Surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding are all stylish sports which can be appreciated aesthetically.
The feature common to all of them, as you might guess, is the board. Does this mean that the skill-set from one sport is transferable to another? i.e. if I’m a good surfer will I be good at skateboarding?
Well, that’s what I’ve been investigating, and here’s my verdict on the matter.
The short, and slightly ambiguous, answer to that question is: sort of. There are some skills that each sport will hone and will be useful in the others. However, that is not to say if you are good at one you will definitely be good at the others. This is because certain aspects of each of them make them very different indeed.
One way in which all three board sports are similar, in terms of technique, is in that they all use carving. Carving involves putting your weight forward (towards your toes) or backward (towards your heels) to turn in either direction. In snowboarding and surfing the edge of the board touches the snow/water, whereas in skateboarding it isn’t common to have the edge of the board touch the ground, as this generally leads to a loss of balance.
All sports share jargon for describing the order your feet are arranged on the board. You’re said to be a “regular foot” if you have your left foot at the front of the board, and a “goofy foot” if you have your right foot at the front. As a general rule, whichever foot you use to steady yourself when unbalanced (e.g. when pushed) is the foot you should have at the front of the board.
Pivoting is a technique shared by all three sports. However, the way in which it is done varies between them. In surfing and snowboarding it’s common to use the front of the board to pivot around, whereas the back wheels are usually used to pivot on a skateboard.
Ease of Access
A manner in which these boarding sports certainly differ is in how easy they are to get into. For most people (assuming you don’t live near any surfing beaches or suitably snowy mountains) skateboarding is the easiest to start doing.
All you need is a board and some flat ground, and it’s not too weather-dependent – though it isn’t advisable to go skateboarding when it’s snowy or icy. Surfing is cheap if you have somewhere to do it, certainly when compared to the cost of lift passes for snowboarding.
Transferability of Skills
Balance, coordination and special awareness are essential attributes for all of the three sports. Getting the hang of standing up on a board and staying stood up is something that will contribute towards competency in all board sports.
However, on account of the different forces which cause your movement in surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding, each one is a different experience. Being skilled at one will help you learn the others, but will not grant you instant mastery of all board sports; that comes with practicing all of them.