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Quite recently, skimboarding has begun to emerge from the shadow of a certain popular water sport to take its own spot center stage.
And it’s all thanks to the steadily growing number of faithful fans and enthusiasts around the world who have fully embraced the opportunity to skim & surf close to the beach or brave stronger currents in style.
And just like its closest rival, your experience is pretty much tied to your board. Especially since skimboards come with a different set of rules depending on your skill level and the activity you’re interested in. Which makes narrowing everything down to bite-sized chunks, a great idea.
In this article we will be taking a look at a detailed list of some of the best skimboards for wave riding.
And once we get to the very end, we will be able to decide which of them simply outstrips the competition in terms of its ability to provide a sublime experience on the waves.
Choosing a board that ticks all the right boxes
There’s no doubt that wave riding is one of the most exhilarating aspects of skimboarding. Especially since it comes with an array of expert tricks which can make even the most experienced surfer go green with envy.
But it isn’t that much fun if your skimboard is too heavy or too fragile to withstand the roughness of the waves.
And that’s why most experts recommend getting a board made from fiberglass with a foam core.
The 5 skimboards examined below meet these basic criteria. However they also come with a few more helpful features. But which of them are we best off choosing to ensure we can practice our favorite pastime until we have elevated it to a fine art?
It’s time to take a closer look at just how much they each have to offer, how to pick them and the pros and cons associated with them.
Best Skimboards for Waveriding Reviewed
1. Slapfish Skimboard
Ultralight, built for speed and durability with bold splashes of color across a white background, the Slapfish Skimboard seems to be the perfect option for the ultimate skimboarding experience. Especially where wave riding is concerned.
But how well does it hold up under closer scrutiny?
At a glance, the core shows that is one box we can definitively tick off as being just what we need for fun on the waves. That’s because it has been made from Poly PVC foam which unlike Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) never gases out. This material is also highly rated due to being waterproof and high in density.
The fact that the board itself is made from carbon and fiberglass is also an added plus since you can expect good things in the durability and toughness stakes.
What’s more, it also comes with a 2 inch nose rocker which is ideal for faster movements, and the manufacturer’s guarantee of its suitability for all kinds of water.
And that’s not all there is to the Slapfish Skimboard. It also features a professionally installed traction pad as well as the choice of a 20 inch arch bar to ensure optimal balance. There is also the fact that it has a weight limit of 200 lbs making it ideal for teens and adults alike.
All these features show that the manufacturers have gone to impressive lengths to ensure that you enjoy the wave riding experience dreams are made of. The fact that it not only delivers on quality but on aesthetics as well is an added bonus, making it pretty good value as you seek to hone and show off those wave riding skills.
2. Fedmax Fiberglass Skimboard
We decided to pick it as our 2nd option because it is brought to you by none other than renowned brand Fedmax, this board is the perfect combination of aesthetics and functionality thanks to its glossy two toned surface, EPS foam core and double fiberglass layer.
It is perfect for beginners and intermediate skim boarders since it boasts the lightest available core ensuring excellent buoyancy. What’s more, its extremely durable layer means that you will be able to look forward to years of fun with it too.
There is also the fact that it is ideal for individuals weighing between 160 - 220 lbs making it perfect for teens and adults alike.
Also worthy of a mention are its traction pads which mean you will never have to bother about waxing your board.
And to ensure you get off to using their product with a flying start, the manufacturers have added an ultimate tricks & tips guide - talk about becoming the envy of your friends.
If you are looking for a skimboard which ticks all the right boxes, the Fedmax Fiberglass Skimboard is certainly a great option. And even though it is a more premium board, it can certainly be considered excellent value for the money.
3. East Coast Skimboards Deluxe Skimboard Package
This next product actually comes as part of a package which includes loads of handy extras. It’s cheery fluorescent light green and brilliant white theme with a dash of black means it scores pretty high on aesthetics.
But best of all, it does come through in terms of functionality, which after all, is our primary concern.
