A Complete Guide to Skimboarding (2021)

Skimboarding is one of the most exciting watersports out there. Many people may view skimboarding as simple beach activity, but this is actually a lot to this method of riding the surf. Skimboarding uses various different techniques, styles, and boards. You can ride on flatlands, or trim the line in the waves.

Skimboarding is ideal for experienced surfers looking for something to do when there are no waves or very small waves. It is also a perfect activity for kids, or anyone looking for new thrills on the beach.

Interested in starting skimboarding? Or do you want to learn some new tricks? Follow our complete guide below which will cover everything you need to know about skimboarding. 

skimboarding

What is Skimboarding?

Skimboarding, also known as skimming, is a unique boardsport that is done over shallow water. The basic idea is that you ride a skimboard from the beach towards incoming breaking waves. You then catch the wave that is about to break and ride it back to the shore. 

Skimming requires you to do a slight run-up while carrying the skimboard to gain speed. You then throw the board down onto the shallow water breaking on the shore, and hop onto the board. The aim is to keep your momentum going from the run-up to accelerate you into the oncoming surf. 

Skimboards are thin, lightweight wooden boards that can easily glide over the water. They do not offer a proper level of flotation as a surfboard does, and they are not designed for long wave riding. You can do a couple of different tricks and air maneuvers on a skimboard when hitting the wave.

Who Are Some Famous Skimboarders?

Skimboarding is not just a simple hobby used to pass the time. There have been a number of highly-regarded skimboarders since the inception of the sport who have helped to develop and revolutionize the way people approach skimboarding. Take note of some of the famous skimboarding names below.

Blair Conklin

Blair Conklin is a professional skimboarder who has completely shifted the way people approach the sport. He was born and raised in Laguna Beach which is known as the home of skimboarding. Conklin chose skimboarding over surfing as the shore break where he grew up was better for this. 

He has been competing since age 15, eventually becoming the number one skimboarder in the world. Conklin has a massive Instagram following due to his really impressive wave riding footage.

blair conklin

Austin Keen

Austin Keene is one of the best-known names in skimboarding He is a world champion of the sport and has been leading its progression through his incredible videos and social media channels.

Austin Keen has taken skimboarding to new heights by riding some of the biggest beach breaks and mastering highly technical maneuvers. Keen is an action sports enthusiast and is also known for his wake surfing. In 2018, Austin Keen won the Go Pro Million Dollar Challenge.

Bill Bryan

Bill Bryan is a 14 times world champion of skimboarding. Being one of the biggest names in the sport, he has helped to pioneer a standard of skimboarding. This watersports professional is a pro surfer, snowboarder, and flow boarder. Be sure to check out some of Bill Bryan’s awesome videos to get you inspired by skimboarding.

Brad Domke

Brad Domke holds the world record for the biggest wave ever ridden on a skimboard. He is no stranger to riding massive waves on his skimboard and has completely broken down any skimboarding limits.

No one else approaches big waves with a finless skimboard like Brad Domke does. He has some amazing videos out there to show you just how far you can take riding waves with a skimboard.

brad domke
Source: Surfertoday

What to Look for When Buying a Skimboard

Skimboards come in all sorts of different designs, shapes, and sizes. When choosing the best board for skimboarding, it is important to know exactly what you are looking for. 

Size and Shape

First, consider the size and shape of the board. The size determines how much weight the board can carry and it often influences its stability. Larger boards are more stable and can carry heavier riders. 

Then there is the shape. This is essential in determining how the board performs. High-performance skimboards are generally sharper, with curved noses and tails. Beginner skimboards are more stable with less curve in them. The rocker also influences how the board will react when being ridden.

Materials

What the board is made from will influence a few different things. This includes both durability and performance. Skimboards range from laminated wood to foam and high-quality carbon-fiber epoxy. Ideally, you want a board that is incredibly strong but also lightweight. 

Foam skimboards are great for learning as they are very forgiving. Fiberglass boards are a bit faster and more tricky to handle, which makes them an appealing choice for more experienced riders.

Grip

Some skimboards have a smooth deck which will be slippery when wet. This will require waxing in order to ride on. Others have textured decks or grip pads which makes them easier to use without the need for waxing. This can make a big difference.

skimboarding

Buoyancy

Traditionally, skimboards are not very buoyant at all. The typical skimboard you will see in a surf shop is very thin and usually made from wood with a laminate.

This is designed for skimming along the shallow shore break. Some riders after a bit more ambitious, and take their skimboards out into bigger surf. For this, you should look for a more buoyant board. The thickness, weight, and material used will all make a difference here. 

