Does Skateboarding Help Surfing?

Does Skateboarding Help SurfingDoes skateboarding help surfing?  There is no science to confirm that skateboarding helps surfing but there are a lot of anecdotal information that may support the theory that skateboarding will help your surfing.  Let’s look into this further.

Personal Experience

I’d like to state that I am not a skateboarder but I have been a surfer for over 10 years.  I tried to skateboard twice, in that 10 plus years of surfing, and neither time ended well (I hit my head on both attempts).  Being much older, I prefer not to break bones, get a concussion or have road rash, so my experience with skateboarding ended after two tries.

One thing I must make clear, just because you know how to surf, doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be able to skateboard.  I also find water much more forgiving than cement or asphalt.

I’ve also tried several products that claim to help with surfing, the balance board comes to mind, but in my opinion the only thing they helped, was to lighten my wallet.  This is my experience but it is obviously not shared by all.

What Are The Similarities

Does skateboarding help surfingJust like surfboard surfing, skateboarding requires skill and balance and the movement of your body to achieve maneuvers.  Skateboarding, also like surfing, has a one foot forward stance and just like surfing, if you skateboard left foot forward you’re considered a “regular footer” and if you skateboard right foot forward you’re considered a “goofy footer.”

Skateboarding relies on a board, just like surfboard surfing, a much smaller board but still a board.  The term longboard, is used both in skateboarding and surfing and generally refers to the same thing, a longer board.

In skateboarding, your rear or back foot, just like surfing, controls and steers your board.  Skateboarders also lean into turns just as surfers do.

Many of the aerial tricks that the expert and professional surfers perform are named after skateboard aerial maneuvers.  Just like the ramp a skateboarder uses to perform these aerial maneuvers, the expert and professional surfer will utilize the wave as ramp to perform their aerials.

What Are The Differences

With surfing, you begin in a prone position (unless you’re stand-up paddle surfing), in skateboarding you begin standing up.  The skateboard is much smaller than a surfboard and has wheels attached to it.

The skateboarder will most often use footwear, while the surfer will most often not.  Surfers will use their arms and in some cases their legs to get moving, while skateboarders will use strictly their legs.

The biggest difference between skateboarding and surfing is that one relies strictly on land and the other strictly on water.  A surfer can’t surf unless there are waves.  A skateboarder can skateboard on a flat surface, utilizing the momentum from leg drive to get the board moving.

As stated earlier, surfers need waves and need to catch those waves in order to surf.  Skateboarders can use hills and their own momentum to skateboard.  Surfers are dependent on swells and tides, while skateboarders aren’t.  Wind conditions, can seriously affect if a surfer can or should surf a surf break.  Skateboarders are not really affected as much by wind conditions as are surfers.

Skateboarders, generally, do not have to worry about fauna when they skateboard, while surfers will always have the thought of sharks in the back of their mind.

Anecdotal Evidence

Many professional surfers are also skateboarders.  John John Florence and Josh Kerr, instantly come to mind as professional surfers who are also excellent skateboarders.  These two professional surfers are known for their aerial surfing maneuvers.

Some surf coaches, recommend using a skateboard to help maintain condition and practice surf maneuvers, when you can’t get to the water or when surf conditions are not ideal.

Some skateboard makers, especially Carver skateboard, claim their boards can mimic the feel of surfing a wave.  These skateboard makers also have testimonials that support this claim.

Doing a Google search, I read many forums and posts that claimed that skateboarding helped in their surfing, most in the form of a faster learning curve.

In Conclusion

As stated in the beginning of this post, there is no scientific evidence that skateboarding helps surfing but there is anecdotal evidence.  There are many similarities as well as differences between skateboarding and surfing.

So, to answer the question, “Does skateboarding help surfing?” the only thing I can say for sure is that it doesn’t hurt surfing.  If professional surfers are willingly doing it, and you are willing to accept the bumps and bruises, maybe it not such a bad idea.  It couldn’t hurt, at least not figuratively.

Check out my post “Exercises for surfing,” these exercises will definitely get you fit and help you surf longer.

Thanks for dropping in and if you have any comments or questions, please post it in the comments section of this page.

10 thoughts on “Does Skateboarding Help Surfing?

  1. This is an interesting post. I don’t take part in any of these sports too much but I am a big snowboarder and long boarder, and I believe that each board sport helps in the other even though they are different, and i believe it’s because it helps coordination. Love the site, and keep up the good work.

    • Hi JP, Seems to be the consensus opinion that knowing one will help you know the other.

      Thanks for the comment and dropping in!

  2. This was an interesting article to read. I never really thought of the two of them being that similar. You explained the differences and similarities nicely. It makes me think that if you are good at one then the other should be able to be picked up on easier than if you did neither of the two, even if there is no actual scientific evidence.

    • Hi Destin, Based on anecdotal evidence, I think you’re right in your assumption, that knowing one will help you learn the other easier.

      Thanks for comments and dropping in!

  3. HI Stuart,

    I have been surfing for over 25 years (actually just got out of the water, some nice right handers at Noosa!). I had been a skater and windsurfer for about 5-6 years before I started surfing. I don’t skate much now as I can’t afford the injury time, just a bit of street cruising here and there.

    I would say that skating has helped my surfing, particularly when starting out. I guess it is just that feeling of flowing and carving.

    I don’t think it makes much difference now but more when starting.

    Cheers.

    • Hi Doc, Nice to hear from a fellow surfer! So, based on your personal experience you believe it would only be beneficial to a beginner, interesting!

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  4. For a second there I was trying to work out whether I was a regular footer or goofy footer. I’ve never heard those terms before haha

    BTW I’m a regular footer!

    Your right. After reading the post what would seem like quite a natural transition from Skate boarding to Surfing is very different.

    It just didn’t occur to me how different?

    Shoes no shoes. Skate board, much bigger Board! Arms and feet to propel forward on surf board just legs and feet on the other.

    Great post.

    P.s I think I’d rather a cut knee than a shark bite!!

    • Hi John, I also would take a cut knee over a shark bite but you are more likely to be struck by lightning than bitten by a shark. I think if you would try to learn to skateboard, a cut knee would be the least of your injuries.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  5. Hi Stuart,
    I have asked this question before, out of curiosity, but to people that have no knowledge in either sport! Maybe I should have done the research on my own! I like how I finally have an answer now after reading this post. I like the idea of surfers skateboarding when they can’t be on the water to help practice surf maneuver, makes sense. And the boards that can mimic the feel of surfing a wave is a great idea! I never knew something like this existed. I think that would be good for someone new at both sports to try out, to get the feel for surfing while skateboarding!
    Thanks for the info.

    • Hi Summerly, There is no scientific evidence that skateboarding will help your surfing but it definitely won’t hurt it. I’m too old to pick-up skateboarding plus I don’t want any of the injuries you can receive skateboarding, if I was younger, I’d probably give it a shot.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

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