Skimboarding has become an increasingly popular activity among
beachgoers and water sport enthusiasts.
Developed during the 1920s by lifeguards in Laguna Beach,
Calif., skimboarding entails riding along shorelines on flat boards. The sport
can be performed in either a flatland or wave style; the former is done on
inland water bodies, whereas the latter is done at the beach.
As indicated by Flewellen's skimboard size chart, your choice in a
board should take factors like your body weight, skimming speed, break type and
years of experience into consideration. Additionally, you should also think
about the power and size of the waves in your area. If you live on the West
Coast, where waves are bigger, your best bet would be to go down a size from
the boards most suited to East Coast skimmers. This is one of the more
important things to take into account as a first-time buyer, because coastal
variables are not among the distinctions that manufacturers usually make with
skimboard buying guide, you'll learn the following things about the different
types of boards and how one or the other could better suit your needs:
·Different types of skimboards: foam vs wood; how each is suited for different waters.
to choose a skimboard – how your body weight, skill level and skimming speed
can be used to determine the right size of board for you.
size and wave activity – why you should also consider – when choosing a size – whether
you'll be skimming on the East Coast or West Coast.
best type of skimboards for beginners – would a large or small board be the
shape of skimboards – how the physical design of a given board can affect its
wrap on skimboards – how the outer layer of a board can impact speed and
top skimboards – the best models, according to weight and skill-level, by the
leading skimboard brands.
to ask yourself before you invest in a board.
· All in all, which skimboard is right for me?
without further ado, it's time to arm yourself with skimboard knowledge so that
you can get the right board and catch a wave from the sand.
The cores of skimboards typically consist of either foam or wood,
though there are some boards that are made instead with materials like carbon
or fiberglass. Foam boards generally cost more than those made of wood,
but foamies – as they're called
by devotees of the sport – are especially tailored to wave skimming. Due to
their combination of lightness, thickness and flexibility, foamies are ideal
for wavy surfaces, where the board is less likely to come apart during heavy
usage. Foamies are more commonly used at beaches on the West Coast. Wood
boards, by contrast, are stiffer, heavier and fast-sinking, despite their
leanness. As such, wood boards are better suited to noncoastal bodies of water
– creeks, lakes, puddles, rivers – and the lower tides along the eastern
For the more avid
skimboarder, wood-core boards are less preferable because they lack the
durability of foam-core models. Wood-core boards will often break after a
handful of skimming sessions due to the nonviability of wood; they're also
unable to provide a smooth flow along the waves. The main benefit of wood
boards – at least for those just beginning to skim – are the lower prices at
which they tend to sell.
The choice between foam and wood could also be
determined by your experience and devotion to the sport of skimming. For the
most part, boards consisting of foam cores are the better option for avid
skimmers, whereas wood-core models are more preferable for the budding skimmer
who isn't necessarily looking for the most durable board.
In summary, the two types of boards each have the following
lighter, thicker, more flexible, priced higher;
generally best for rougher, West Coast currents.
leaner, heavier, stiff, easy sinking; typically
used on inland bodies of water or for sand skimming at the beach.
Skimboards consisting of foam cores
tend to weather the ages better than wood-core models. With the latter, you
wouldn't need to run to the sand if a hole appeared in the board, because foam will
emulsify on contact with the waves. Still, it would be necessary to fix a
damaged foam-core board at the nearest opportunity.
If you're wondering how to choose the right skimboard
size, consider the following factors: your weight, height, speed and
skimboarding style. As a rule of thumb, it's best to use the smallest board
that could put the target waves in your reach.
As far as design is concerned, wider
and lengthier boards allow for greater distance than their smaller, narrower
counterparts. This is due to the increased skimming surface, which boosts force
makes things faster. On the other
hand, skimmers can generally perform trickier moves on smaller boards.
Nonetheless, body weight
is one of the main things to keep in mind when determining how to choose a
skimboard. If you merely weigh 90 pounds, for instance, a smaller board would
be the ideal choice; but if your weight is 175 pounds or higher, a larger board
would be the better option. After all, a board bearing more than its own weight
allowance will submerge, which would make the act of skimming impossible.
