If you’ve always dreamed of getting out in the ocean and gliding along on the top of powerful waves, but you aren’t comfortable with the idea of being far from shore, then skimboarding may be a great option for you. This hobby is easy to take up, you only need a beach and a board! Without understanding how to skimboard, you’ll likely be very frustrated with your first attempts, so I’ve put together these tips for skimboarding to help you make the leap from wanting to skimboard to impressing everyone who is watching you on the water.
Pick the Right Board
This may seem basic, but if you choose the wrong board then it won’t matter how many tips you read, you won’t be able to skimboard well, if at all, and you may end up getting injured. Not only do you have to consider your height and weight, but you also need to take into consideration your skimboard ability and what your goals are. If you want to get out onto some waves and ride them in, then you’ll want to opt for a foam board. However, if you are content to learn tricks closer to shore, then a wood board is the better choice for you and will provide you the control and weight that you need for success.
Look at the Ground
Novices often forget to scan the ground before they get on their board, but if you see a lot of seashells or small rocks in the way of where you will be running and skimming, then pick a new location! Unfortunately, even small seashells and rocks can make it very difficult for you to enjoy a smooth ride and can make it very hard for you to stay upright on your board. By carefully observing the ground where you’ll be riding, you can make sure that you are setting yourself up for success before you even get on your board.
Combat the Wind
One problem that many people have when learning how to skimboard is that the wind tries to blow away their board when they toss it onto the sand and before they have had a chance to jump on it. While you will get faster over time and will be able to mount your board quickly as you improve, it’s a good idea to help keep the wind from blowing away your board when you first start skimming. You can do this by kicking sand onto the bottom of your wet board, increasing its weight and making it much easier to drop in the right location.
Know How to Position Yourself
While you may think that you’re going to run straight at the ocean, you actually need to stand with the shore to your side. This will allow you to run and push the board across the sand while keeping it parallel to the shore, which is the correct position for beginners. When you first start skimboarding, hold the board in front of you with both hands so that when you drop it on the sand, it will land in the right position, directly in front of your feet. Always stand on your board with your back foot on the back of the board, as this will help you to keep you balance.
Understand How to Get On
Jumping onto the skimboard is not the correct way to get onto the board and will actually cause you to fall more often than not. Make sure that you’re running onto the board, putting your front leg first in the middle of the board and your back foot behind it. By gradually adding your weight to the board, you will allow the skimboard to keep moving and won’t cause it to slow and drag in the sand. Additionally, you’ll keep your speed more consistent if you run onto the board and help it to keep moving.
Make Your Board Faster
If you’re unhappy with the speed of your skimboard then you may want to try speeding it up. You can wax the bottom of your board either with a quality car wax or with products such as Rain X. One thing to take into consideration if you do this is that you won’t be able to kick sand onto the bottom of the board to keep the wind from carrying it away if you do.
Pay Attention to the Waves
While you’ll be tempted to grab every wave, understanding what makes a wave a good option for skimboarding will improve your chances of success. Try to take a wave immediately after it has broken, and really pay attention to your timing. You need to make sure that the wave you choose is reachable and that you won’t lose your balance before you get out to it.
How to Use These Tips for Skimboarding
When getting started skimboarding,you can become an advanced skimboarder in a short period of time with the right equipment and paying attention to your surroundings and form. However, the best way to learn how to skimboard is to spend a lot of time practicing. Before implementing all of these tips at once, you’ll want to observe other people on skimboards and practice on your own.
It is only when you see that you need to make adjustments that you will want to utilize some of these tips to change how you are able to skimboard and how your board works. While you may be tempted to speed up your board with wax, it’s only a good idea to do so when you are able to mount your board regularly with success.
Skimboarding is a great way to spend time on the beach, get in shape, and learn some fun tricks. Following these tips will help to ensure that you have the best time out on your skimboard and will increase the likelihood of you mastering this hobby in a shorter period of time.
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.