What is Skimboarding?
Skimboarding is an exciting board sport and a fun activity for people of all ages. The sport involves people riding specially designed, thin boards on shallow water and performing tricks, all while trying to balance and avoid falling. Some people may even ride on rails or in deeper water as they become more advanced. Skimboarders can show their talents on the ocean, on rivers, lakes, or dedicated skimboarding pools.
- Description: A sport in which an athlete uses a thin board to glide along the shore, up a breaking wave, and back to the shore.
- Founded By: George Griffeth and his friend Jimmy
- Founded Date: 1920
- Governing Bodies: European Skimboard League, Skim USA, United Skim Tour
- Countries: Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA
- Regions: Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America
- Categories: Activities, Beach Sports, Individual Sports, Non-Contact Sports, Outdoor Sports, Sports, Water Sports
The sport of skimboarding was created in 1920 at Laguna Beach, California when two lifeguards built wooden skimboards to slide on water. This sport remained small until the 1960s when a new skimboard design was created, resembling a small surfboard. By 1976 the sport was starting to see an increase in popularity, and the first brand “Victoria Skimboards” was launched. Since then, the sport has continued to grow and expand across the world.
Unlike many other sports, skimboarding doesn’t feature a distinct playing field in terms of dimensions. Skimboarding occurs all over the world, wherever skimboarders can find a body of water with conditions that line up with their skimboarding goals. This can mean at your local beach, or around smaller bodies of water like lakes. That being said, beaches with reasonable surf tend to be the top choice for the world’s largest skimboarding competitions.
Naturally, the most important piece of equipment any skimboarder needs is the skimboard itself. Skimboarding also incorporates a fair few accessories that you can pick and choose between to enhance your skimming experience.
Here is the essential skimboarding equipment you need:
- Skimboard Wax
- Traction Pads
- Water Bottle
The main objective in competitive skimboarding is to obtain the highest possible score from the competition's judges. Oftentimes the largest competitions are in the form of tours, such as the United Skim Tour, which are decided based on the overall performance by a skimboarder over the course of multiple events. Higher scores are earned through performing increasingly difficult tricks, while also displaying the ability to execute a variety of tricks over the course of a competition.
Rules and Regulations
Since skimboarding is an individual sport aimed at performing the best tricks possible, it has fewer rules than expected. When skimboarding in a professional tournament, it is important to follow their regulations as stated. The official “rules” of the sport are typically forms of etiquette known in all water riding activities.
Here are the most popular skimboarding rules you should know:
- Have appropriate space for yourself to ride
- Respect the water and people around you
- Stay clear of others, communicate if getting close
Stances and Techniques
The way in which skimboarders stand on their board really comes down to personal preference. Different stances don’t necessarily offer certain physical benefits, outside of providing skimboarders with the most comfortable footing possible. There are a variety of stances to choose from, and each skimboarder will in one way or another develop a unique technique that they feel gives them the best chance at success. This decision often involves identifying the skimboarder's dominant foot.
Here are the most popular top skimboarding techniques:
- Fakie Stance
- Goofy Stance
- Nollie Stance
- Regular Stance
Here is the common lingo and slang in skimboarding:
- Air: Performing a jump or trick and going airborne while skimboarding.
- Bail: To give up on a trick while performing it, often crashing or falling off the board.
- Foamie: A foam-core skimboard.
- Nose: The top or front of a skimboard.
- Pop: Getting your skimboard out of the water by “popping up” the board.
- Snake: To cut in front of another rider while skimboarding.
- Tail: The bottom or back of a skimboard.
- Woodie: A wood-core skimboard.
There are a wide range of skimboard “players,” referred to as skimboarders, across the globe. These men and women are the best in the world at riding a skimboard, and some have achieved fame that transcends the sport itself.
Here are the most popular skimboarders you should know:
- Amber Torrealba
- Austin Keen
- Blair Conklin
- Lucas Fink
- Sophia Nguyen
While skimboarding doesn’t necessarily have “leagues,” some of the largest competitions in the world are tours and cups. These competitions incorporate a variety of events at various venues across the globe over the course of multiple days to determine an overall winner. Top athletes like Lucas Fink and Sophia Nguyen often frequent these competitions in hopes of bringing home more accolades, as some of these competitions stand as the main identifier for top athletes within the sport.
Here are the most popular skimboarding leagues you should know:
- European Skimboarding Cup
- Skim USA Skimboarding Tour
- United Skim Tour
Events and Competitions
As the popularity of skimboarding has increased, the number of tournaments and events have increased as well. Tournaments are often composed of multiple events in a given time period, where athletes are given a numbered score for each trick performed. These numbers are added up to a total which determines the winner, or world champion.
Here are the most popular skimboarding events you should know:
- Exile Oktoberfest
- Outer Banks Skim Jam
- The VIC
- Zap Pro/Am
- Skimboarding.com: The home for all things Skimboarding; learn, competition, gear, and more.
- United Skim Tour: The world's only international professional skimboard tour.
- Skimboarding Reddit: Discover posts on Reddit about Skimboarding.
- Skimboarding Discord: An online community for skimboarders to talk, chat, and hang out.