A surfskate is quite a low-maintenance equipment, considering how simple its arrangement is compared to, let’s say, a bicycle. But, as with any other mechanism, a surfskate still requires some regular maintenance. Otherwise, it will fail to function, and you won’t be getting those surfing sensations on land.
This post will tell you how to service your surfskate.
Servicing the Thruster Turning Mechanism
Our surfskates’ most elaborate unit is the Thruster turning mechanism which is basically a surf-adaptor for a regular truck. The truck arrangement of other surfskates is somewhat similar. They all have their own particular features (see more details about types of surfskates here), but maintenance principles are basically the same.
To prevent your turning mechanism from getting out of order, it must be regularly reassembled and cleaned. You need to do regular checkups to inspect the condition of its parts.
To dismantle the mechanism, first unscrew the adjustment bolt (1), which retains the spring (2), then remove the spring and the spring holder (3). Then carefully unscrew the large nut (4) and remove the two washers (5) and a flat needle bearing (6) from the screw-bolt (7). Then remove the screw-bolt and the top of the truck (8). If you have been using your surfskate for quite a while, there is likely to be lots of dirt underneath, which needs to be cleaned. The other part of the mechanism (9) contains another set of washers (10) and a larger diameter needle bearing (11).
If the mechanism is not turning well, it’s this large bearing that is the cause. If this bearing and the washers are totally covered with rust, they have to be replaced.
All the parts must be washed in kerosene or benzine or using WD-40. After the bearings have been fully cleaned, they need to be lubricated. Use either motor oil/engine grease or lithium lubricating grease, like Litol. IMPORTANT: do not use WD-40 for this! Using this mixture as a lubricating grease may result in damaging the entire unit.
After you have lubricated all the moving parts, you need to reassemble all the parts back in the reverse sequence and then adjust the truck according to your weight and skating style (like tightening or loosening the spring-retaining bolt).
Basic Maintenance of the Surfskate
In addition to the turning mechanism, there are trucks with wheels and bearings themselves. Here are some tips on how to do their maintenance:
Tighten the wheels: they should not hang loose on the axles, but they shouldn’t be over-tightened either. So, tighten the nuts without applying too much strength, and then loosen them just a little.
Adjust the rear truck’s kingpin: the stronger you tighten this pin, the tighter the truck, hence the larger the turning radius. Tighten or loosen it to make your surfskating comfortable.
Tighten the screw-bolts used to mount the trucks to the deck: repeated vibration may result in nuts gradually getting loose on the bolts. If the bolts are slightly loosened, deck cracking may occur.
Inspect the bearings: Eventually, your bearings may wear out, especially if you like skating over wet surfaces and puddles of water. So they need to be checked once in a while, and — if the bearings are serviceable — you need to wipe the dirt off of them and re-lubricate them. However, if a bearing doesn’t rotate well, and the cleaning/re-lubricating doesn’t help, the bearing needs to be replaced. There’s no better feeling than when you’ve installed new bearings into the wheel!
Lubricate metal parts with motor oil: if you live on the oceanfront or the sea coast, then the finest droplets of saltwater will detriment any metal parts, which may cause rusting. Regular lubrication of trucks, bushings, and bearing will let you avoid corrosion — not to mention that it will be easy to take the bearings out of the hub.
Regular servicing and maintenance of the surfskate will help you avoid many problems in the future and will let you enjoy skating for a long, long time!
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