Skimboarding: everything you need to know.

Skimboarding: the best sport ever

In the last decade and maybe more, skimboarding has become very popular, but sadly I still believe it is underrated. Despite its constant popularity, many people have a very wrong impression about skimboarding. In many places, it isn't very well-known and some people think of it as a kids' sport. But it's so much more than that. For those of you who don't know this sport, skimboarding was created in Laguna Beach, California. Skimboarders use a 1 to 3-inch thick board with an oval shape, smaller than a surfboard and with no fins. They jump on it, sliding afterwards over the water and/or wet sand.

There are more or less two types of skimboarding: flatland and wave-ridding.

Flatland, as you can probably guess, is practised on flat beaches. The tricks you perform are very similar to skateboarding: ollies, shuvits, 360's, big spins, headstands, etc. Also, because this type of skimboarding doesn't "use waves" they often use rails and other objects to increase the difficulty and to have the possibility to perform a bigger variaty of tricks.

Flatland skimboarding
Flatland skimboarding

Wave-ridding

Wave riding skim is considered to be more advanced than sand/flatland skim because of its difficulty. Usually flatland skim is learnt first and then you move on to wave riding.

Wave ridding is a little different from flatland: you start on the sand and run onto the sea where you drop the skimboard and slide towards the breaking waves. Then you surf them back to shore. There are lots of tricks you can do but the all-time ultimate tricks are barrels or tubes. Watching someone perform a barrel is awesome but doing it yourself is just unbelievably beautiful. People who have experienced this say that it is impossible to describe the feeling, the peace and beauty of being "inside" a wave...

As wells as in flatland you can do ollies, shuvits, big spins and many other tricks, but besides that, you can do aerials. An aerial is a move where you launch yourself into the air, usually off the lip of the wave, and then land on or in it. Some people also consider an aerial when you land behind the waves but in a competition it doesn't count as one and you don't earn any points. In aerials you can do back flips, "christ airs", grabs and all sorts of tricks.


wave-riding skim
wave-riding skim
A board size chart of some of the best skimboards brands
A board size chart of some of the best skimboards brands

Tips for beginners

This sport is amazing but you also need to be in shape to do it. Falling on and on when you're learning is normal. It's hard so don't feel frustrated, it has happen to all of us. Just keep on trying and don't give up. Try to increase your balance by skating: loosen up the trucks of your skate and try to turn without lifting the nose. This helps you not only to train your balance but also to get used to the feeling of having the board under your feet. When you are learning practise on flat beaches, it's easier that way. Also don't put both of your feet at the same time on the board, this will only decrease your speed and make it harder for you to get your balance right. Put one foot at the time on the board and bend your knees in order to lower your centre of gravity and make it easier for you not to fall. 

As I said, you need to be in shape to do this sport, not only because you need to run but also because you'll fall plenty of times. It's a rough sport and you'll probably get hurt at the beginning on your ankles and wrists. Try to roll when you to fall, instead of just putting your hands on the sand. Doing this helps to distribute your weight and makes the fall "softer".

If you want to buy board to buy a board there are some stuff you need to know. Skimboards are normally made of wood, fiberglass or carbon-fiber. Woodies are beginners' boards, they are cheap and good to learn, but they don't float much and so they are only good for flatland. There are two types of fiber-glass: E-glass and S-glass. E-glass is cheaper than S-glass, but it isn't as strong. It is still a lot stiffer and stronger than woodies, and it's the most common fiberglass type on skimboards but S-glass fiber is better. Carbon-fiber skimboards are the best: they are almost twice stiffer and stronger than fiberglass skimboards and they float a lot more. This obviously also depends on the brands and models of each skimboard, as well as in your personal preference.

The best and most well-known skimboard brands are Victoria Skimboards, Exile, Slotstick, Apex and Zap.

If you have any requests or questions, send me a message and I'll be happy to answer.

I hope I helped and that this leads some people into this amazing sport!

