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.
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.
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!