And it’s all thanks to that thick foam core which is perfect for lightness and flexibility as well as the fiberglass which serves as an extra tough buffer against the elements, placing it firmly in the category of skimboards which are ideal for wave riding.
And now for a look at the extras. First off there are the traction pad and arch bar which are particularly handy for maintaining your balance while honing your skills on the waves. There is also a deluxe board bag which is a super convenient means of carrying your skimboard about with you enabling you to keep it extra safe as a result.
That said, we're not 100% sold on the value compared to the other skimboards which deliver more in terms of flexibility and durability, especially since it is limited to a weight of 140 lbs and a height range of 4'7 - 5'5 feet.
4. Wavestorm Skimboard
The Wavestorm Skimboard is a 48-inch foam core skimboard designed for casual boarding. The foam-core surface provides extra cushioning, making the board soft, safe, and flexible.
The bottom of the board also features a HOPE Slick bottom, which is designed to increase the speed. These features are great for beginners that are just learning how to use a skimboard.
Durable Materials and Quality Design
Why do people like this board? It is made by one of the most trusted brands. Wavestorm produces high-quality boards that typically feature durable materials and construction. With the 48-inch skimboard, you can enjoy this excellent craftsmanship.
The foam-core material used for the top of the board is lighter than traditional polyurethane foam. The EPS Core is a type of expanded polyurethane that offers greater durability and less weight, which is ideal for a skimboard.
These boards feature durable material and expert construction. However, they may not last a lifetime. These skimboards are affordable options for beginners that may eventually start to wear. The resin wrap can tear, especially if the board skims along rocks or rough shore.
Good Sized Board for the Average Adult
The board is intended for riders up to 180 pounds. Typically, those that weight between 140 and 180 pounds should choose a 48-inch board. If you weigh less, Wavestorm also produces a 45-inch version of the same board.
The weight of the board is three pounds, which is a little bit lighter than most boards. It is also very flexible, which is great for speed and maneuverability. However, the lighter board does lack some stability. While this board is recommended for beginners, it does require good balance.
5. Beachmall Surfshark Skimboard
This skimboard is a short, stiff board with several useful features that may appeal to more advanced riders. It includes a solid wood core, short design, and a top surface with diamond-shaped grooves for added traction.
Available in Multiple Sizes and Designs
With this board, you can choose from several different sizes and designs. The sizes range between 30 and 41 inches, providing a variety of choices for riders of all skill levels and weight ranges. However, due to size of the board, it is best suited for smaller riders with previous skimboarding experience.
The manufacturer recommends this board for riders that weight less than 140 pounds. If you weigh between 120 and 140 pounds, a 45-inch board is often recommended. The largest size of this board is 41 inches, while the smaller ones measure 30 inches.
The average adult may find these boards too short. However, more advanced riders sometimes prefer the shorter boards for increased maneuverability.
The shorter design of the boards is also a great choice for kids. If you have children that may want to try skimboarding, this option from Beachmall is a suitable option. The weight of the board varies between 3.2 and 5.2 pounds, depending on the size that you choose.
Quality Materials and Extra Traction
Unlike most wood boards, this product is made with a solid wood core, instead of laminated wood. The solid wood lasts longer. It is also stiffer compared to foam cores. A short, stiff board tends to provide more stability, which may suit beginners, if they are not too large for the board.
Other materials include a hard-protective resin-coated top and bottom. It also has a layered EVA traction pad with diamond-shaped grooves.
The increased popularity of skimboarding has spurred a growth from manufacturers in designing a variety of board styles that vary in size, shape, materials, and special features. The wide range of choices have made finding the right skimboard for your individuals needs much more challenging.
The following guide is provided to assist you in understanding the various components you will want to consider during your search and ultimately in making a purchase.
Type of Skimboard
Skimboarding can be as easy going or as intense and exhilarating as you choose to make it. For those who choose to ride the flat, sandy areas at the water's edge, a less expensive wood board will work fine. However, for those choosing to take on riding waves with their skimboard, a higher quality board is required.
