The easiest way to think about the difference between Slide vs Smoothstar surf skateboards is that the Slide models feel more similar to snowboards, longboards or mini mal surfboards, whereas Smoothstar surf skateboards handle more like performance surfboards.
If you are looking for a performance surf trainer where you are focused on improving your technique (top turns, bottom turns) and you want to master turns in a relatively small area like a swimming pool, our recommendation would be to choose a Smoothstar surf skateboard.
If you are looking for something to skate from point A to point B (i.e. a short distance to school or you are out and about with your kids on their scooters or push bikes) and you need to push to generate speed rather than self-generate speed by moving your arms, legs and hips, then a Slide surf skateboard is the better option for you. It is quite hard to push on a Smoothstar any sort of distance and maintain any speed!
In a pump track or bowl you could use either one, but if you don’t have a strong skateboarding base then Smoothstar will be harder to use.
Does my weight make a difference?
If you are above 80kg then the Smoothstar will be considerably more wobbly, which is why we recommend Slide surf skateboards for this weight range.
For lighter skaters, especially kids and early teens, Smoothstar tends to be a better option because of how the truck works – it gives a lot of pivot for people in the 40-60kg weight range. Skaters of this size often find it hard to generate speed on a Slide as the spring on the front truck is stronger.
What about my skateboarding experience?
For anyone starting out on their first skateboard usually we recommend Slide surf skateboards. They are a lot easier to use and within an hour or two you will have the hang of it and be nice and comfortable.
It’s important to note that any beginner skateboarder intending to jump on a surf skate is almost certain to take a fall on their wrists,arms or knees sooner or later. So if you are new to skateboarding and you are not comfortable falling from your board onto the concrete then we really advise you to invest in a full set of protective pads.
Choosing the right surf skateboard size
When choosing which Smoothstar to buy we recommend the Barracuda model for smaller skaters (4-9 years old), the Flying Fish for youth skaters (9-14), and any of the 33”+ boards for adult skaters (up to 6ft/90kgs). For skaters larger than 90kg we recommend the Manta Ray model. For girls, there’s the Johanne Defay option, which is also a great option for guys in the 60-70kg size. Choosing the tail of a board is also important – a wider tail is going to be better for bigger feet. The shorter the board the quicker it’s going to turn with a faster turning radius. The longer the board the faster it’s going to push and with longer glide.
When choosing a Slide you need to take into account the length of the board. The bigger the skateboarder, the bigger the board you’ll need. Slide can easily handle skaters 100kg+ whereas a Smoothstar would be very wobbly for skaters this weight. A Slide’s size doesn’t overly matter but the smaller the board the quicker it will be for turning, the bigger the board the slower it will turn but with more stability. If you are an advanced adult skater or surfer (70-90kg range) and you’re looking for something whippy and fast then any size between the 31” and 32” would be ideal. If you want something you’re going to push and skate around a park or along a boardwalk or path, maybe cruise around with your kids on skateboards or bikes, then the 33” size gives you a bit more room for pushing and with more glide. Bigger boards are a bit better for gliding, much like a longboard is better to skate than a boulevarde.
Choosing the best surf skate for using with a wind wing.
Using a surf skateboard with a wind wing is amazing. In fact, it’s the ultimate wind wing learning tool to help progress your foiling. For wind wingers, our recommendation is to choose Slide over Smoothstar as they handle far greater speeds and with less overall wobble. The turning radius is more natural and feels exactly like you’re turning on a foil. Smoothstar has a much quicker turning radius but is more akin to performance shortboard surfing.
When using a Slide and a wind wing together we recommend the 33” or above size to give you a bit more room for your foot stance. Take care when using the wind wing on a skateboard as any tip drags could rip or puncture your wing.
In summary, surf skates are incredible fun and they will make a massive difference in your surfing experience. Once you’ve got the hang of them, all you will need to work on is your paddle fitness and wave positioning! Both Smoothstar and Slide have pros and cons and whichever one you buy your surfing will definitely improve. Owning both is like having two surfboards in the quiver – a longboard and a shortboard.
Smoothstar surf skateboards are fantastic for surf-specific training, people who are already comfortable on skateboards, and whose end goal is to surf a performance surfboard.
Slide surf skateboards are better for beginner skaters, people who want to skate from A to B, or skate down hills with a snowboard feeling. Or if you are a surfer who is only likely to use a stand up paddle board, longboard, or mini mal.
If you are still not sure which to choose, we have demo Slide and Smoothstar surf skateboards at our store and a large carpark out back where you can test these out and get tuition on how to use them correctly.