Skimboarding is a great sport that’s easy to get into but can take years to master. Whether you are looking to skim across the sand on wide, flat beaches or pull ollies on curling waves, skimboarding can be excellent exercise.
Board shapes vary widely, but there’s no “right” shape. A larger board offers more room for your feet and is better suited to beginners, while smaller boards offer more control for tricks. The longer the board is, the faster it will be, so beginners might enjoy a longer board for those precious extra seconds of skimming and learning to control the board. If you’re a veteran, most of your speed will come from your running start, and the waves do the rest of the work. Some boards have a rocker – the curved nose of the board that helps it stay on top of the water when approaching waves. Other important factors when choosing a skimboard are the material and coating.
Choosing the right skimboard means considering your skill level and the conditions.
Skimboarding might be easier to learn than surfing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pull off seriously impressive tricks.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for a skimboard for maneuvers, you need to consider the materials and size of each board to find one that suits your style.
The materials in a skimboard determine its weight, durability, and handling on the shore and in the waves.
Wood: These boards are well suited to beginners and work best on the shore. The extra weight of the wood gives you momentum, carrying you farther with each run. Cheaper boards also tend to be made of wood, making them the ideal material for most beginners. Though wood won’t last as long as a board made of fiberglass-laminated foam, it’s still a serviceable material at a low price.
Foam: These boards are lightweight and often covered in carbon fiber or fiberglass. They float more easily than wood boards and are perfect for catching waves and performing tricks, making them better boards for advanced skimmers. They’re also slightly thicker and more durable than wooden boards.
Resin: The resin is the protective layer that coats the board and allows it to glide over the water. The following are the most common types of resin:
Polyester: Long-lasting, inflexible, good for faster, longer runs
Vinyl ester: Highly flexible, somewhat slow
- Epoxy: Light, flexible, extremely durable
The size of a skimboard should correspond to your weight, experience level, and the type of skimming you want to do.
Length: Most skimboards range from 35 to 60 inches long. In general, a longer board is faster but harder to control. A shorter board is better suited to carving, but it might not work as well on the shore. A heavier rider needs a longer board.
- Width: Board widths range from 18 to 25 inches. Width has the same effect as length: a wider board is faster but doesn’t carve as well as a narrow board.
Did you know?
If you can’t run very fast, you could struggle to skimboard at a decent speed. Most of your speed comes from the running start before you step on your board.
Once you know what materials you want and which size board is right for you, consider a few additional factors like the look of the board, traction pad, and rocker.
Colors and patterns
Most skimboards are brightly colored on the top with a plain, solid color on the bottom. You should choose a skimboard whose colors and patterns suit your style or complement your bathing suit. Bear in mind that you’ll also want to match the board’s color when repairing the resin.
A traction pad provides extra grip and control. Many skimboards have a traction pad either at the back of the board or down the length of the board. Tail pads are the most popular choice because they keep your back foot firmly planted. Beginners benefit from the control of a traction pad, and experienced skimmers find them useful for performing tricks. You can also apply a traction pad to a board that doesn’t come with one.
The rocker is the curved tip of the board. Some boards designed for skimming on the shore have little to no rocker, while boards designed for tackling waves have extreme rockers of up to three inches high. In general, the steeper the rocker, the slower the board, and it will also be less likely to dip under waves.
Entry-level skimboards that cost $30 to $50 are typically made of wood and might be smaller than the average board. While they work well for getting the hang of skimming, the laminate could wear easily.
You’ll find a variety of high-quality wooden boards suited to beginner or intermediate skimmers for $50 to $100. Many of these boards have durable laminates and traction pads for more control.
In the $100 to $200 range are foam boards designed to handle waves and tricks. These have durable and lightweight laminates that allow the board to flex slightly. If properly cared for, a board in this range is likely to last for many years.
When you’re first starting out, look for a stretch of beach that is free of swimmers or other skimmers. You want as much open space as possible when learning.
Skimboard care tips
Skimboards can suffer significant wear even after just a few days of skimming. This shouldn’t be surprising considering they often slide over sand, shells, and pebbles at high speed. To keep your board gliding smoothly, follow these steps:
Rinse sand, debris, and salt off your board with clean water.
Keep your board dry when you aren’t using it. If there are any splits in the laminate, the wood or foam could absorb water.
Check for scratches on the underside of your board, especially deep ones. Scratches create drag. They are also likely to worsen over time, which can result in the laminate splitting.
Repair fiberglass damage. Sand down any splintered fiberglass and cover the damaged area with a fresh piece of fiberglass. Coat the repaired area in resin.