Skimboards that are designed and constructed for the purpose of catching waves, while riding and performing tricks need to be lightweight, durable and buoyant enough to support the rider’s weight.
In addition to wood, typically used on inland boards, materials used to construct a skimboard include foam, fiberglass and carbon fiber. Each material has it’s benefits and drawbacks. We recommend that you focus your search on skimboards that are made of fiberglass with a foam core or those made with carbon fiber.
Design and Construction
With the advent of a variety of materials being used in making skimboards, manufacturers continue to find new designs and means for improving board performance. The factors the are calculated in designing skimboards include the following:
- Weight and Height: The size of each individual skimboarder will impact the type of skimboard they will need. Choosing the right board impacts the riders balance, speed, stability and maneuverability.
A board that is too small for the individual will be unstable and lack the buoyancy necessary for successful wave riding. Added surface area in contact with the water creates more drag and will slow down your board. A board that is too large will be difficult to control, maneuver and perform tricks, as well as reducing the speed of the board.
Manufacturers provide size charts, factoring your individual height and weight, to guide you in finding the right size board for you.
- Rocker: The rocker is the amount of curvature found at the nose and tail of the skimboard. Typically, there is more curvature at the nose of the board and less at the tail. The more curve at the nose of the board the easier it is to get the board moving over the water and provides more control but the slower it will go.
There are generally three types of rockers:
- Traditional Rocker: The front tip of the skimboard has a slight curve and the remainder of the board is flat. Best suited for inland or shoreline skimboarding.
- Constant Rocker: Curvature remains constant from the front to the back of the board. Designed for riding bigger waves.
- Hybrid Rocker: The front and center of the board have curvature with the back of the board being flat. Most common and versatile style of skimboard.
A larger upward curve functions better in rough choppy water. Less curvature results in a faster board and is better suited for calmer waters.
- Skimboard Tail: Skimboard tails come in primarily three different shapes: pintail, swallowtail and square tail. Pintails are the most common due to the stability they provide. This tail creates little drag in the water. The swallowtail (sometimes called the W tail) and squared tail are less stable, more maneuverable and create a spray during certain tricks.
- Board Shape and Size: As stated previously, you need to choose a skimboard that has the appropriate size for your individual height and weight. Just as important is the shape and size of your board.
Wide, long skimboards are able to produce more speed than a narrow, shorter board. Larger boards are typically designed for inexperienced individuals. They are easier to control and stand on, however they are much heavier and harder to turn and do tricks on.
Smaller boards are more maneuverable, easier to turn and perform spins and do tricks. As a result, they require a higher degree of skills and experience. The deck provides less area making controlling and standing on the board more challenging.
The thickness of the board will also impact how it responds. A thicker board will glide better but will lack the capacity to turn quickly or carve a wave. Ultimately the thicker the board the less responsive it likely will be.
- Traction Pads: To be able to perform tricks and be able to turn and maneuver your skimboard will require the board deck having a traction pad. Some boards come with traction pads and others you will need to purchase a pad separately and install.
As you begin your search factor in your size, experience and the style of skimboarding you are planning to do. This information should help to guide your decision-making, ensuring you get the best skimboard for your individual needs.
The Moment of Truth
Even though all the skimboards mentioned above do meet the key criteria in terms of fiberglass manufacture and foam cores, it is pretty clear that the Slapfish Skimboard is the most impressive of the bunch. And it is all for the following reasons:
- The fact that it has been manufactured using fiberglass and carbon and comes with a dense core which is absolutely free of the risk of gasing out.
- That little bit of extra assistance in the equilibrium stakes thanks to the traction pad and arch bar.
- The manufacturer’s attention to detail ensuring they’ve covered all possible bases resulting in a product that is pretty cool to look at in addition to being perfectly functional ensuring this skimboard is guaranteed to provide fans of wave riding with the experience they deserve.
Now that you have an idea of what the best skimboards for wave riding, it’s time to jump into the water, explore more, follow your passion and keep surfing.
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.