Skimboarding is a great way for me to experience the thrills of surfing without having to wait for the perfect wave to come along. The advantage skimboarding has over surfing is that I can either skim on the shore or head out into the ocean and skim some waves.
When first starting out on a skimboard, beginners will want to ease into the sport on the sand before moving on to skimming waves. The biggest hurdle when I first started skimboarding was maintaining my balance on the board. Just like riding a bike, once I got the hang of it skimming began to come naturally.
What makes skimming so much fun is how easy it is to find a good spot on the shore. All I need is a stretch of flat sand for the good times to start rolling.
Below are my recommendations of the best skimboards for beginners.
Beginner Skimboards Comparison Chart
Best Skimboards for Beginners Reviewed
1. Wave Zone Diamond
The Wave Zone Diamond is a fiberglass skimboard made for beginners and is perfectly capable of handling both sand skimming and wave gliding. The Diamond is Wave Zone’s best-selling beginner board, and for good reason.
The outside of the board is made from fiberglass with a gel coating, while the inside features a Divinycell high-density foam core. The combination of fiberglass on the outside and foam on the inside creates for a board that is durable yet also lightweight and fast.
The Wave Zone Diamond gets its name from the diamond shaped tip on the tail of the board. The diamond tip allows for more control, while giving the board more speed by creating less drag. The design of this board is more forgiving, allowing for the rider to glide in a straighter line.
2. Zap Lazer
The Zap Lazer was built specifically for gliding across the sand and is an ideal board for little ones just getting into the sport. The Lazer is made from light and durable molded materials and is for riders up to 95 lbs.
What sets the Zap Lazer apart is the shape of the board, and the design of the rocker and rail contour on the bottom of the board. The result is a near effortless ride down the shoreline.
3. Victoria Woody Skimboard
The Woody is one of the original skimboards for beginners. The main difference from the two previous boards is the Woody’s (obviously) wooden construction. Victoria has been hand-making their boards in the U.S.A. for over 30 years and this board still holds up as one of the best options for beginners.
The Woody features a Russian birch core, making it as sturdy as any board on the market. Each board is hand painted meaning no two boards will look the same. There is something to be said for the timeless and unique qualities of the Victoria Woody.
While the Woody may not be as fast as other boards, it makes up for that in its versatility. Whether I want to stick to the shoreline or crash into some waves, the Woody can handle it no problem.
4. GATOR Skimboards by BPS
The GATOR by BPS may be the best bang for your buck. The GATOR is suited more for the true beginner who may not be as serious as a rider in the market for a premium board.
What makes the GATOR unique is its dual plywood and EVA design. The GATOR features a durable plywood construction on the bottom, and a ‘GATOR GRIP’ layer of EVA foam on the top to provide for an easier grip. Raw wood is also available on the top of the board if that is preferred but requires wax for grip.
While the GATOR uses wood in its construction, it is still incredibly lightweight to walk around with. It also features a generous nose rocker which should help prevent nose-dives, as well as a low-drag tail.
5. Beachmall Deluxe Wood Skimboard
With four different sizes to choose from, it’s easy to buy a skimboard that is the right size for the weight of the user. The smallest board only weighs 3.2 pounds, while the largest is just 5.2 pounds, which means that children can easily handle these boards without any problems. Unlike other skimboards that tend to be very heavy and difficult for younger users to manipulate, these boards are light and have been designed with a high performance shape to help them cut across the sand.
Thanks to the rocker on the board, there is very little concern over the nose of the board digging into the sand. This design prevents users from being frustrated and also from being injured. The rocker also allows the board to gain maximum speed when cutting across the sand and allows additional control over the travel direction.
Unlike other skimboards that are made from a lower quality laminated wood, this one is made from solid wood, which means that it will last for a very long time. Thanks to the high-quality components used in its construction, it will easily stand up to hours out in the sun and salt water without damage. Thanks to this, it’s perfect for families to use on extended trips to the beach.
One concern when buying a skimboard is how well the rider will be able to maintain their balance and their traction on the board. The top of this skimboard has a layered EVA traction pad. Not only does this add a little cushion to the board to keep users from having sore and tired feet, but it also helps users grip the board.
Another great feature is the hard protective resin that is coated on both the bottom and top of the board. This resin was chosen specifically to allow the board to gain a lot of speed when used. It is durable enough to resist scratches and other damage from sand and shells, and it allows the board to skim easily over the surface of the wet sand without friction causing it to really slow down.
Beginners Skimboard Buyer's Guide
With so many different types of skimboards on the market, it’s normal for beginners to be a little confused and overwhelmed when shopping. Rather than spending your money on a skimboard that is too difficult to use or won’t meet your needs, when you pay attention to the various features of skimboards, then you will have a much easier time buying the best one for you. You can make sure that your time on the water is as fun as possible when you take time to buy the right skimboard for your use.