The Best Skimboarding Tricks for Beginners

Once you have mastered your takeoff and skimming along on flat water, it’s time to learn some tricks. If you want to up your skimboarding game, then try out some of these beginner-friendly tricks below:

  • Flat spins: placing your back hand in the water when you are at a speed. This will cause you to spin.
  • One footer: Riding while balancing on one foot.
  • Kneel down: Lowering the back knee to touch the board while skimming at a high speed.
  • Kick out: Before you lose speed while riding, you push the board forward with a flick of your front foot and hop back onto the board.
  • Shuv-it: Ride fast along a flat plain of water,  push your back foot down flicking the board backward. At the same time, you use your front foot to flick the board forward. Then your feet catch the board and you continue riding.
  • Wrap: This is when you skim in a straight line towards an oncoming wave and do a U-turn up off the wave. Then you ride straight back to the point you launched from.
  • Hippy jump: When you approach an object that the board can slide under and you jump over, landing back on the moving board.
  • Ollie: An ollie is a really difficult trick, but an important one for opening up a whole new world of other tricks. This is the same idea as the skateboarding maneuver. Bend down low while riding at a speed, and as you come back up you apply pressure on the back foot. Just up while doing this, and the board should follow. You then land back on the water and keep riding.
skimboarders

The Best Skimboards: Our Top 5

Now that you are inspired to get skimboarding, it’s time to choose the right skimboard. Skimboards involve quite a lit of different aspects that measure their performance which makes choosing the best one quite tricky. We have selected five of the absolute best skimboards below to make the process easier for you. 

Sandfish Cruiser

  • An affordable performance skimboard
  • Lightweight poplar and laminate construction
  • Soft and grippy foam top
  • A versatile 40-inch performance board

If you are new to skimboarding or want to upgrade to a more performance-based board, then this Sandfish Board Co. skimboard cruiser is an excellent option. The board is made from poplar and laminate which is lightweight but incredibly durable.

There is a soft and grippy foam top on the board that eliminates the need for wax. The board measures 40 inches long and 18.75 inches wide. This is a good size for riders between the weight of 125 to 175 lbs. 

The skimboard has been designed for optimal performance by anyone learning tricks. This beginner-friendly shape is stable, but maneuverable enough for learning all of your first moves on, such as a shuv-it or slide.

sandfish skimboarding

SuperG Skimboard

  • Made for high-performance wave riding
  • Unique colors and designs for each board
  • Quality polyester resin and fiberglass-reinforced construction
  • A smaller board recommended for riders under 95lbs

The SuperG Skimboard has been designed with high-performance in mind. This is certainly not your regular skimboard. Its shape has been designed to accommodate wave riding and complex maneuvers which makes this a good option for more advanced riders. This skimboard measures 40.13 inches by 17.88 inches and is highly curved. This small size is most suitable for riders under 95lbs.

Each SuperG Skimboard is handcrafted in the USA and comes in a unique color and design. The board’s durable polyester resin and fiberglass design make it a long-lasting, durable option to last you many summers.

SuperG skimboard

Tribe Boards Soft Foam Skimboard

  • Perfect beginner skimboard
  • A stable and maneuverable foam board
  • Suitable for riders between 140 – 190lbs
  • Flat bottom design with a very slight nose rocker

This skimboard by Tribe Boards is the ultimate beginner’s option. The thick, stable foam board is perfect for learning on and can accommodate all types of riders. Even though this board is stable and doesn’t require any waves, it can still maneuver well. This is thanks to its slightly curved rocker and streamlined shape. 

This beginner skimboard can accommodate riders up to 190lbs with its good level of rigidity and strength. The board has a tough HDPE bottom for better support, and a grippy textured top to make riding easier. This board comes in a choice of six different colors and two different sizes. 

tribe boards

Exile Custom Signature Pro Model

  • An Austin Keen signature skimboard
  • Double carbon fiber epoxy construction
  • A hybrid rocker profile
  • A high-quality, versatile board

If you want to skimboard like a pro, then using a pro board is a great place to start. This high-quality pro model skimboard bears the signature of world champion Austin Keen. The board is built with great concentration on every small detail in order to make sure that it reaches the highest level of quality and performance. 

The board is made using double carbon fiber epoxy for lightweight durability. There are double wrapped rails, an S-Glass reinforced bottom, Pro Deck Channels, and a versatile hybrid rocker profile.

One of the best things about this board is that when you order you, can choose the exact specifications that you want it made to. This results in the best possible design for your capabilities.

exile skimboard

Zap Prowler Skimboard

  • The perfect speed/maneuverability ratio
  • E-Glass build material with a PolyLam textured finish
  • Available in three different sizes
  • Bump wing round tail design

The Zap Prowler Skimboard has been designed to offer the rider a powerful combination of speed and maneuverability. This is mostly due to the versatile bump wing round tail design.

This allows the board to do quick, sharp turns while still wrapping around waves. The Zap Prowler Skimboard is made using some of the best quality materials for a strong and long-lasting finish.

This board is a high-performance model, but it can be enjoyed by all types of skimboarders. This is thanks to its good level of stability when in motion. The board is also available in three different sizes to be suit your body weight and preferences. 

zap prowler skimboard

Conclusion

Skimboarding is one of the most thrilling boardsports that everyone can enjoy. Beginners can skim around on flat water while more experienced riders can hit bigger waves and pull off complex maneuvers.

Skimboarding is a true action sport for anyone that loves being in the water. We hope that you are inspired to start skimming and learning new tricks. With the right board under your feet, skimming may become your new favorite watersport!

FAQs

Does Skimboarding Have a Weight Limit?

No, anyone can skimboard. Just make sure that you have a board that can handle your weight.

Is Skimboarding Dangerous?

Skimboarding is a fast-paced action sport, so there is always the danger of falling and bruising at a high speed. However, it is done in shallow water, so there is no real risk of drowning or shark attacks that may be associated with surfing.

Must You Wax a Skimboard?

The deck of a skimboard should be waxed for better grip in the water. However, some boards have a special grip surface on them already.

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