Store your board out of the sun. A cool, dry location is ideal.
- Wax the board. If you don’t opt for a traction pad, wax the top surface of the board to improve traction against your skin.
Skimboarding can be done on any beach, whether it’s by the ocean, a lake, or a river. Skimboarding can be done on top of waves or along the shore as the waves come in.
Q. What is the difference between a skimboard and a bodyboard?
A. Quite a lot. While both boards can be used to ride waves, riders stand on skimboards rather than lie on them. Skimboards are propelled in part by your own momentum as you run and jump onto the board.
Q. How safe is skimboarding?
A. Any sport comes with risk. With skimboarding, the greatest danger to you is the board itself. Both foam and wood boards can be very hard and cause serious bruises. There is also the possibility of spraining a joint or breaking bones when you fall on the shore. However, no safety gear is required to skimboard.
Q. Is waxing my skimboard necessary?
A. The primary purpose of waxing the top of your board is to increase traction. If you aren’t struggling to stay on the board, you don’t need to wax it. Traction pads should never be waxed.
Q. How do I get on a skimboard?
A. With a running start! Get as much speed as you can (or you’re comfortable with) running either along the shore or toward the waves. Drop your board on the water just as a wave pulls out and step onto it first with your front foot, then with your back foot. Jumping on the board is a good way to end your ride instantly. Keep your center of gravity low to stay on.
What skimboards do pros use? ›
Carbon fiber boards are high-performance leaves that are often used by professionals. Foam models have higher floatation and are widely used by wave riders, while inland skimmers normally use wood planks because they're heavier and truly resistant.How do I know what skimboard to buy? ›
|Skimboarder Weight (lb)||Skimboard Model (size)||Skimboard Dimensions (inches)|
|80-100||XS||48.00'' x 19.25''|
|100-140||S||51.00'' x 19.75''|
|120-160||M||52.00'' x 20.00''|
|140-180||ML||52.25'' x 20.25''|
Foam skimboards are a top choice for wave riders owing to their higher flotation, whereas inland skimmers prefer wood skimboards due to their high resistance.What thickness should my skimboard be? ›
Should I Apply Wax on the Bottom? To wax a skimboard, apply the product on the top side of the board.Do wooden skimboards need wax? ›
Surfers and some SUP boarders use wax to prevent slippage off the board, which is why Skimboarders use wax as well. Wax is used for Skimboarding also as there's no grip on most Skimboards. Most surfaces are smooth and must be made 'grippy' with wax.Why does my skimboard sink? ›
Why do I sink before I hit the wave? The simplest reasons are the wave was too far out to begin with, the board is too small to carry you, the curve of the bottom of the board is too much and you may need a flatter bottom. Or you just weren't running fast enough. When you turn the board, you lose speed.What is harder surfing or skimboarding? ›
Skimboarding is similar to surfing as it is also a waterboard sport. Skimboarding can be easier to learn versus surfing. However, catching and riding the waves is harder than surfing. Skimboarding is a harder sport to master than surfing for most.Do you need big waves to skimboard? ›
Skimboards are much smaller and thinner than surfboards, and they do not have any fins. Skimboarding happens in shallow water on the water's edge, so there's no need to go out into the water and wait for a wave, as you would when surfing.Do skimboards work on sand? ›
Learning how to skimboard might take many months before mastering it, so the first thing to do is get the basics down. Start to ride your skimboard on wet sand covered with 1/4" thin film of the previous wave's water and sliding along. This is the skimboarding equivalent to catching your first wave on a surf.