The correlations between body
weight and board dimension are further explained in the following skimboard
80 - 140 lbs: 45 in. or less (Small)
120 - 160 lbs: 45 in. to 47 in. (Medium)
140 - 180 lbs: 47 in to 49 in. (Medium - Large)
160 - 200 lbs: 49 in. to 51 in. (Large)
180 - 220 lbs: 51 in or more (Extra Large)
recommendations can vary according to manufacturer.
The speed at which you run
is another thing to consider. Y
our ability to move within the water will largely depend
on how fast you're able to catch the waves, and size can be a factor. For
instance, a skimmer who's been at it for more than five years – someone who
typically does all sorts of tricky moves and flips, in the briskest of waves, and
pulls it all off with incredible balance and speed – will likely have no
problem managing everything on the smallest board that could possibly support
his or her bodyweight.
other end of the spectrum, a person who has only been skimming for three months
– and has yet to hold balance along the waves for more than five seconds at a
time – is better off sticking to a larger board for the time being, regardless
of body weight. In other words, w
advanced skimmers can easily catch waves on small boards, slower runners
generally need larger skimboards.
Skimboard Size and Wave
Activity: East Coast vs. West Coast
large degree, the size of the waves at the coast nearest to you will factor
into whether you'll need a small, medium, large or extra-large skimboard. As
alluded to earlier, waves on the West Coast are stronger than the waves along
the eastern seaboard. This is largely due to the way of the wind, which pushes
the ocean's water towards the sands of California, Oregon and Washington; but
away from the coasts that span the states of Maine on down to Florida.
case, your needs in a board could be slightly affected by whether your next
skimming excursion will be along the beaches of Daytona or Malibu. At the
former, you're likely to encounter weak waves, and so you'd probably be better
off with a heavier board that could boost your speed on sand and water. In
Malibu, where the currents have more power, a smaller board could just as
easily get you all the action that you'd ever dream of in a day's worth of
skimming; providing that you've reached that level of skill.
If you're new to the sport of skimming, a larger board with more foot area will give
you a greater sense of balance along the water. After you get better at
catching waves without losing control of the board, you might then opt for a
smaller, narrower skimboard. Most skimmers at the advanced level do prefer the
latter option, because smaller boards make it easier to perform leaps, blunt
angles and other skillful stunts along the water.
In a nutshell, board types correlate
to skill level for the following reasons:
Smaller boards – more flexible;
better for advanced skimmers.
Larger boards – the increased
foot area offers better balance for beginning skimmers.
As any video on YouTube will
demonstrate, skimming is easier watched than duplicated. A person with
experience will catch a wave with all the balance and confidence of a surfer,
whereas a beginner will typically lose balance the moment the board hits the
waves. In many instances, a beginner might slip off the board and momentarily
misplace it while falling into the water. Therefore, it's important to
practice, because learning balance as a novice skimmer could take time. With
the right kind of skimboard and the willingness to learn, you could be out
there catching waves even sooner than you'd imagine.
The Shape of Skimboards: Rockers and Tails
The curvature at the head of a skimboard is what's
known as a rocker.
When there is more rocker the board will curve upward
for water that is more choopy. By the same token, less curve will result in faster
skimming on calmer water. In many ways, it's like the upturned nose on sleds,
where more curve is better for deep snow vs less curve doing better on ice.
For the most part, East Coast
skimmers opt for the 2-inch rocker, while those who skim the rougher western
waters use 3-inch rockers. At the other end, boards are generally equipped either
with pintails – which provide some of the best water balance – and square or
W-tails, which make it easier for skimmers to perform a variety of moves.
In a manner of speaking, your
results along the waves can be affected by the shape of whichever board you
choose in the following ways:
Shallow rocker – faster; provides
easier movement along calmer water.
Steep rocker – causes slower
movement between the sand and waves, best for choppy water.
