Skimboarding is one of those sports that just look like an absolute blast. That is until you wipe out in front of a beach full of people. To make sure you’re prepared to tackle this fun but sometimes intimidating summer activity, we’ve rounded up some helpful basics. These tips and tricks should get you sand skimming—or at least staying upright—in no time.
- Just like snowboarding or skateboarding, figure out if you naturally ride “regular” or “goofy” (right or left foot forward). If you’re not sure, any board shop can help you do the blind “push” test to find out.
- Get a beginner board. You don’t want an advanced carbon wave-skimmer if you’re just starting out on the sand. A flat, wooden board with a wax job will do.
- Pick a quiet spot on the beach (ideally away from crowds) that’s flat enough at the water’s edge, with smooth sand and not a lot of churning surf or undercurrent.
- Do a test run: Turn sideways to the shoreline. Then turn to the right if you’re right-footed; left if you’re left-footed. Lower your board about six inches from the ground, wait for a wave to recede, then “shoot” the board like a pool ball, parallel to the shoreline. Stand up, chase the board, and step on it one foot at a time, bending your knees as you slide.
- For your first real skim, start by holding the board in front of you with one hand on the tail and one on the side. Wait for a wave to roll out. When there’s still a thin layer of water on shore, start your run and at top speed drop the board directly in front of you. Then, starting with your lead foot, run rather than jump onto the board.
- It’s like any sport; you just have to keep practicing. Once you get your rhythm with sand skimming, you can step up to wave skimming. It’s all about slow and steady progression.
Skimboarding is one of the most accessible summer activities out there. All you need is a good, long beach vacation to work on your skills, a few friends to support you or show you the ropes, and the patience and tenacity to tackle this physical and mental challenge. Good luck!