How deep should water be for skimboarding? ›
The ideal water depth is anywhere from just a few millimetres to 10 centimetres, as the aquaplaning effect doesn't last long enough in deeper water. Skimboards are small and handy and can therefore be taken everywhere.Can you use a skimboard on snow? ›
A group of skimboarders has proved that ice skimboarding can be fun. Just find the perfect spot and enjoy the ride. Boardsports are boardsports, no matter how far you actually are from the water. If there's no liquid, grab a skimboard and hit the snow.Can you float on a skimboard? ›
Skimboards are designed to have the right amount of float for you to glide over the surface of the water. It is different than a surfboard or bodyboard - which you can float on while being still.Can you skimboard on flat water? ›
Skimming takes place on flat water, i.e. in the area of the shore breaks or in a surge, which is why skimboards, unlike surfboards, do not have fins. Skimboards are oval, slightly curved and comparatively short with a length of 90 to 130 cm. The board is usually made of wood or a material mix with a wooden core.What grit sandpaper for skimboard? ›
First you'll want to get your pads, some sand paper (we recommend something around 80 grit), some paper towels, and something to wipe off the dust such as rubbing alcohol. Take the sandpaper and rough up the area on your board where you want to place your pads for approximately 90 seconds or so.What do you seal a skimboard with? ›
You can spray paint it, airbrush it, or use something else waterproof. To varnish your board, use a marine spar urethane, and make sure the rails get varnished well. This is very important; if you don't do this, they'll start sucking up water because of the ply. Then your board will suck because it's waterlogged.Why are wooden skimboards bad? ›
Wood skimboards are only used for flatland skimboarding. While you can ride one out into small waves, they are too heavy and prone to sinking to do anything legit in large shore-breaking waves.What does a fish tail do on a skimboard? ›
The wide nose and belly create a stable platform for the advancing skimboarder, while the fish tail assist in speed and agility.How do you not lose skim board? ›
You need to try and glide and/or step onto your skimboard. This will enable you to not lose speed and ensure you don't fall. Your front foot should land a few inches ops the middle of the skimboard and your back foot should follow. By gradually getting onto the skimboard one foot at a time you will not lose speed.What is the best beach to skimboard? ›
- Chapel Beach, Michigan. ...
- Kiwah Island, South Carolina. ...
- Twin Lakes State Beach, California. ...
- Emerald Isle, North Carolina. ...
- Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida. ...
- Dewey Beach, Delaware. ...
- Skaket Beach, Massachusetts. ...
- Laguna Beach, California. The place that started it all!
Why do skimboarders kick sand? ›
A useful trick you will see a lot of pros do is before they begin running, kick some sand onto the underside of the board so that it drops faster and flatter.Do you need a wetsuit for skimboarding? ›
All you need is a skimboard, a little bit of water, and a can-do attitude. Many skimboarders go barefoot. You can wear anything from your regular swimwear to a wetsuit.Can you skimboard on land? ›
Two very different skimboarding styles or disciplines have emerged. One of them is called flatland (or inland) skimboarding, which is practiced along the shoreline with smooth, very low-level water. Flatland skimming is more like skateboarding and incorporates various rail tricks.Can I carry on a skimboard? ›
Board Bags usually have at least a couple inches margin around the board that will help with adding padding. #3 – When you get to the airport almost every airline will start off asking for a $100 bag check fee. Most carriers automatically see a skimboard and call it a surfboard.Can you skim on wet grass? ›
Flatland skimboarding can be done nearly anywhere: lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, golf courses, puddles, or even wet grass.Where should your foot be on a skimboard? ›
Skimboard foot placement
You want your feet shoulder width apart on the board. Your back foot should be placed 2-3 inches from the tail of the board and your front foot should be past center where you feel most comfortable.
Wax the deck with surfboard wax; this will keep your feet from slipping. You can also use car wax on the bottom; this will reduce the wear and tear from the sand. With adult supervision, Skimboards are a big thrill for kids as young as 5.Is skimboarding growing? ›
Skimboarding is gaining more popularity across the globe. Skimboarding is gaining spotlight day by day across the globe, especially in countries that are near to the sea or the ocean, such as Malta.How do I know my skimboard size? ›
In terms of height, your skimboard should come up to around your own waist to chest height. Your ability may also affect the size you opt for as larger boards are easier to ride, with greater surface area to stand on, and more float.What skimboard do you need to ride waves? ›
Avid skimboarders usually prefer foam boards. Foamies usually cost more, but they're much easier to handle and use, especially when hitting the waves. This is because their material is flexible, floats well, and is lightweight. These boards are great for boarders of all ages.
Does skimboarding make you a better surfer? ›
It also really helps me with getting speed down the line. On a skimboard, you can milk a really small wave for a ton of speed – that translated to surfing really well, because it taught me how to find the sweet spot on a wave, the power source to generate speed.Do skimboards sink? ›
Because they are heavier (have low buoyancy), wooden skimboards also sink quicker, therefore, it is better to use them in shallow waters.What is the hardest thing to do in surfing? ›
Many people will tell you that this is the hardest part of surfing. Depending on the conditions, paddling out can either be a walk in the park or it can feel like the most intense workout you've ever done.
The circulation health benefits of surfing already contribute to naturally glowing skin, but so does the salt water and natural elements exposure too. That's why surfers always look so hot! Radiant, natural, glowing skin - perfect for doing away with those pimples!Can you skimboard with no waves? ›
Skimboarding happens in shallow water on the water's edge, so there's no need to go out into the water and wait for a wave, as you would when surfing.