Does Skateboarding Help With Surfing? (Expert Explains)

Many surfers, me included, wish to go surfing waves every day. However, this isn’t always possible due to many different reasons. When this happens, I often grab my skateboard! This way, I can still enjoy riding a board and practice my skills. But does skateboarding help with surfing? You’ll find out in this article.

Skateboarding helps with surfing because it requires similar balance and provides the rider with more board time, which results in muscle memory. The consistency with skateboarding also gives the rider more opportunities to practice their flow and style.

Understanding the similarities between the two sports will allow you to focus on specific aspects of skateboarding to increase your surf skills. In this article, I’ll explain more about the similarities and how to utilize them.

Is Surfing Easier if You Skate?

Surfing can be easier when you skate since many aspects of skateboarding have derived from surfing. Being able to do them on a skateboard will make it easier to learn them on a surfboard. This goes for balance, certain tricks, flow, style, muscle memory, and your creativity on a board.

When I have successfully paddled into the wave and executed a good push-up, the ‘riding the wave’ part starts.

This part of surfing is similar to riding a skateboard because it requires a good balance, and your upper- and lower-body needs to work together. 

While riding the wave, I’ll try to pick a line and pull some tricks. I know some of these tricks by heart, but the other ones might take more practice and have a low success rate.

This is why I practice the same or a very similar trick on a skateboard. It will help my muscles to remember the correct movement and timing.

Practicing your style, tricks, flow, balance, and overall surfing ability is what surfing is all about.

However, due to the waves’ inconsistency and the amount of time you can actually ride them, it might take you a very long time to master that new trick.

Practicing on the pavement with your skateboard will give you consistency since you can repeatedly practice the same line.

In addition, the pavement won’t change, and you don’t have to wait for the next wave.

This will give you a lot more time on your board to improve your surf skills.

How Are Surfing And Skateboarding Similar?

The short answer:

Surfing and skateboarding have similar physical requirements because they share a lot of similar maneuvers and tricks. They also share the same kind of culture due to the fact that skateboarding originates from surfing.

The extended answer:

I want to point out the main similarities between surfing and skateboarding. This will help you with getting a better understanding of the two sports.

Both so-called board sports:

Boardsports require the athlete to ride or stand on a board. A few examples are skimboarding, kite surfing, windsurfing, snowboarding, and of course, skateboarding & surfing.

Similar physical requirements:

Although surfing requires a strong upper body (shoulders and arms) to peddle into the wave and execute a fast and good push-up, skateboarding doesn’t need this.

They’re still very similar in physical requirements! This is because they both require core- and leg strength to keep the balance, make the maneuvers, and land the tricks.

Since there are a lot of similar maneuvers and tricks, both sports use a lot of the same muscle groups.

Similar flow, tricks, and maneuvers:

Both skateboarders and surfers talk about riding/picking a line. This means that the athlete looks at their area (skatepark, street, or wave) and chooses how to ride it.

Due to obstacles on the land, or different parts in a wave, the athlete will have to plan some maneuvers and tricks upfront.

Flow:

To get to the right spot at the right time or to keep a certain speed requires flow.

For example, once a surfer does the trick on a wave or a skater in a pool, they want to end the trick with the same speed they had when they started the trick.

This way, they can keep on riding and perform more stunts and maneuvers.

Tricks:

Both sports have their own style of tricks and stunts that they have in common. Skateboarding can be divided into street and vert skateboarding.

Street skateboarding focuses on flip tricks and grinds. This style of skateboarding doesn’t have many tricks in common with surfing.

However, vert skateboarding is the type of skateboarding done in half-pipes, pools, ramps, and quarters. They represent a kind of concrete wave.

This skateboarding style has many tricks and maneuvers in common with surfing. A few examples are:

  • Aerials, jumping out of the wave or skate object and landing back in it.

  • Slides or grinds, moving along the top of the wave or skate object and landing back in it.

Maneuvers:

The turning of a skateboard and surfboard often have similarities.

A kick turn against a ramp or a top turn against a wave is nearly the same. This goes for carving and many other maneuvers too.

The same type of culture:

Back in the 50s, some surfers wanted to practice their skills on ‘flat’ days (days without waves). This resulted in the birth of skateboarding.

In the following decennia both surfing and skateboarding evolved to the level, they are now.

Since skateboarding has evolved out of surfing, they share similar cultural traits like:

  • Clothing style:

    Baggy pants, loose t-shirts, tank tops, caps, and most of it semi-worn out.

  • Music:

    Rock, punk, hip-hop, and reggae.

Habits:

Living in the moment and not taking life or themselves too seriously.

Surfers and skaters have been looked down upon as outcasts and rebels in both sports. Therefore they started to act like this too.

However, nowadays, both sports have been recognized by the mainstream, resulting in them being more respected by the crowds. Both sports are now slowly losing their rebel status.

How Does Skateboarding Help With Surfing?

The short answer:

Skateboarding will allow you to practice a similar line, trick, or maneuver more frequently than surfing. Repeating the same trick or maneuver many times will make you master it. It’ll also help you improve your physical strength and abilities.

The extended answer:

Skateboarding helps with surfing due to their many similarities and one big difference, which is the location.

Since surfing requires certain weather conditions and, most of all, waves, it’s not always possible to surf.

Even when you can go for a surf, there are still many variables that impact your training. One of the biggest ones is that no wave is the same. 

This is one of the amazing things about the sport, but it makes mastering a trick much more difficult.

When riding on a skateboard, you get to stand on the board the whole time and choose your location.

This means that you can hit the same obstacle, or try the same turn or slide, many times without variables interfering.

The fact that you can choose your location also means that you can, for example:

  • Skate at night under a street light.

  • Skate inside when the weather is terrible.

And most of all, you can skate without waves! So you’re not dependent on getting good waves. So, as a result, you’re more likely to skateboard than surf.

So because you can practice on your skateboard more often than on your surfboard, skateboarding helps much with surfing.

Can You Surf if You Can Skate?

The short answer:

Even though skateboarding can be very helpful to improve your surf skills, being a good skateboarder doesn’t mean that you can surf. This is because surfing requires a knowledge of the ocean, waves, and specific physical aspects, which you don’t acquire by skateboarding.

The extended answer:

A skateboarder doesn’t need to read the ocean or use its arms to move forward.

However, a surfer needs to know where the ocean currents go, when to dive (duck dive) under the wave, where to position yourself to catch a wave, and when to paddle to catch a wave.

Without a doubt, surfing will improve your skateboarding, and skateboarding will improve your surfing.

But although both sports share similarities, they are still too far apart to assume that having mastered one means that you have mastered both.

Conclusion

I hope this article has taught you something about both sports, their similarities, and how to utilize them in your favor.

Since everyone has their own skateboard- or surf style, you might find different tricks or maneuvers which they have in common.

For example, don’t be surprised when you see someone doing a ‘kickflip,’ ‘pivot,’ or another kind of skate trick with a surfboard.

Both sports are still evolving, and I hope I motivated you to help bring these sports to the next level.

Marcus Campbell

Surfing is the biggest passion in my life. Transferring my knowledge about surfing to others is what I love doing most! I do this through my own surf school and through my articles on this website. This is how I hope to get everyone excited about this amazing sport!
Published: 
December 1, 2021
Published: December 1, 2021