Please comment,

Danvip

Awesome skimboarding movie

Comments 14 comments

Khôi Dang 4 years ago

I Don't know how to drop the skimboard.....when i droped the skimboard it always bonus....and i always can't ride on it...plzz help me


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danvip 4 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi,

well yes, learning how to drop the skimboard can be quite a hussel. You must drop it, not throw it (which is a common mistake) and try to get on it just after like two or three steps. You must do this by putting one foot on your board after the other (try not to get on it with both feet at the same time because this makes the board slow down) and also bend your knees to maintain balance. I suggest the following: try running slowly with your board in our hands and then dropping it and counting the steps you need to get on it. Practice first taking five steps, then four, three, two.. It's hard at first but as you get more comfortable dropping the board you can start running faster and you'll see you'll get much further. Good luck !


Gavin 3 years ago

Hi,

I'm a beginner and in the market for a new skimboard. I used skimboard when I was younger, but stopped after not having access to a beach anymore. I have found somebody selling a 51" Handsdown Carbon Skimboard w/board bag for a pretty cheap price (about $170). Do you think this would be a good board to buy? I'm looking to learn some flat land tricks as well as wave riding; do you think this board is too big for flat land tricks such as ollies and shove its? Let me know. Thank you in advance for your help.


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danvip 3 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Gavin,

The thing with skimboards is that there is are lots and lots of different brands, types, materials, etc... I must say i did not know the brand (Handsdown) you mentioned but i went to check it out and even though they are not the best they look pretty reasonable. Besides, since you are learning even a skimboard that wasn't so good would do the job. For that, and given that is a pretty cheap price for a skimboard (if it is in good use, I recommend you check out for broken pieces, lacerations, etc before you buy it) i think it is a good choice. Carbon boards are really good, it's cheap and it's also a great way to start.

As for the fact that you also want to do some flatland, there is absolutely no problem ! Even though many "flatlanders" use wooden or glass-fiber boards, carbon boards are just as good (and some times, in my opinion, even better, because they go faster and make higher ollies and shove-its).

As for the size, it depends on your weight and height, but 51'' is a normal and versatile size so I guess it would be fine and you'd still be perfectly capable of doing flatland.

Have a good time skimboarding !

Hope I could help,

Danvip


Victor 2 years ago

I'm jumping on my board, And everything is ok. I even mastered the one-step, but everytime I reach about 1 or 2 feet in the water I slow down and my boards sinks into the water..why is this soo and how to correct it??


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danvip 2 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Victor,

Well that may be due to a number of reasons. Since you're sinking it means that you are not going fast enough and so your weight is bigger than the resistance water creates when skimming on top of it. It is as if you were waterskiing: if you go very slowly you'll inevitably sink, no matter how good you are.

However, another parameter that may be having some influence over that is the beach itself. First of all, you have to make sure the tide is high. Even though in some beaches the inclination is still good for skimboarding when there's low tide, it just makes more difficult and far more likely for you to sink. Also, make sure the beach has a relatively small descent and the waves are breaking relatively near you in that part of the beach (makes it easier to reach them).

Another tip I can give you is to run as fast as you can and once you're on top of your board to try and put your board perpendicular to the direction you're moving in, so the top of your feet face that same direction. This makes it easier to glide without losing speed and thus not sink. If you watch some youtube videos about skimboarding (like the one I have on this hub), you'll see professional skimboarders do that all the time to help them reach waves that are further away.

These are some tips I can give you to make things easier. That doesn't mean it isn't possible without doing these things, it just makes it harder.

So to recap: high tide, steep beach, waves breaking near you, run faster and glide !

Hope I could help,

Danvip


Victor 2 years ago

One more thing man, I have a foamie with fibre-glass, but the nos(rocker) of my board is kinda busted. as in, you can see the foam. do you think this affects my skimming?


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danvip 2 years ago from Portugal Author

Well to be honest I couldn't be sure without having a look at it but if the inner foam is getting wet that's not usually a good sign. I don't know if it affects directly your performance but in long term it may damage the skimboard permanently. If I were you I'd get that fixed, there's some resin you can buy (like epoxi and others) that you apply to the damaged areas and when dry get hard and protect the skimboard. Check in some surf store or something like that, they'll surely have what I'm talking about since it's also used in other types of boards (like surfboards) for the same purpose.