Consider the Tail Shape
One thing that you will have to pay attention to when shopping for a skimboard is the shape of the tail. There are two shapes of tails that you will be able to choose from, a pin shaped tail and a W or square tail. Generally speaking, pin shaped tails are much easier for beginners to use, so new skimboarders will want to look for this style. The pin shape of the tail allows for increased stability in the water, which is great for beginners who may otherwise have trouble keeping their balance and not falling over.
Look at the Rocker
In addition to paying attention to the shape of the tail, you also need to make sure that you look at the shape of the rocker. This is what gives you the most control over the board, which is why picking the right shape is so important. The most common type is the hybrid rocker, which combines features from a constant and traditional rocker. The hybrid rocker allows skimboarders to enjoy being out in bigger waves, as well as on the shore. This is great for beginners who are just learning what type of skimboarding they are interested in doing. Professionals don’t opt for a lot of curve, but beginners are much less likely to fall off of a board that has some curve to it.
The Weight of the Board Matters
The weight of a skimboard plays a huge role in how well the board will maneuver and if you are able to control it easily. A board that is too heavy won’t glide on the water and will instead sink quickly, which is incredibly frustrating for new skimboarders. Look for one that is a little bit lighter, as it will allow the speed and control that you want. Since boards generally weigh between two and five pounds, it’s a good idea to shop for one that is around three or four pounds, which means that it won’t be so heavy that it’s difficult to control, but it’s also not so light that the wind can easily tear it away.
Flexibility Is Very Important
In addition to the weight of the board, skimboarders need to pay attention to how flexible the board is, as this will play a huge role in what type of tricks you are able to do, as well as how easily you can ride the board. Beginning skimboarders should look for a board that offers some flexibility, but doesn’t just bend out of control when they step on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size Skimboard Should I Buy?
If you are still torn on if you need a larger or a smaller skimboard, then it is time to think about your size and what skimboard will best support your weight. If you are heavier and run faster, then you will be able to use a bigger board, but this can be subjective and difficult for beginners to pick apart and fully understand on their own. Beginners always need to look for longer skimboards, but still need to pay attention to their weight when shopping. This means that you should look for a skimboard that will meet your weight range and then choose the largest board that will work for your size.
Is a Larger or a Smaller Board the Better Choice for a Beginner?
While some people automatically reach for smaller skimboards when they are just starting out, since that’s what they see a lot of more advanced skimboarders use, this doesn’t mean that smaller boards are the right choice for a beginner. In fact, larger boards offer more foot space, which translates to better balance. For this reason, beginning skimboarders need to look for a board that is larger, but can then switch to a smaller board as they get better and learn how to control the board.
Does the Wrap of the Board Matter?
The wrap of a skimboard is what covers the core of the board and it is generally attached with resin. The material used in the wrap can vary and can also play a role in how durable the board is. E-glass is a very common material that is used in skimboard wraps, but it is very weak. It adds a lot of flexibility to a skimboard, but can easily be damaged or torn. S-glass and Texalium offer both speed and strength and will make a board much stiffer. Finally, carbon is used on higher-end skimboards and is incredibly strong. Carbon will result in a stiffer board and will prevent the board from being damaged when the user falls on shells and rocks.
What’s the Difference Between a Wood and Foam Skimboard?
Foam skimboards are inexpensive and incredibly light. Since this material is not nearly as durable as wood, you need to make sure that you pay attention to the weight limit of the board so that you don’t try to use one that can’t support your weight. Boards made with more foam will float easily on the waves and are lightweight enough to offer a lot of speed.
On the other hand, wooden boards also do a great job sitting on the water, but have a slightly higher price tag. They are fairly light and easy to maneuver, which is great for users who are looking for a lot of speed and control from their board. These boards are usually quite thin, which means that they are best used in shallow water and that they offer incredible maneuverability and control.
For the rider just getting into the sport, the GATOR by BPS is an excellent option. The only issue here is that after starting off with the GATOR, the temptation will be there to buy a more premium beginner board such as the Wave Zone Diamond. I was also tempted to give the award for best beginner skimboard to the Woody due to its combination of versatility, durability and affordability.
Ultimately though, The Wave Zone Diamond is the best board for the beginning rider. The Wave Zone Diamond takes the best qualities of all the other boards and wraps them into one. It is durable, lightweight, fast, forgiving and easy to control. It can also handle either the shoreline or waves with ease. Adding up all these factors makes the Wave Zone Diamond the ultimate board for the beginning rider. Once you become more advanced, you can step up to a board designed for wave riding.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.