Pintail – provides good
balance in the water.
Square/W-tail – boosts
flexibility; optimal for skimming stunts.
In many ways, skimboards and surfboards resemble one another; but
while the latter is equipped with steering fins or skegs at the bottom,
skimboards are flat. Therefore, it generally takes a higher level of skill to
master the skimboard, though an experienced skimmer can generally pull off a
greater range of moves than the average surfer.
The Wrap on Skimboards
core of a skimboard – be it foam or wood – is covered by what's known as a
wrap, which in turn is affixed with resin. Like the core itself, the material
used for the wrap can factor into the durability of a given board. It is
therefore wise to choose a skimboard with a good-quality wrap, which is usually
made from one of the following materials:
E-glass. Out of all the skimboard wrap materials, E-glass is the
most common. However, it's also the weakest wrap, and it can leave boards
vulnerable to tears from the elements of the shore. Still, E-glass has a
looseness to its weave that adds flexibility – if not speed – to its boards.
S-glass and Texilium. These wraps, which offer greater
strength and speed, are usually found on mid-priced boards. Both wraps bring an
added stiffness that's lacking from E-glass, but this is generally no problem
for skimmers who enjoy the faster performance that such boards allow.
Carbon. This wrap is general found on high-end skimboards. While
the tight weave of the material adds a stiffness to boards, carbon is the
strongest of wraps, and is therefore nearly impervious to rocks, shells and
other coastal elements.
Ready to buy skimboards? Zap is a perfect place to start. Based in Venice, Fla.,
Fedmax is the world's premiere maker of skimboards. With its commitment to helping
skimmers of all skill levels catch a wave, Fedmax makes boards in beginner,
intermediate and expert models. The majority of Fedmax's boards – which are noted
for their floaty nature – are made of fiberglass and carbon fiber with foam at the core.
The variety of
skimboards offered by Fedmax, according to skill level, is as follows:
Beginner & Intermediate
· Hybrid. The go-to board for lightweight, entry to mid-level
wave catching, the Hybrid comes in 3 sizes which can carry riders from 50lbs to 220lbs and measures
44 inches up to 52 inches. With Carbon Fiber tips, fiberglass body, and a foam core it's a board for the fast, large or mid level skimmer, the Hybrid can still give
newcomers to the sport a chance to catch a few waves off the coastal sands.
With its smooth surface, the Hybrid is available in various pattern and color
Founded in 2008, Apex has made a heavy market impact
in just a short amount of time with its high-performance, maneuverable boards.
While the company's line is still small, the Apex AVAC line of foam-core,
fiberglass skimboards – which come in 41-, 46- and 51-inch varieties – are swiftly
becoming some of the most popular, low-cost options among devoted skimmers.
Once you've purchased a skimboard, it's important to keep it well
maintained for a long-lasting life of performance. If it's a nontextured
skimboard, you'll want to either
keep its surface waxed or use decking for the
purpose of traction.
Conclusion: How to Choose a Skimboard
When you decide to buy a skimboard, you'll want to ensure its quality and durability. A good
way to start is to ask yourself the following questions about any skimboard that
you consider buying:
Is it the kind of board
that will offer you speed and balance along the waves?
Will it handle the
elements of the water without getting split or cracked?
Most of all, will it
last a long time throughout many skimming outings; giving you value for the
money you've spent.
To ensure that all of
these questions are met with an answer of yes, it's crucial to check the
features of a given board. Remember, the design, size, wrap and material can
all affect the speed, strength and durability of a skimboard. Additionally,
you'll want to consider factors like your height, weight, speed, skill and the
nature of your nearest beach. With proper care, the perfect skimboard should
last you through many great times of fun along the shorelines.
Whether you're a beginning, intermediate or advanced skimmer, come
to Outdoor Board Sports for all of your skimboard needs. We carry the Fedmax,
and Apex lines in a variety of sizes for a range of weights and skill
levels. To learn more about our inventory, check us out online at