What Is Skimboarding?
Most of us have ridden a bicycle, and for some of us, it took a while to feel comfortable on the bike. The winter sport of ice skating was another “balance” sport that takes some practice. Water skiing and surfing are two sports that have a bit more danger to them, and in order to master these sports, lots of practice is involved.
Skimboarding is a sport that seems to fall somewhere between riding a bicycle, and being an Olympic surfer, Some say it’s a cross between many, if not all of the board sports, including non-water sports like snowboarding. You can even throw skateboarding in there as well. It is not as super glamorous or “cool” as surfing, in the sense that skimboarding pros are not bound to make a ton of money off their sponsors. It’s more of a “fun” sport. Skimboarding can get pretty f—–n intense! Check it out below.
History Of Skimboarding (In One Or Two Sentences)
Back in the 1920’s, Laguna Beach lifeguards at this famous skim boarding beach, used pieces of wood to skim across the water close to the shore. This was before surfing was popular, but not before surfing was invented. Here’s a picture taken in 1929 of one of those lifeguards. Obviously a slow day at the beach. No shark attacks or drownings were reported. Did sharks even exist in 1929? Oh, sharks, you got roasted too brah! Wow, the hilarity in this post…zingers are just flying!
Skimboarding is a sport that looks easy, but also looks very difficult. It all depends on you and your sense of balance … a.k.a. your core strength. It is, after all, just the rider and a small board that resembles a surf board, interacting with the sand and water at the beach. The board is differently shaped, and not nearly as long as your typical surf board. Here are some fine skimboards that will get you started out, in case you’re shopping for one…
Skimboarding – How To Do It
So, there you are, skimboard in hand. You run along the surf, board in hand, then you throw the board on the water in front of you. Like a cat pouncing on a mouse, you land feet first on the board, and skim down the beach as far as possible. Maybe a trick or two might look good at this point. It helps if you and the board are heading the same way, otherwise, SPLASH! If that visual makes no sense at all, let’s take a look at a video instead. In fact, why don’t we let the fairly adorable Merrell Twins show us how its done.
Ok, thanks girls! So clearly, the Merrell Twins are maybe not the best teachers of how to skimboard. This could be because they never tried it before. Do you think that might be it? We do think you can learn a lesson from this video, which is that even if you don’t perfect your technique right away, wiping out and falling all over the place, almost looks fun, so long as you don’t land “wrong”. Let’s try another video, sorry about that one. 🙂
Ok, that was a lot more helpful. As you can see, it takes time and effort to get the hang of skimboarding.
There are basically two types of skim boarding… sand skimming and wave skimming, which are similar, but different. They require different types of boards. We recommend that you begin with sand skimming, so you will have to buy a board for that type of surface. The sand skimming board is meant for riding on top of very shallow water, such as you might find at the edge of the beach, or over a very shallow stream/river.
Be prepare to fall quite a bit at first, just like you did when learning to ride that bike, or the first time you put on ice skates. Falling is part of the learning process. Always get back up and never give up. The rewards at the end are too great! Skim boarders today, young and old, are admired at the beach. You want to impress people? Learn to skimboard. Most people have very poor balance, and would give anything to be able to ride a skim board.
More Skimboarding Tips
So you’re ready to really like “for real” try this out, are ya? Ok, so you definitely need to get to a beach pronto. Pick the right beach. It will make the world of difference. If you want to feel the thrill of success relatively quickly, choose a flat beach, where the water is very shallow along the shore. Look for a place with no rocks, driftwood, or weeds.
A small shallow stream flowing into the beach side would also be a great place to begin.
You can purchase a small, flat, wooden board for under $50 that will work perfectly on this kind of beach/water. Once you decide to move on to the wave skimming, you will need a good quality foam board that will cost more. We listed a few good ones above, so if you want to buy one, just scroll up and check those out. Many beach and surf shops do carry them, so shop online or you can just show up at the beach with cash in hand. Guaranteed, they’ll take it. But don’t be afraid to grill those beach shop people and ask them lots of questions, starting with “Seriously, is this a good skimboard or not? Don’t you lie to me, brah!”
Get into shape
Wait, what? You trying to tell me what to do, Beach Baby? Well, the thing is, yes, you need to be in relatively decent shape to do this, since it involves core strength. Since skim boarding is all about balance, and moving on an unstable surface, your core muscles better be ready. There are tons of core muscle exercises that will help you not only be ready for the skimming, but will make you look like a top quality skim boarder. And hey, at least this isn’t skateboarding, where wiping out means landing on pavement. Ouch!
What level are you?
1. Positioning … First of all, figure out whether you’re right footed or left footed. That means when you jump onto the board, which foot goes first. It will be placed at the back of the board and the other foot will go to the front. You will be standing sideways.
2. Find a quiet spot on the sand away from other people, and practise dropping the board on the sand and then hopping onto it. As you land on the board, your legs will be slightly bent, and your body weight will be in the centre. Of course, you will be moving your feet and your body weight as you skim along the sand and shallow water.
3. You might be ready to run with the board, drop it, and hop onto begin skimming very soon. If so, pay close attention to the speed of the water that the board is sliding over, and your running speed.
Ok, end of skimboarding beginner lesson 1! Here’s another beginner video for you, with some tips on types of skimboards to get (not dollar store), footing (regular vs. goofy), the old run>drop>slide, and more!
- Once you have mastered the basic skills, you will be ready for faster water i.e. waves. We aren’t talking big waves. That’s called surfing, and we are skimmers. Stay close to the shore. Choose a wave that is the right speed for you, and one that breaks in the right direction.
- Running along the beach, carrying your skim board, and watching the water’s speed, direction, and flatness, can be quite challenging. The deeper the water you chose to run in, will change everything.
Remember, skimboarding is mainly about having fun, not trying to do anything too insane. If you want to go out and do crazy shit, maybe surfing is more your thing. Like, do you really want to be this guy?
- If you’re at this level, and haven’t tried the “backside wrap”, check out this demo and give it a try.
2. A favourite move for those who like to live dangerously, is the “aerial”. Check this move out, and tell all your friends that you have mastered how to “shred” the waters with the “big boys”.
Safety First – tips for the dedicated “skimmer”
1. Surfer’s Ear: Long exposure to water, wind, and sun could cause an infection in your ear canal. Wear earplugs!
2. Impaired Vision: Most skimmers enjoy the heat of the day to participate in this sport, which means protection is needed from the ultra violet rays of the sun. Even the glare off the water could reflect into the skim boarder’s eyes and cause damage.
Invest in good quality sun glasses!
3. Knee stress: This sport puts a great deal of extra pressure on the knees. Protect yourself by exercising these muscles: the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that surround the knee.
The vastus medialis oblique part of your quadracep muscle is very important to keep in shape.
Watch this demo for 2 “vmo” exercises …