Carving it up with a surf-skate

When the sun comes out, everyone wants to get outside. Most people are content to just sit and bask in the sunshine, but some people want to do more.

We were itching to get in the water this weekend, but thanks to a distinct lack of surf spots nearby, that was pretty difficult. Thank goodness for our Carver skateboard…

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The Carver is known as a surf-skate. Technically, it’s described as ‘a skateboard with patented truck geometry that creates thrust and deep rail to rail carves, yielding a carve dynamic that is remarkably similar to a surfboard’.

That basically means it’s a skateboard which is designed to mimic the movement of surfing, in its truest form, on land.

The Carver was born in California in the 1990s when two surfers couldn’t get on the water due to a lack of waves. Instead, they grabbed their skateboards and headed for the hills. But they gradually realised that in comparison to surfing, their skateboards were too ‘stiff’ – they missed the snap and drive of a surfboard and the pumping of waves to gain speed. They loosened the front trucks on their boards hoping that it might make a difference, but the ride became too shaky.

Refusing to give up, they attempted to design a totally new board and, eventually, the first Carver prototype was created. At that point, the duo were designing boards for fun, trying to create a ‘street surfer’ they could turn to when there were no waves.

But, as their design evolved, they decided to make small batches of several hundred and sent them into the hands of both skaters and surfers. The orders started coming in faster than Carver could create boards – and the rest is history.

Now, I’ve only ever skated on a carver once before, back in Lanzarote when we borrowed a board from one of our surf instructors. Once I’d got enough confidence to trust myself (and my balance), I had loads of fun, and despite still being a novice, I definitely noticed the similarities between long boarding on a carver and surfing.

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That was about a year ago now, so when we took the board out this weekend, I was pretty much starting from scratch.

We headed to the beach promenade in our hometown in West Sussex, and I watched as my boyfriend, seemingly effortlessly, carved up and down the beachfront, weaving between groups of people, making snappy turns and grabbing the rails.

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Then it was my turn.

The first go was pretty wobbly. I pushed myself off once, instinctively reaching out for a shoulder to lean on for balance. I did short bursts of skating, focusing on my footing, concentrating on my balance and how to make small turns.

I practiced weaving either side of a yellow line that ran along the length of the prom.

Slowly, I was getting there.

We took a break for lunch, and by the time I took to the board again, my confidence had taken a running leap. Rather than one tentative push-off, I took several steps, picking up much more speed than before and even weaving past a few groups of people.

(Apparently I even got a nod from a fellow skater – although I was concentrating too much to actually notice…)

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Before long, I was skating faster, making more turns, and enjoying the ride along the seafront, glancing up at the ocean and taking in my surroundings rather than focusing solely on the board beneath my feet.

And it was so much fun.

To start with, I was a little self-conscious, refusing to board when there were too many people around. But as my confidence on the carver grew, I began not to notice so much. If something went wrong, I’d laugh and jump off the board ready to start again. And suddenly, an old surfer quote sprung to my mind:

The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun – Duke Kahanamoku

True on land, true on water – true pretty much anywhere and in any situation I reckon…

So this weekend, I learnt that carving, like surfing, is all about confidence and balance. The way you have to turn your body on a surfboard is similar to the way you have to turn your body on a carver. So for someone who wants to surf more but doesn’t get many chances, I’m hoping that this will help my technique when I’m next in the water.

And for anyone who can’t get on the water, but is craving a session? Grab a carver, head to the beach, and have a skate.

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