exchange of ideas within the surfskate community will play a crucial role in shaping its future.

The story of surfskate's rise in popularity is a testament to the enduring appeal of surfing and skateboarding, and their unique synergy.

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