Richard 2 years ago

Hi - great site and hoping you can help guide me. I live on the east coast of Canada, spend my time in Nova Scotia and PEI, I'm 185 lbs, 5'11" tall. I was given a cheap $30 wooden skimboard, played with it on my vacation and love the idea of skim boarding, however in doing some reading it tells me the board can make a big difference in ease of learning. I'm looking for a recommendation on the best board given that I'll be flatland, likely less about rails & big jumps and more about skimming across the water, some spins and like the idea of hitting the little foot high waves the come in etc...

What is the best board for that? I'm focused on it improving my ease of distance etc... don't care about the cost but guessing its not the $30 board I have. I've looked at wood options like DBSkimboards Standard ( http://dbskimboards.com/2013-Standard-Proto/ ), or models from Victoria like ( http://ocean.victoriaskimboards.com/grommet/ or http://ocean.victoriaskimboards.com/ultra/ ) or something from Zap ( http://zapskimboards.com/boards/pro/ or this but I think the 170 weight would be a problem http://zapskimboards.com/boards/wedge/ )

Thanks any guidance you can offer would be huge!

Rich


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danvip 2 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Rich,

Sorry for the delayed response, I've been very busy the past few days.

Given that you are learning how to skim, a pro board wouldn't be advisable since it wouldn't really make that much of a difference and would just make you spend a lot of money.

If you are only ever going to be doing flatland I would suggest a wooden board (maybe one from the first page you referred).

However, you seem to show some interest in later on starting to catch some waves (even if they are small) and for that I would suggest fiber-glass board. The great thing about fiber-glass boards is you can actually use them quite easily for flatland (in fact, many do so instead of wooden boards). So this would make learning a little easier and you would be able not only to keep it for longer (given the case you start wave riding) but also allow you to do a bigger variety of things. About brands it's really about personal preference, all of the ones you listed are good (though I don't like zap's very much, but again, it's just a matter of personal preference). Victoria skimboards are very good as are Exile (you can look them up) and you might get them for a decent price (you shouldn't pay more than 200$, give or take).

If you are worried about size you just have to check the chart I put on this hub, and according to whichever brand you choose, pick a size.

Hope I could help !


Daniel 2 years ago

Hey man, I went skimboarding for the first time yesterday. I have a $30 woody from sports chalet. I feel like I got down sliding on the sand and then riding into the ocean, but the board will always sink before I get to the wave. Am I ready for a better board? And if so what board would you recommend. I am 5' 8'' and 140 pounds. Also do you recommend waxing the skimboard like a surfboard or getting the foam arch grip pads? Thank you!


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danvip 2 years ago from Portugal Author

Hey Daniel,

Well if it was in fact your first time skimboarding I'd encourage you to do it a little more before buying a new board. Not that buying one will be bad but sometimes it is also good to get used to having a skimboard beneath your feet before moving on to another one. However, you can upgrade to a fiber-glass board and that would allow to reach waves and start learning how to ride them.

Waxing your board is always advisable, wether you use grip pads or not.

To know which board size to get just look at the chart that is in this hub, you'll find what you need to know there.

Good luck !


Eric 2 years ago

I have a bulldog who has been skim boarding since she was a puppy. She has out grown her board (Victoria wooden board) and chewed up the edges so badly that it is rendered useless. (she cant fit on it and splinter cut up her mouth). Can you recommend and brand and size for a 60 lb bulldog that likes to shred waves???!!!


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danvip 2 years ago from Portugal Author

What ?? You have a bulldog that skimboards.. ? I really don't know wether to believe that or not but if it's true it's awesome ! (And if it's not it's still pretty funny so what the hell !)

The board size will mainly depend on your dog's size, just try to pick one in which he can comfortably put all four legs, maybe Medium/Medium-Large ? The brand choice will come to your dog's preference, just ask him ! Either one is fine, Zap's boards are usually sturdy so maybe that.

Hope I could help your dog haha !

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